Reading: 2019

Titles Read = 40

Infinite Jest — David Foster Wallace

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair — Nina Sankovitch
Carefully manipulated memoir using the common “book-a-week” crutch to provide structure. Read this one to understand that “It’s All Fiction.”

Zero History — William Gibson
Good, if you like this sort of thing. This was the last book of a trilogy … thank goodness.

Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel
If you have studied the history of Great Britain, this novel will add little other than tedium.

Strangers On a Train — Patricia Hightsmith

Will Warburton — George Gissing
The author’s usual observations on the vicissitudes and pain of life. Nice story. Good author.

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff — Sean Penn
I wanted to hate this one but it actually has an interesting and fun approach to the narrative. Was Candy any less scattershot?

The Years — Annie Ernaux (+)
Memoir, history book, insight to the human condition, excellent!

Crossing — Andrew Xia Fukuda
I confused this book with another of a similar title. Although well done for a juvenile, this was therefore disappointing.

I’ll Sell You a Dog — Juan Pablo Villalobos

The Decagon House Murders — Yukito Ayatsuji & Soji Shimada
Ten little Indians and Halloween meet and form a literate mystery .. maybe.

The Rain Ascends — Joy Kogawa
What if your Dad was a pedophile?

Diary of a Fat Girl — Moira Mugwani (-)
Basically a decent young adult. Shallow and not very insightful. Low rating was not because it was so bad but rather because I had wasted my time reading it.

The Frolic of the Beasts — Yukio Mishima

The Big Blowdown — George Pelecanos

Taduno’s Song: A Novel — Odafe Atogun

The Incendiaries — R. O. Kwan

A Man’s Head — Georges Simenon

Death of a Red Heroine – Qiu Xiaolong
Three books in one: Social history of modern China, a touch of Chinese (and International) literature, and a good old mystery.

Houses — Borislav Pekic

The Locusts Have No King — Dawn Powell

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World — Steve Brusatta

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free — Charles P. Pierce

Slow Boat — Hideo Furukawa
Short, fast moving, a little meta.

The Aeneid — Virgil (Fagles)
A Classic for sure. The basic story is this guy escapes the destruction of Troy and at the bidding of a goddess sails to Italy where he slaughters the people there and founds what will become Rome. Fagles is a prose translation, albeit somewhat poetic; I probably would prefer Lattimore.

Love Is a Dog From Hell — Charles Bukowski
Poems. Some even good. Bukowski is an interesting fellow and not a bad writer.

The Atheist’s Bible — Joan Konner
A wonderful collection of quotations ready made for the literate atheist.

The Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse — Daphne Lamb

A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig — Charles Lamb
Some so-so essays but a couple of really good ones.I love this genre.

Masks — Fumiko Enchi

Maigret In Antwerp — Joe Richards

Loups-Garous — Naatsuhiko Kyogoku

No God But God — Resa Aslan
Good overview and history of Islam.

Maigret At Fouquet’s — Robert J. Courtine

A Visit From the Goon Squad — Jennifer Egan

Streetwise — Mohamed Chaukri
Autobiographical novel following up For Bread Alone.

Empire V — Victor Pelevin

The Ghost In the Shell — Tow Ubukata
Four short novels concerning future enhancements to humans, both physical and mental.

The Virgin of Flames — Chris Abani
An engaging story of a near future in East LA. Better than most.

Maigret and the Murder in a Minor Key — Murielle Wenger (-)
Unfortunately, most derivative (copycat) novels tend to emphasize the identifiable themes and motifs of the original. Half the work is done without requiring an ounce of imagination from the new author. However, this can be allowed if iit frees up the new author for an explosion of intricate narrative and intriguing discourse; unfortunately that was not the case in this friendly but flawed copy of a Maigret novel.