Lone surfer, Jordan River
My 2018 in books
December 31, 2018
Books I completed last year, in chronological order.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders seems more like a play than a novel, especially as I listened to the beautifully-performed audio book. I so enjoyed listening to it I went back and read the book.
Jesus' Son is by Denis Johnson who writes of sad but real characters.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was a second read for me and was even more enjoyable than the first.
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor tracks all things in a British village, month by month, season by season, with a clever use of the paragraph.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and read by Juliet Stevenson who has a wonderful voice.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and read by Tom Holland is a real horrorshow.
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters is a just-before-the-end of the world detective story.
The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton sounds
like Conde Nast how to look fabulous but it's not, instead it's thoughts on architecture, van Gogh, the south of France, and other intersections of travel and art. De Botton is interesting even when I'm not sure what to do with the information.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth is about two well-meaning parents who produce a demon daughter. A well-told tale that makes me want to read more Roth.
Maximum Canada is Doug Saunders arguing the world needs more Canadians.
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler was made into a famous movie that I saw a long time ago.
The Conformist by Alberto Moravia is a story of love and international intrigue during WWII and is also a famous movie that I saw when I was in college.
The Way by Swann's is Marcel Proust's story of waking up, missing mom's kiss good night, the cookie, and the church steeple with the birds and the fuchsia. While nothing happens the writing is absofucking beautiful once you train your brain to scale his sentences. Lydia Davis' translation is clearer but not as pretty as Moncrieff's.
Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark is a futurist's survey of mankind's prospects and in every scenario the robots rise and kill us all. There, you needn't read it.
Autumn by Ali Smith I'd not recommend though everyone else seems to like it or maybe it's just because there are so many ex-Brits?
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre is a true spy story I read in two maybe three sittings it is so good.
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, 1857, and read by Timothy West is volume two in a soap opera series set among the British religious aristocracy.
On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan is the true story of restoring a house in San Miguel, Mexico.
A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler,1939, is an international murder mystery with the main character a murder-mystery writer. Good if you like that sort of thing.
True Story of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey has Aussie/Irish outlaw Ned Kelly (1854-1880) telling his story in long comma-less dare-I-say Proustian but certainly poetic sentences. His addictive way of speaking tells a sad but inspiring story, and he reveals a bit of ugly history along the way.
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver is oh-so-preachy, a political essay masquerading as novel.
Milkman by Anna Burns and read by Brid Brennan is an impassioned telling of the life of an 18yo girl in 1970s Ireland. Like fellow-Irishman Ned Kelly she has a hypnotic way of talking.