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 (22)
* Partial year
The Golem Redux: From Prague to Post-Holocaust Fiction by Elizabeth R. Baer
[Finished 20 April 2018] I’m not sure what I was hoping for here, but this is a well-written survey of the appearances of golems in literature, film, television and comics. Baer relies a little too heavily on plot summary at times, but does manage to provide some decent insights into how the various retellings of the golem story inform each other.

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai
[Finished 5 April 2018] The first section of the book could stand on its own and be a satisfying work all on its own. The latter sections, each in their own style, serve to elucidate mysteries of the preceding portions of the novel and while one section in particular was a bit too on the nose, most of it is satisfying although I somewhat wonder whether the revelations of the latter sections (each set further back in time) are strictly necessary.

Sister Emily’s Lightship and Other Stories by Jane Yolen
[Finished 5 April 2018] Yolen has a nice mix of stories here, some straight science fiction, but most take a familiar bit of folk story or fairy tale and find a way to invert the story or shine light on it in some new way. A great discovery and a bit of inspiration on ways to come into stories.

The End of Eddy by Éduoard Louis
[Finished 2 April 2018] It’s labelled as fiction, although it seems awfully autobiographical to me. The evocations of Louis’s childhood growing up gay in rural France are done beautifully with an incident of childhood bullying serving as an introitus to the young Eddy’s life and a recurring chorus through the book.

The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe by William I. Hitchcock
[Finished 19 March 2018] Hitchcock pulls no punches here. He acknowledges the evil of the Germans during World War II but focuses here on the consequences of the Allied invasion of Europe. A large chapter is dedicated to the brutality of the Russian forces in the East, but the bulk of the book is dedicated to pointing out the destruction, intentional and unintentional, inflicted by the British and American forces as they battled the Germans to secure the Western front and then faced the even more difficult problem of maintaining order as a conquering power. In many ways, this is exactly the book I was looking for in my novel research.

The Survivors: The Story of the Belsen Remnant by Leslie H. Hardman and Cecily Goodman
[Finished 17 March 2018] A sensitive account of the lives and circumstances of the Jewish survivors at the Bergen-Belsen camp complex under British control after the defeat of the Germans.

21st Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden
[Finished 15 March 2018] A nice cross-section of what’s happening in contemporary SF writing. Cory Doctorow’s contribution (the last story in the collection so freshest in my memory) sets up an interesting premise, but fails to deliver in the end, nor does it justify its length. The same can be said about a lot of the longer pieces in the collection.

What I Didn’t See and Other Stories by Karen Joy Fowler
[Finished 11 March 2018] A mix of literary and light SF. A bit surprising to see this in a SF bundle from Humble Bundle, but I enjoyed reading it, probably more than I would a straight SF collection.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion by James Martin
[Finished 27 February 2018] A well-reasoned and completely orthodox perspective on how the church and members of the LGBT community should interact.

The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
[Finished 24 February 2018] A bit of autobiographical fiction set during the Vietnam War which includes a magical realism component which felt a bit unnecessary and forced. The book includes an afterword which attempts to justify the magical realism aspect of the book, but I think it fails to make its case and the novel would have been stronger without it.