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Currently reading

Isaiah Berlin: A Life
Michael Ignatieff, M. Ignatev
Can't and Won't: Stories
Lydia Davis
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Luhmann Explained: From Souls to Systems
Hans-Georg Moeller
The Savage Detectives
Roberto Bola├▒o, Natasha Wimmer
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
Lydia Davis
20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker
Deborah Treisman
Collected Fictions
Jorge Luis Borges, Andrew Hurley
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Confessions of a Philosopher: A Personal Journey Through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Bryan Magee

Camere separate

Camere separate - P. Vittorio Tondelli Much more than an 'AIDS novel' as the blurb on the back unfortunately put it. Separate rooms felt like quiet Rilkean mediation on some of life's major themes.


Possession - A.S. Byatt 3.8 stars really for minor imperfections in the whole 'detective' plot but it's still a dazzling novel for readers written by a passionate reader. I liked the French Lieutenant's Woman better (even though on the whole it's a less polished novel).

Can someone write a properly introspective, feminist novel on contemporary feminist issues now that we've done the whole exploring the plight of women through Victorian fan-fiction thing (elegantly written, impressively inventive, unabashedly postmodern but fan fiction nonetheless) twice?

The French Lieutenant's Woman

The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles Slowly builds to a series of climaxes of varying intensity (i.e. each strand of thought gets to come into its own at various points in the novel: Marxism, Darwinism, crypto-feminist existentialism). A near-masterpiece undone only by its awkward amalgam of neo-Victorian postmodernism and standard existentialist modernism.


Stoner - John Edward Williams Stoner managed to sustain deep, quiet intensity that quickly elevated it from a merely good book to one of the good ones. Starts out as a realistic academic horror story and ends as a specimen of the best of realist fiction.


Youth - J.M. Coetzee Of Human Bondage with the narrative fat trimmed.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh Not as good as the blog but then again I read the Kindle version.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski 3 3/4 stars for the story with an extra 1/4 of a star for the concept in spite of how gimmicky it felt.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. - Adelle Waldman Merely adequate stylistically but worth reading as a cautionary tale. Highlights the important distinction between being general nice and a genuinely good person.

The Circle

The Circle - Dave Eggers At its best, an homage to dystopian classics that came before; at its worst, well-written, really readable twaddle.

Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf, Elaine Showalter Finally finished it and as always my love for Virginia Woolf's nearly perfect prose (motivated by something other than merely for the sake of perfection) is even more deeply entrenched.

I feel that to ever really understand Mrs. Dalloway one would have to understand why the moment Clarissa becomes Mrs Dalloway is simultaneously completely in keeping with her character but also marks the rest of her life with a lingering inauthenticity. The perils of being unable to resolve this contradiction in their own lives scars other characters' lives so severely that rather than seeming cowardly, Clarissa's 'duplicity' seems to be the only partial solution to a cruel riddle posed by life to a certain sort of person growing up in early 20th Century England. I'm not sure we've found better ways of fully resolving this problem to date.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling The audiobook's better but the essayistic format is really best expressed through Mindy Kaling's conversational tone.

The Moon And Sixpence

The Moon And Sixpence - W. Somerset Maugham This book did not age well. The rampant racism and sexism that are a sign of the times Maugham lived in make this K├╝nstlerroman unbearable in several places. Plus for a fairly short book, there's a surprising amount of filler.

Mr. Kolpert

Mr. Kolpert - David Gieselmann, David Tushingham Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf meets an episode of Misfits. As enjoyable/disturbing as that sounds.

The Interestings: A Novel

The Interestings: A Novel - Meg Wolitzer meh.

tempted to leave it at that but that's probably what one of the interestings would say at their worst. Look, will this book change your life? Not likely. Are there worse ways to spend 468 pages of your literary life? Definitely. Meg Wolitzer is definitely talented but I think even she must've asked herself if the world really needed her to write this book.

Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri Didn't quite care for the last 3 but Jhumpa Lahiri's prose remains stolid in this collection (in a simultaneously reliably impressive yet also predictable fashion)

One Day

One Day - David Nicholls I feel I would've enjoyed reading a book simply about Emma more. The (inexplicable) relationship with Dexter is the novel's only real weak point and sadly its only one as well.