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|
|* Partial year|
[Finished 18 February 2021] My brother wrote this book.
A Tour of C++
by Bjarne Stroustrup
[Finished 15 February 2021] In a lot of ways, this is what I wanted from Effective Modern C++, a look at the language and the best practices therein. There are a few peeks at the upcoming C++20 standard along the way. I got this from the library, but I feel like I really want to own a copy. Perhaps I may wait for a third edition, assuming it comes out in a timely fashion.
Deacon King Kong
by James McBride
[Finished 14 February 2021] It took me a couple chapters to get into McBride’s narrative voice but once I did, this was a delightful book. One of those rare stories where you find yourself wanting everyone to succeed even those who don’t deserve to, while self-interest isn’t always what it appears to be. McBride’s willingness to go off on random tangents just made the novel that much more fun.
Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence
by Tsugumi Ohba Takeshi Obata
[Finished 12 February 2021] As the story continues, we get into a bit of tedium. By constructing a pair of antagonists who are both flawlessly intelligent, Ohba has created a situation where it has to seem like everyone is acting perfectly. The biggest crisis, when Light meets Raye Penber’s fiancée and realizes she must be stopped ends up being a non-event other than the inevitable ripples it leaves for the story going forward.
The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939
by Ella Maillart
[Finished 11 February 2021] This is another one of the free e-books I got from the University of Chicago press. It’s an interesting enough text, although the cultural perspective of Europeans in the Middle East and South Asia towards the residents and customs of that area was highly distracting. Overall the book had little to hold my attention.
The Secret Lives of the Four Wives
by Lola Shoneyin
[Finished 9 February 2021] The key thing to remember here is that this book is, at its heart, a comedy. Once I realized this, the book made so much more sense and became so much more enjoyable.
The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War
by David Nasaw
[Finished 6 February 2021] I’ve read a lot about DPs in the last five years thanks to the research I’ve been doing on my novel. Early on when I started the project, I was debating whether I should write fiction or non-fiction. I’m glad I chose the former because I would have found out about this book last fall and thought that all my efforts would have been for nought.
Nasaw’s book is clearly a product of the present moment. Other books have focused on the cold-war politics around DPs or justification of Zionism, but here, the underlying focus is on America’s moral failure around refusing the immigration of DPs, especially Jewish DPs. A casual mention of Jared Kushner’s grandmother serves to emphasize the connection between the 1940s moral failure and the trump administration’s anti-refugee policies.
Overall, an excellent book and great addition to my research library as I continue work on my novel.
Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom
by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
[Finished 2 February 2021] My wife and I watched the anime series during the late ’00s and I’ve since seen both the American and Japanese live action films so it was nice to go back to the original source material. It feels so far that the anime was remarkably faithful to the manga (at least as far as my ancient memories can attest), and for good reason—the source material is great.
No Longer at Ease
by Chinua Achebe
[Finished 30 January 2021] Everyone knows Achebe from Things Fall Apart, a book that I read on my own in college but don’t have any lasting memories of. This is a darkly comic book of a young man’s attempts to move beyond the strictures of his society and his ultimate failure to do so.
Ghana Must Go
by Taiye Selasi
[Finished 22 January 2021] The frequent time and space jumps in the narrative made it difficult for me to get lost in this book. Eventually I managed to get myself centered in the narrative, but it took a while, perhaps too long, to get there. It was a book that I felt I might have enjoyed more had it been just a little different.