I managed to read 10 books over the last two months. Eight from my book queue (I’m also currently reading two more books from the queue. Anyway…

  1. The Tangled Tree by David Quammen (3.5/5) – Very interesting and quite thorough. Too thorough, actually, as it manages to veer significantly off topic for about the last third of the book.
  2. Sing to It by Amy Hempel (5/5) – An easy reading short story collection (many of the stories are only a page or two) that closes with a novella. Hempel’s writing is just so… good? right? I don’t know. I don’t have good descriptors for her, but you should read her stuff. I can pretty much guarantee this will be on my end of year list.
  3. Her Mouth as a Souvenir by Heather June Gibbons (3/5) – When I want to get some poetry, I go into the book store and start grabbing volumes and reading random poems. If I really like a poem, I get the book. It’s really that simple. Sometimes, though, it means I end up with a wildly uneven collection. Such is the case here. Though some of these poems – those in which she plays the most with language – are really great.
  4. The Writer’s Map (5/5) – This was an incredible book of essays by a variety of writers about fictional worlds and maps. If that sounds like your kind of thing, I promise you it is.
  5. Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Hines (4/5) – This book had been on my shelf for ages. It was a good and interesting read. It didn’t quite live up to the material it drew from, but that’s the risk you run when you base your book around a masterpiece.
  6. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (5/5) – I had not read this before. No idea why. It’s beautiful.
  7. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (5/5) – I didn’t love the first book of the tetralogy like most seem to have (but I did like it a lot). This book was incredible, though, and I’ll be moving on to the third book soon. I’ve also read an unrelated book by Ferrante and really feel like everything she does is probably essential reading at this point.
  8. How to Tame a Fox by Dugatkin and Trut (5/5) – I read a National Geographic article about the Russian fox domestication experiment a long time ago and was fascinated by it. This book is a full and fascinating explication of the (very successful) endeavor.
  9. Paris in the Middle Ages by Simone Roux (4/5) – I’ve taken to occasionally reading history lately and this appealed. I liked it and certainly learned from it. It changed how I thought about some things, which is always welcome.
  10. McSweeney’s #55 (3.5/5) – McSweeney’s has been knocking it out of the park lately, so they were due for an issue that I most thought was just fine. Which is what this was. Too many stories that felt like the MFA cookie cutter stuff that’s around a lot now. But some of them were still good.

Book Queue (things I shall endeavor to read):

  • At least the first book of the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake
  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • Relativity by Albert Einstein
  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
  • Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Heines
  • Little Reunions by Eileen Chang
  • McSweeney’s 55
  • Sing to It by Amy Hempel
  • How to Tame a Fox by Dugatkin and Trut
  • Love and Death by Ivan Turgenev
  • Paris in the Middle Ages by Simone Roux
  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
  • Her Mouth as a Souvenir by Heather June Gibbons
  • The Storyteller by Pierre Jarawan