One Minute Book Reviews

“I have always imagined Paradise as a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

Yesterday the notion entered my mind to write a series of one minute book reviews. I arbitrarily selected a set of books off my shelves and will now write for one minute about each. If I enjoy this exercise I may write one minute reviews of top news stories or artists, or U.S. cities.

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 and many quotable quotes. An ordinary longshoreman (if I recall correctly) and a wise man of his times, 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. I forget the titles of the stories but remember the one about the priest and another about a writer who writes crazier and crazier things.

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.

The Sybil by Par Lagerkvist
Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for Literature. This book is both disturbing and illuminating about 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, as well as 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. I continued reading as much Hesse as I could find.

Isabelle by Andre Gide
This book is what the belles letres really means… beautiful writing, insightful and rewarding. Unfolds like a Conan Doyle mystery, but is wholly other. Terrific book.

That’s it. Today’s recommended reading list from Ennyman.

Throwback Thursday: 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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