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 (90)
2021 (36)
* Partial year
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
[Finished 2 May 2021] Between being in leftie circles for a lot of my life and, I think Zinn’s own influence on the culture, this did not come off as quite the revolutionary book that it once was. There were a few things I was unaware of and Zinn seems to fall pray to the no difference between the parties fallacy that infects a lot of political discourse, but there was still a lot to recommend it. I can see giving this to my kids to read when they’re in high school as a useful corrective to the standard curriculum even with its flaws.

Death Note, Vol. 10: Deletion by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
[Finished 29 April 2021] Things get a little bit more interesting here, although I’m actively looking forward to completing the series now.

The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside edited by Carlo Rotella and Michael Ezra
[Finished 25 April 2021] I enjoyed this far more than I would have expected. There’s a certain romance around boxing that makes it aesthetically appealing. The article which combines criticism of Million Dollar Baby with an account of a real-life woman boxer was one of my favorites, but there were few dull moments in this collection of essays.

Close Calls With Nonsense: Reading New Poetry by Stephen Burt
[Finished 25 April 2021] Burt (now Stephanie, but her dead name is still the name on the spine of the book as published) is an insightful critic and expositor of contemporary poetry. I found myself adding a lot of poets to my to-read list after reading this and having a better sense of how to approach a lot of contemporary poets’ writing more fruitfully.

Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II by Maggie Morehouse
[Finished 24 April 2021] A good collection of information on Black service during World War II. My only complaint is that it focuses on combat troops and not the majority experience which placed Black soldiers in support roles.

Death Note, Vol. 9: Contact by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
[Finished 23 April 2021] It continues to drag. There’s a new predictability in the story as well. Of course, Mello won’t be killed in the attack on his headquarters.

The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine by Aviva Halamish
[Finished 16 April 2021] Exactly the book I wanted for my research for the novel. A great attempt to uncover the facts and events of the Exodus affair.

Death Note, Vol. 8: Target by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
[Finished 14 April 2021] I remember not being that interested in Death Note the Anime once it moved on to the post-L era, and my reaction reading the manga is similar. The Mello-Near conflict adds an interesting dimension and I managed from the anime to miss that Mello is a boy and not a girl.

Death Note, Vol. 7: Zero by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
[Finished 6 April 2021] In a flashback, we learn what Light’s plan was with his imprisonment and see the denouement of Light’s battle with L. At the same time, we learn that L and Watari are not lone figures but are, in fact, part of a larger organization created by Watari which gives us L’s successors, one of whom decides to take the side of criminality.

Letraset & Stencil Cutting by Dave Farey, Colin Brignall, Mike Daines, Alan Meeks, Freda Sack and Peter O'Donnell
[Finished 3 April 2021] A slender volume, just 16 pages. I think Dave Farey himself gave me this back when it was initially published. It contains the memories of the stencil cutting artists who worked on the Letraset typefaces back in the day before dry-transfer lettering became a niche product at best and mostly obsolete in the mainstream. It’s fascinating to consider this oddball stream of lettering that worked hard to get respectability in the design community even as many designers happily used it.