Pumpjack Book Reviews

When not writing, we are usually reading. And sharing our perspective on those books. Check out our About page to find out how to suggest a book for review consideration or to provide one of your own. #bookreview

Book Review: Enemies of Promise by Cyril Connolly

“There is but one crime, to escape from our talent.” Cyril Connolly (1903 – 1974) was a British reviewer, critic and writer of distinction. Connolly’s Unquiet Grave — a despondent meditation on creativity, and existence, in a world challenged by the destruction of World War II — is one of my favorite books. I finally got around to ordering Enemies of Promise, first published in 1938 and designed to solve the problem of how to write an enduring book — by his count, one that stands for at least a decade.

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Book Review: So Much Blue by Percival Everett

So Much Blue by Percival Everett tells Kevin Pace’s story, an artist of some renown, living in a semi-rural area, with a wife and two children. Kevin’s story has three arcs: one in the present, one in Paris a decade or so ago, and one in Nicaragua, about thirty years in the past. 

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Book Review: Internal Time by Till Roenneberg

Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You're So Tired by Till Roennenberg, an  esteemed researcher on the science of sleep, profiles 24 (irony intended) insights into our internal clocks, how they are aligned to external factors (like the daily cycles of light and dark) and what it means for us as individuals and as a society when they are out of synch. After reading this book, I’ve never more appreciated a good night’s sleep.

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Book Review: Black and Blue by Jeff Pegues

I began to read Black and Blue: Inside the Divide Between Police and Black America by Jeff Pegues on the day the decision to acquit the police officer who killed Philando Castile was announced, a decision that stunned most of America. Shortly after I finished the book and as I was considering this review, Officer Miosotis Familia was fatally shot as she sat inside her squad car on a street in the Bronx. These events were a tragic real-time framing for my reading.

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Book Review: Why Unions Matter by Michael D. Yates

The trajectory of the middle class seems linked to the strength of unions. In the post-World War II booming years, an organized working class counterbalanced the inherent for-profit drive of capitalism. The unions, to some degree, wrested a fair share of profits for the workers in the form of high wages, pensions, and health care, along with dignity and respect. Those were heady days. But what happened? Micheal Yates in Why Unions Matter offers a historical perspective on what went wrong, and a rationale for why unions have never been more important. 

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Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han King

On the surface, The Vegetarian by Han Kang, is a portrait of insanity. Yet, the author gently coaxes us toward another question: Is Yeong-hye insane or, rather, is she experiencing a mystical connection to a collective or universal force that others cannot see?

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