One-Minute Book Reviews

September 28, 2007

One-Sentence Reviews of Novels Recently Featured on One-Minute Book Reviews

Filed under: Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:16 am
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Did your mental hard-drive crash the day One-Minute Book Reviews posted its review of the No. 1 bestseller Water for Elephants? Or were you alphabetizing your CDs when the site revealed that a finalist for one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes is written at an 8-year-old reading level?

Okay, you’re forgiven. Here are one-sentence summaries of novels recently reviewed here, followed by a link to the review and to a reading group guide if one also appeared. You can find one-line reviews of other books in the Books in a Sentence Category on the One-Minute Book Reviews site.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. By Muriel Spark. A brilliant, short novel and psychological exploration of female power as wielded by a teacher in an Edinburgh girls’ school in the 1930s.

Murder in Mesopotamia: A Hercule Poirot Mystery. By Agatha Christie. The Belgian detective seeks the killer of an archaeologist’s wife, murdered on a dig at an Assyrian palace in Iraq, in what may be Christie’s most autobiographical novel.

Mister Pip. By Lloyd Jones. A black female university graduate remembers hearing a white man read Great Expectations on a Pacific island when she was 13 in a disappointing 2007 Man Booker Prize finalist written at a third-grade level, according to Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics. This review also has the reading levels of past Booker winners.

Water for Elephants. By Sara Gruen. A historical novel that gallops along with a Depression-era traveling circus, saddled with cliches. Review and reading group guide posted as separate posts on Sept. 21

Everyday Life. By Lydie Salvayre. Translated from the French by Jane Kuntz. A secretary at a Paris advertising agency is undone by the arrival of a new co-worker in an idiosyncratic French novel that is a study in alienation and mental disintegration written with a Cartesian spareness.

How to Be Good. By Nick Hornby. The author of Fever Pitch asks a serious question — what does it mean to be a “good” person in a materialistic age? — in a comic novel about an English marriage that is tested when the husband falls under the influence of a spiritual guru.

Daddy-Long-Legs. By Jean Webster. A charming classic novel told in letters from a high-spirited and keenly intelligent student at women’s college to her male patron, which was a bestseller in its day and made into a movie with Leslie Caron.

On Chesil Beach. By Ian McEwan. An overrated flyweight novel about a young couple’s disastrous 1962 wedding night that is a finalist for the 2007 Man Booker Prize but may remind you more of Mitch Albom than Kazuo Ishiguro or Anita Brookner.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Nice summary, and these would be called, what, the 10 second book reviews? I quoted your “Water for Elephants” comment in my “Happening Paperbacks – What’s Selling” post iny my blog at:


    Comment by knightofswords — September 28, 2007 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  2. Thanks, Malcolm. Excellent overview on your site today of what’s happening right now in paperbacks.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 28, 2007 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  3. Thanks, Jan.

    Comment by knightofswords — September 28, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

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