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 (95)
2020 (70)
* Partial year
Overthrow by Caleb Crain
[Finished 9 September 2020] A long-delayed read from the Morning News’s Tournament of Books. I tried really hard with this but found myself not able to connect with the characters despite my interest in the subject matter. It felt like a not that great execution of a great idea.

Radical Sacrifice by Terry Eagleton
[Finished 9 September 2020] When I was an undergrad, I became obsessed with Eagleton: a Marxist, a Catholic and someone who was deeply involved with literary theory. This seemed like the perfect mix. So spotting this at the bookstore, it was an obvious buy for me. Sadly, I had a hard time getting into this. There was one extended section that felt like an effort more to aim barbs at Jacques Derridas than anything else. There were some interesting insights here, but overall it felt like a slight book.

Alone!: Lives of Some Outsider Women by Rosemary Dinnage
[Finished 8 September 2020] See my review at

Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination by S. Lillian Kremer
[Finished 2 September 2020] A book of literary criticism—which I hadn’t expected when I ordered it online. Most of the value for me was discovering works of fiction that I’ll read in doing continued research on my own novel, as well as some food for thought about what makes a work of fiction about the Holocaust something which is both artistically and morally sound.

Romancero Gitano by Federico García Lorca
[Finished 25 August 2020] As I was trying to do the Sealey Challenge (read a poetry book a day for the month of August—which I gave up on with this book), the next short poetry book I had was this one. I read it in Spanish, a language which I can somewhat read/speak but not as well as I should. García Lorca challenged me extremely when I began reading this. My vocabulary doesn’t include a lot of the terms that García Lorca used in his poems and then his often surreal imagery had me looking up words that I already knew because I found myself second-guessing the meaning of some words. But because of this, it was a deeply educational experience. I was forced to read slowly (I ended up reading just one poem a day to be able to meditate on each one) and to be really conscious of his language. I feel like the experience of reading this in Spanish has made me likely to be a better poet and writer in my own work.

Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas by Laura Sook Duncombe
[Finished 23 August 2020] See my review at

The Cost of Living by Rob Roberge
[Finished 22 August 2020] A well-written book that’s completely not for me. I have a hard time reading about self-destructive people with substance abuse problems. I liked the parts about band and music life, but the continued spiral down in the protagonist’s life just left me aggravated. More my failure than Roberge’s though.

Trébuchet: Poems˘ by Danniel Schoonebeek
[Finished 6 August 2020] Declaring a behind on this journal amnesty.

Little Black Daydream by Steve Kistulentz
[Finished 4 August 2020] Declaring a behind on this journal amnesty.

When Rap Spoke Straight to God by Erica Dawson
[Finished 3 August 2020] Declaring a behind on this journal amnesty.