Reading: 2021

Titles Read = 17

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods — Umberto Eco
Getting serious about literature? Eco will expand your mind and you will like it.

The Watery Part of the World – Michael Parker
Not me but I have corresponded just to verify that we are not related. Strong narrative of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground — James Fenimore Cooper
This is one of those stories where the action probably took place where a White Castle sits today .. on a one-way street. It’s often amusing to realize that the wild frontier was often only a reasonable commute from the center of the future metropolis.

Homeland Security Ate My Speech: Messages from the End of the World — Ariel Dorfman
The author having escaped authoritarian Chile has a lot to say about Trump and America.

The Black Book — Orhan Pamuk

Against Interpretation — Susan Sontag
Essays. Strong insights into films, although I could only wrap my brain around what the author was saying in very few instances. She was a deep thinker that should not fade into history.

John’s Wife — Robert Coover
A postmodern view of small-town USA (interestingly compared to Sherwood Anderson). Quite a trip.

The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett
Juvenile but relevant literature, if a little didactic. Remember all the books and stories you read as a kid or had read to you?

A Daughter of the Middle Border — Hamlin Garland
Personal history. Biography? Memoir? It’s important to remember the growth of this country. Read The Son of the Middle Border first.

They Were Counted — Miklós Bánffy (+)
Volume 1 of the Transylvania Trilogy. This is so good. Bánffy is called the Hungarian Tolstoy and I have to agree: depth of narrative, readability of prose, vividness of characters and events, and beaucoup de pages.

The League of Frightened Men — Rex Stout
Early Nero Wolfe. Fun.

Solar — Ian McEwan
What happens when social drama meets global warming?

La Rêve — Émile Zola
Religion. Love. Class. Tragedy.

The Crossing — Cormac McCarthy (+)
Border Trilogy 2.

Blithedale Romance — Nathaniel Hawthorne
Shades of Trilby. Zenobia should have been a much better developed character and the entire idea of Blithedale was unfortunately tossed off as mere background. As you might suspect, a narrative which starts with a Veiled Lady involves a certain amount of mistaken/revealed identity. Not bad but quite disappointing.

Operation Shylock : A Confession — Philip Roth
Remember .. It’s All Fiction.

Snow — John Banville