One Minute Book Reviews

“You are what you eat…”

One day in 2012 the notion entered my mind to write a series of one minute book reviews. I decided to arbitrarily select a set of books off my shelves and write for one minute about each. Here’s what I ended up with.

A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

Tragic look at Africa’s heartland, complex issues in an emerging Third World. Moving story and sad. Naipaul was criticized for his bleak portrayal regarding Africa’s prospects as presented in this book.

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

A book filled with great insights on mass behavior and mass manipulation, with many quotable quotes. An ordinary longshoreman (if I recall correctly) and a wise man of his times, the 1950’s. I’ve quoted Hoffer many times over the years.

A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene

A world-famous architect is weary of the spotlight and hides himself in a remote corner of Africa’s outback where he lives in a hut at a leper colony run by priests and nuns. Great story that explores the meaning of life.

Abel Sanchez and Other Stories by Miguel de Unamuno

These short stories moved me when I first read this book in my thirties. One story is about a priest who lost his faith but won’t commit suicide because he wants the people to have hope. Another about a doctor who writes crazier and crazier stories.

The Plague by Albert Camus

This was a required reading in our college Existential Philosophy class. The Plague creates a “situation” with no exit to which various characters respond. A metaphor for our human condition.

The Sybil by Par Lagerkvist

Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for Literature. This book is both disturbing and illuminating about the complicated relationship of God and humanity, and the depths of sorrow.

Martin Eden by Jack London

Recommended reading for all who wish to be writers. Tells the story of a poor man who wants to “make it” as a writer and what it takes to achieve his dreams. And the consequences of this success.

The Forged Coupon by Leo Tolstoy

Novella length Tolstoy story that shows the big consequences of “little decisions.” Fast read, profound insights about life.

Demian by Herman Hesse

First Hesse book I read in college. Hit me powerfully, the story of a youth in a school away from home for the first time. He meets an exceptional person and… wrestles with life issues.

Isabelle by Andre Gide

This book is what belles letres really means… beautiful writing. Unfolds like a Conan Doyle mystery, but is wholly other. Terrific book.

That’s it. For a list of my favorite movies, books and music visit my original website here. It’s not up-to-date but neither would a list of “classics” be either.

Originally published at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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