The books I read in 2018: the good, the best, and the rest

This year I continued my exploration of the literary. I read 34 books, the same as last year (missing my goal of 40 by a fair amount) and only two of those could be called genre. Of those 34, most were brilliant, some extremely so, and very few were bland or uninteresting. I don't think …

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The Last Samurai, by Helen Dewitt

No, it has nothing to do with the 2003 Tom Cruise movie (which came out 3 years after this novel was released)--and that I need to make that distinction at all is an illustration of the sad state of American culture, because this book was flipping amazing and I can't believe I've never heard of …

The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

Much like the others I've read by this author, this book deals heavily with memory, loss, and--more directly than the others--the holocaust.¬† The narrator recounts his experiences with four characters, in four sections of the book. Each character is an emigrant from Germany, and each, in some way, seems to want to forget some aspect …

The Handmaid’s Tale: a negative side of human adaptability

I finished this dystopian classic by Margaret Atwood and was both impressed and frustrated. I was impressed by how believable the story was. In the afterward the author talks about how she took great care to put nothing in the book that hadn't already happened somewhere in history, and no technology that didn't exist. She …

Book catch-up #3 The Unparalleled Borges

I read Labyrinths, a collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, and I can't overestimate how amazing these stories were. I could probably write a post about every story, but I'll stick to a few standouts. The Library of Babel: A library that contains not only every book ever written, but every possible arrangement …

Book catch up #2, good ol Nabokov

Whenever I've read something boring or confusing, or just plain bad, I read some Nabokov as my next, cause it's guaranteed to be good. This time I read Pnin, and as always, it was beautiful, funny, and just lovely. Pnin is a Russian living in America, and teaching Russian at a college. He is absent …

Book catch up #1, Hemingway, Hawingway

I've been reading a lot of books and not posting about them! So here's the first of some 'what I've been reading' catch up posts: The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway: I read For Whom the Bell Tolls a while back, and was underwhelmed, though parts of it did make me feel, and the end …