I’ve started to keep a small note of things I’ve read over the past few months and I thought it might be interesting to publish it here as the format I use (a really long note in Simplenote) can get a little unwieldy.
So here are some things I read in January and February. I’ll mainly keep it to books and longer bits of writing (that I’ve enjoyed in the latter case). I’m a subscriber to the New Yorker magazine so that will turn up quite a lot (and I was going through quite a big backlog in Feb!).
- Play it again by Alan Rusbridger — good read, lots of interesting musing on the theme of learning later in life. Found the Guardian stuff a little less interesting. Too much name dropping and self importance at times.
- There are more beautiful things than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker — some absolute cracking poems in here, but uneven.
- asymmetry by Lisa Halliday — deeply frustrating. Pretty well written novel, albeit forced in places but the whole schtick around the “surprise” at the end and the “groundbreaking” modernist structure left me absolutely baffled and feeling stupid.
- The little virtues by Natalia Ginzburg — brilliant, thoughtful, lots of messages that I am quoting in life all the time. A keeper. My vocation and The little virtues are essays for the ages.
- Why Doctors Hate Their Computers by Atul Gawande
- The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon — I think that if I’d read this when I was 18 it would be one of my favourite novels. These days I like my emotions a little more intimate. But a lot of fun and some really moving parts amongst the grandiose. Lots of great new words in there too.
- The Family Business That Put Nashville Hot Chicken On The Map by Paige Williams — this and the “French Burglar” article below remind me why I subscribe to the New Yorker, utterly original writing that gives you a view of people you will never meet.
- The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson’s Archives by Robert Caro — Robert Caro is one of my top two or three writers. His commitment to his LBJ project is unprecedented. He’s also a great storyteller.
- The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist by Jake Halpern
- The Philosopher Redefining Equality by Nathan Heller
- China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check by Jianying Zha
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus Acts Out by Ariel Levy
- Everything in the Dec, 3 issue that republished archive stories about New York, but particularly James Baldwin, Nancy Franklin and Dawn Powell.