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 (85)
2022 (101)
2023 (86)
* Partial year
In the Woods by Tana French
[Finished 23 September 2023] An interesting enough crime thriller with some massive red herrings thrown up along the way and an intriguing set of characters. That said, I did find the detective characters interchangeable enough the detectives in another French novel that I’d read that I had to look and see if they were the same (they were not).

Sally Mara’s Intimate Diary by Raymond Queneau
[Finished 21 September 2023] A delightfully playful novel. Written in the form of a diary, we get Sally Mara’s naïve perspective on the world around her, her discovery of sex, the bizarre criminality of those around her, all through a view of her not understanding all the words that she uses which creates some comic sentences. Queneau is one of those writers who is chronically underappreciated in the English-speaking world.

Power Politics by Arundhati Roy
[Finished 15 September 2023] Much of this felt like it lost a great deal thanks to being divorced from its original context. Given how well the two essays on Bush’s reaction to the bombing of the World Trade Center hit, though, I think that if I were more closely aware of the issues surrounding the building of the dams in India, I might have been more impacted by that work as well.

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
[Finished 13 September 2023] There was some sense of inevitability in the narrative, but the voice and a setting and time about which I knew nothing kept me involved.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
[Finished 11 September 2023] Easily Patchett’s best work. The novel demands your full attention while reading and the shifts between the narrative frame and the main story were distracting at first but eventually became essential to the story. One of those books that went immediately back into the to-read pile because I know I will benefit from revisiting it.

[To] The Last [Be] Human by Jorie Graham
[Finished 6 September 2023] A beautiful collection of poems bringing together several of Graham’s books into one large volume.

Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD
[Finished 4 September 2023] To a certain extent, this book doesn’t really say a whole lot that’s new, and it doesn’t fully justify its page count, but even so, the way that Rosenberg presents his ideas about how to communicate in a way that can eliminate conflict is brilliant and I think there’s a lot to be learned from this book. So much so, in fact, that while it’s not a five-star book, it’s still one that I feel that I need to own a copy of rather than merely read through it once from the library.

Via Negativa by Daniel Hornsby
[Finished 3 September 2023] A novel I wish I’d written. I loved being in the mind of the narrator, a retired priest facing regrets over his life in the midst of seeing the optimistic post-Vatican II Church become a distressingly conservative institution.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
[Finished 25 August 2023] This is my second Jones novel I’ve read and I found Silver Sparrow to be a more interesting read than An American Marriage. Both are novels that touch on sensitive aspects of the African-American experience, but here with the focus on a pair of adolescent girls, I think Jones was a bit more in her element and was able to make her characters live more fully.

The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso by Dante
[Finished 24 August 2023] Having never read this before, I was struck by just how spiritual it was. Granted, I largely skipped the end notes that got into the minutiae of thirteenth-century Italian politics, but it was a fascinating read and one that would bear a return.