May Book Log

June 8, 2018

This is a little tardy because the end of school was exhausting. Also, I put a new floor down in the kid area which is huge and it was exhausting.

As a side note, I’m going to be updating my top-100 list sometime this month. I missed last year amidst house buying. Prepare yourselves.

  1. Pops by Michael Chabon (3.5/5) – This was solid. My primary issue was that I’d read all of it before as it was entirely a collection of previously published material. But the observations are good and interesting. A worthwhile read if you haven’t come across the material before.
  2. Bride & Groom by Alisa Genieva (4/5) – A contemporary Russian novel that doesn’t feel like all the other Russian novels you’ve ever read. A good reminder that what usually makes it into translation from other cultures is not a complete representation of all different segments of that society. Russia is an enormous country and the people who populate this book aren’t characters from Tolstoy or even Nabokov
  3. The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino (4/5) – I keep reading Calvino and keep not being disappointed. I didn’t like this as much as the first couple of things I’d read, but I think that’s mostly because it was several volumes packed together and thus not necessarily cohesive. Everything I read of his – and this book is no exception – takes fiction somewhere I haven’t seen it go before.
  4. Best to Keep Moving by Jeff Worley (4/5) – Wherein I periodically dip into the Larkspur Press books I got hold of a while ago. Nice poetry with a few that really turned things on their head.
  5. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (5/5) – This book was fantastic. Hesse was a “should have but haven’t” read of mine and I’m glad I finally got to him at the strong urging of a friend. My favorite thing about this book was how it played with multiple voices in such a way that they all invalidate each other leaving, by the end, a core idea that hangs out in your head for what seems like it will be a long time.

December Book Log

January 1, 2017

Five books to close out the year. As with last month, I ended December in the middle of a big book (The Magic Mountain). Big end-of-year reading post to come sometime this week.

  1. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet by David Mitchell (4.5/5) – This had been on my shelf for quite a while and I finally got to it. I really do enjoy everything Mitchell does. I’m also starting to see the way he weaves his universe together. This was a brilliantly told bit of historical fiction that managed to connect to his other books while also remaining entirely realistic.
  2. Blood of the Dawn by Claudia Sanchez Jimenez (5/5) – Breathtaking and sad. This is one of the darkest, but also one of the most honest books I read all year. Dealing with horrible violence in Peru in the 80s and 90s, this book manages to be of short length but enormous scope. Highly recommended.
  3. Moonglow by Michael Chabon (5/5) – It’s safe to say I was entirely blown away by this. I’ve loved most of what Chabon has written, but I’d also been waiting for him to recapture some of the magic he had when he wrote Wonder Boys and Kavalier and Clay. Here, he does. This is, I think, second only¬†Kavalier and Clay among his work. It is brilliant story telling and the character are as real as anyone you’ll find in any book. I can’t praise this enough.
  4. Folio: A Winter Anthology (4/5) – This was a giveaway compilation by The Folio Society, whose books I very much enjoy. It’s a nice little collection. Easy to read and seasonally relevant.
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (4/5) – It’s safe to say Harry Potter mania has hit Simone full on. As with the first book, this one was better when I was reading it to a child. Seeing it through her eyes, I was much less concerned about some of the little things that bothered me about it before. I’m excited to work through the series again as I recall being rather impressed by the later books.