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 (31)
* Partial year
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
[Finished 2 June 2019] I feel like I should have enjoyed this more than I did. There were moments that I was pulled fully into the story, but it often just failed to hold me, I think as much my own failing as that of the book.

Slovene Complete Course: A Complete Course for Beginners (Teach Yourself) by Andrea Albretti
[Finished 29 May 2019] See my review at

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
[Finished 25 May 2019] I’d expected more from this book than it offered. It’s largely a somewhat overwritten biofiction of Turing and Gödel which draws some parallels between their lives and thoughts, although I wonder whether someone with little understanding of mathematics and computer science would necessarily be able to find the parallels between Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and Turing’s uncomputable numbers and the halting problem.

Inside Job by Connie Willis
[Finished 19 May 2019] A fun fictional aperitif with the self-contradictory premise of H. L. Mencken speaking through a spiritual medium to debunk mediums and their ilk.

The Writer's Notebook II: Craft Essays from Tin House edited by Tin House
[Finished 13 May 2019] I got this for Antonya Nelson’s essay on revision which ultimately provided a great outline for an intro to fiction course (I want to try writing a piece from this method myself) and I felt like this alone was worth the price of admission. There were a few essays that I didn’t get much from, but overall, a great collection.`

The Walking Dead, Vol. 31: The Rotten Core by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano and Cliff Rathburn
[Finished 9 May 2019] In some ways predictable, although there was a twist near the end of the volume I didn’t expect.

Responding to Student Poems: Applications of Critical Theory by Patrick Bizzaro
[Finished 9 May 2019] A fascinating book. At its strongest when Bizzaro talks about New Criticism and reader response theory. In those sections, Bizzaro provided a good link between theory and praxis and a compelling understanding of how the two function together. I felt (and I could be wrong), that Bizarro fundamentally misunderstands deconstruction, although if my understanding of deconstruction is correct, I’m not sure how it could be of any use in the writing workshop. In all, a mixed bag, but one that holds more good than ill.

Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction edited by Megan Giddings
[Finished 3 May 2019] A brilliant and wonderful collection of flash fiction by authors of color (along with some essays on the form and an editor’s roundtable). My favorites were Desiree Cooper’s “The Choice” and Maggie Su’s “Circumnavigation,” but the contents overall were exceptionally strong.

Circa by Adam Greenfield
[Finished 30 April 2019] This novel is essentially two disconnected narratives. I kept waiting for the connection between the adult Henry and the high school Henry and never really found it. It seemed to me that the chapters of each thread could have been published independently and would likely have made for two books, each stronger than the whole as presented here.

Greenfield is an engaging writer and has a gift for the colorful metaphor, a gift which he’s perhaps too eager to deploy. At times the absurdism gets over the top with no real payoff for going where it does.

Atlantic Hotel by João Gilberto Noll
[Finished 28 April 2019] A dreamlike narrative of an unnamed narrator who is traveling for unknown reasons and keeps encountering death and sex along the way. I read an excerpt from the novel in Bomb and was intrigued enough to seek out the rest of the book.