Reading 2017

Titles Read = 27

The Magic Kingdom — Stanley Elkin

Under Fire — Henri Barbusse (+)
A strong, realistic depiction of French soldiers in trench warfare during WWI. Compare to All Quiet On the Western Front.

Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres — William T. Vollmann
The story of Copernicus and the heliocentric view. Decent amalgam of astronomical details with non-scientific prose. Leave it to Vollmann.

Concrete — Thomas Bernhard (+)
A great writer. When it comes to fearless writing especially when dealing with the topic of death and disease, Bernhard is almost without peer.

The Illogic of Kassel — Enrique Vila-Matas (+)
Is Kassel illogical or just a McGuffin?

Hill — Jean Giorno
Lush description and an engaging story.

The Sense of an Ending — Julian Barnes

The Museum of Final Journeys — Anita Desai

Unfinished — Carol Oates
It’s the old dead twin comes back to school to warn her sister hack. Short juvenile. Why do I confuse Carol Oates with Joyce Carol Oates?

I Hate Martin Amis et al — Peter Barry
A dedicated but unsuccessful writer, working as a janitor, becomes a sniper in Sarajevo in order to gain experience for his next book. He calculates that a kill has the same value as 40 or 50 of Martin Amis’s published words.

Robota — Doug Chiang [with Orson Scott Card]
A short, Science Fiction story with graphics. Well done.Includes sample illustrations for both a movie version and a comic book version.

Mefisto — John Banville

The Way of Muri — Ilya Boyashov
Keep moving. There are many types of journeys.

Clouds of Witness — Dorothy L. Sayers

Deception: A Novel — Philip Roth

La Curée — Émile Zola
Shady finance and elicit love with a hint of the history of Paris.

Jimmy Jazz — Roddy Doyle
A short piece following up on the Barrytown trilogy.

In the Shadow of the Glen — John M. Synge

It Can’t Happen Here — Sinclair Lewis (+)
Sure. It has all come true unless we resist now!

Before We Visit the Goddess — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Snakepit: A Novel — Moses Isegawa
Brutal. Realistic view of Uganda under Amin.

Fat City — Leonard Gardener
Amateur boxing and stoop labor, with the city of Stockton, California, standing in for William Kennedy’s Albany.

A Separate Peace — John Knowles (+)
It’s 1943 and the war is on. But at a small New England boys school, they’re still working out the battle plans on the playing fields and learning a lot about life in the process. The story involves the smartest boy in school who happens to room with the most athletic boy in school. Then tragedy strikes.

Naphtalene — Alia Mamdouh (+)
Baghdad in the ’40s and ’50s. Well worth reading.

Bruno’s Dream — Iris Murdoch
A lot of dizzying narrative to juggle. Murdoch does a fine job but it gets a little muddled. Possibly one of the “also-rans” from an excellent Irish author.

Rock n Roll Babes From Outer Space — Linda Jaivin
Fun, raunchy, but ultimately being too cool is tedious.

Maigret and the Old Lady — Georges Simenon