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 (86)
* Partial year
Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow
[Finished 19 December 2015] A rather uneven collection. What I found most interesting while reading this was wondering how, exactly, is horror defined for this collection. I assumed that there would have to be supernatural elements or at least mass murderers, but in some instances the stories lived in the realm of the realistic focusing on things I wouldn’t have thought qualified as horror (in the genre definition of the term, not in the sense of being horrific), such as child sexual abuse. There were some bright spots in the collection, but they were overshadowed by the less interesting stories that outnumbered them.

Living with Saints by Mary O’Connell
[Finished 2 December 2015] An amazing collection of short stories with each one in some way employing a saint’s intervention in some way or other, often in entertainingly unorthodox fashion. This is the sort of grown-up fiction about religion that I really love to read. I really want to track down more of O’Connell’s writing after reading these stories.

Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan
[Finished 18 November 2015] See my review at

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
[Finished 18 November 2015] Obviously, I picked this up because Alexievich won the Nobel prize for literature. An amazing, but harrowing, read. The losses that so many of these people suffered in the wake of the accident at Chernobyl are staggering. I found it difficult to read this for extended stretches because of the power of the work.

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
[Finished 18 November 2015] There’s not a whole lot to the discipline strategy in this book, which is not to say that it’s ineffective, just that the principles are simple and straightforward. The use of specific instances to consider how best to react to a child’s misbehavior was an effective way of delving into exactly how the principles that Siegel and Bryson lay out. It seems that this is a book useful for more than just dealing with child discipline but for keeping any interpersonal conflict from going awry.

The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
[Finished 9 November 2015] Mostly complete works along with a handful of fragments. The better-known stories are obviously the best of the lot, but most of the other work seems strictly optional. Only obsessives need anything more than a selected stories volume. Others need not worry about missing some underappreciated work of genius.

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury
[Finished 1 November 2015] The bulk, if not the entirety of this book, is available on Lansbury’s website, so this is one of those books that exist primarily to provide a more convenient way to read the site’s contents.

This book provide a pretty good overview of RIE parenting, a philosophy that tends to be child-centered, allowing children to do things when they’re ready for them while providing them with the rules, boundaries and limitations necessary for a sense of security in their lives. Definitely recommended.

Life after Life by Jill McCorkle
[Finished 30 October 2015] In 2013, two major books appeared with the same title. This is one of them. I started reading it thinking that it was the other (I intend to read them both, I just didn’t remember which was which), but as I realized that I was not going to get the story of a woman who keeps living the same life with different choices over and over again, I was brought into this story. McCorkle tells the story of a small southern town through a variety of different characters, allowing herself to drop into each for varying amounts of time, including periodic reports of the last moments of some characters both from the perspective of the main protagonist, a woman who does hospice work, staying with people as they die and the internal monologues of the dying themselves.

Cults by Karen Zeinert
[Finished 28 October 2015] See my review at

Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son by Peter Manseau
[Finished 22 October 2015] See my review at