Don Hosek - Recent reading

I tend to be a voracious reader, and I read widely. This list has its origins in an old signature file which I would update periodically with the current book that I was reading. That gradually transmogrified itself into the current massive archive with brief reviews.

What I've been reading lately
Number of books read and reviewed each year
1995* (28)
1996 (47)
1997 (74)
1998 (61)
1999 (62)
2000 (27)
2001 (51)
2002 (60)
2003 (37)
2004 (36)
2005 (32)
2006 (46)
2007 (109)
2008 (78)
2009 (65)
2010 (68)
2011 (98)
2012 (129)
2013 (114)
2014 (101)
2015 (88)
2016 (82)
2017 (76)
2018 (67)
2019 (86)
* Partial year
Barefoot Gen = Hadashi No Gen: A Cartoon Story Of Hiroshima by Keiji Nakazawa
[Finished 5 December 2019] I discovered this book while reading Why Comics and decided that I would pick it up as soon as I could as research for the Hiroshima chapter of my work in practice. It was perfect to that end most particularly because by nature of being a graphic narrative, it provided a great deal of background details that I was unlikely to find anywhere else.

As a work on its own merits it’s also wonderful, showing the grueling life of Japanese civilians during World War II made so much more difficult by the protagonist’s father’s pacifism and resultant being treated as a traitor by all those around him. The countdown towards the bombing which concludes the volume carries an additional sense of horror as we realize what fate has in store for the family that we grow close to in the preceding 250 pages.

Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere by Hillary Chute
[Finished 26 November 2019] See my review at

Polymer Clay for the first time® by Syndee Holt
[Finished 19 November 2019] See my review on

Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision by Igor Marjanović and Katerina Rüedi Ray
[Finished 18 November 2019] See my review on

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
[Finished 15 November 2019] It took me a while to understand why I was not loving this book. I think it comes down to two things: First, I don’t think Patchett was successful with the time jumps that are so prominent in the first third of the novel which left me, as a reader, feeling unmoored, and second the book overall feels a bit unfinished, as if it could have used one more complete rewrite before being declared done.

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
[Finished 15 November 2019] Wells creates an intriguing world here, with multiple humanoid races and a central character who only in the course of this story discovers his own place among the races. Unfortunately, it felt like Wells was more invested in world-building than character-building.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
[Finished 14 November 2019] When I read Wolf Hall I rather disliked the book. I suppose some of it was the rather sympathetic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell—I’ve gained most of my knowledge about the period through Catholic sources and Cromwell is considered a prime villain of the piece. Perhaps it was the experience of having my expectations reset by reading Wolf Hall but I was able to enjoy this book a great deal more and really appreciate how Mantel manages her narrative with a close-third person narration almost entirely in Cromwell’s head throughout the book.

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City by Carl Smith
[Finished 13 November 2019] See my review at

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing
[Finished 9 November 2019] See my review at

We Are Here: New Approaches to Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany edited by Avinoam J. Pratt and Michael Berkowitz
[Finished 4 November 2019] A good resource for my continued research on the novel in progress. Perhaps most exciting to me was that my mom saw the book and expressed an interest in reading it which tells me that my subject matter for the novel has some appeal.