[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]


In Ghostly Japan, by Lafcadio Hearn. Reviewed by Michael Dirda (Barnes & Noble Review).

First off, who the hell knew Barnes & Noble had a legit book review site? And who would have thought it would actually be good? I mean, this is a review by Michael Dirda. He’s kind of a big deal. His review is a great read in itself, but also, Hearn’s book of Japanese ghost stories sounds downright awesome. Almost definitely gonna pick this one up.


Moonlight Mile, by Dennis Lehane. Reviewed by Janet Maslin (New York Times)

Looks like this book is a sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone. I never read that book, but I didn’t really care for the movie. Lehane is a decent writer, though, so this book has promise. In fact, Maslin credits his skill in lifting what might otherwise be a formulaic story:

What can keep “Moonlight Mile” from heading down an overly well-trodden path? Only the conviction with which Mr. Lehane breathes life into these characters.

I like character-driven books, so maybe I’ll start straight with this second episode.


American Taliban, by Pearl Abraham. Reviewed by Art Winslow (Chicago Tribune)

This novel’s cover intrigued me. It seems like a pretty straightforward contemporary novel. But perhaps it touches on some interesting themes. Novels that center around the West’s conflict with the Middle East tend to annoy me, but once in a while, it’s done really well (as with Chris Cleave’s Incendiary). Maybe this is one of those. Winslow’s review is okay, but a little heavy on plot summary.


The Banjo Player, by Sam Yarney. Reviewed by Zannie Marie Grey (

Grey’s review is a tad amateurish, but she gushes on this book so hard (“Yarney’s book was engrossing enough to make me completely forget my pain [from MS]”), that I’m inclined to think it has to be at least pretty good. I love reading short-run indie books, and this one looks like it could be one of the diamonds in the rough.


Bonus book trailer: Cheesy PowerPoint videos for crap romance novels are too bad not to watch. This one uses a bunch of fonts and colors. Oooh.