July Reading

23:02 Fri 04 Aug 2006. Updated: 22:14 27 Jun 2013
[, , ]

I read a rather ridiculous amount in July. This is probably not a good sign, almost undoubtedly indicating a thoroughly escapist mindset. It seems that being depressed, or close to depression, results in either very heavy or very light reading for me.

Still, reading is better than a lot of other activities I could have been doing, and I did read some great books, including:

Flesh and Blood, by Michael Cunningham. I was surprised by how much I liked this family saga, and found the writing to be excellent.

Garnethill, by Denise Mina. More excellent writing, a plot that pulled me along, an excellent, believable and original protagonist, and an effectively grim and oppressive atmosphere. I ended up reading the whole trilogy, and some more books by Mina, and thought they were all excellent.

Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. I’m a huge Murakami fan, and this did not disappoint. Not quite as utterly amazing as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (which everyone should read), but still ethereal, compelling, and oddly down-to-earth at times, a mixture that Murakami does better than anyone else I can think of.

A Long Line of Dead Men, by Lawrence Block. I’m a sucker for Lawrence Block’s Scudder books, about a recovering-alcoholic ex-cop in New York. Gritty crime fiction with enjoyable plotting and occasionally lyrical prose, and I like the protagonist. I liked this one most of the three Scudder books I read in July.

Underground, by Haruki Murakami. This was the hardest read from last month. Not due to the subject matter (the 1995 Tokyo Subway gas attacks) as much as to the fact that it’s largely made up of interviews. I found the stream of interviews difficult to stick with, which probably says something about my reading preferences. It was amazing to me how much easier I found the essay sections of the book. Despite that, it was worth reading to get quite a lot of insight into how people react during crises, and how both city socialization and reliance on central authorities make people much less able to react to disasters. Some of the later interviews (with members and ex-members of Aum Shinrikyo) also reveal details on the mindsets people who get involved with cults.

I liked a lot of the other books I read also, but those were the really outstanding ones in my opinion. (Eventually I’ll enter all of them in a database application and write reviews of all of them as well…).

For the curious, the full list of last month’s reading:

  • Mr. Irresponsible’s Bad Advice, Bill Barol
  • Flesh and Blood, Michael Cunningham
  • The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians War Profiteers and the Media That Love Them, Amy Goodman with David Goodman
  • Hell to Pay, George Pelecanos
  • Soul Circus, George Pelecanos
  • Hard Revolution, George Pelecanos
  • Drama City, George Pelecanos
  • Garnethill, Denise Mina
  • Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
  • When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, Lawrence Block
  • A Long Line of Dead Men, Lawrence Block
  • All the Flowers are Dying, Lawrence Block
  • A Simple Plan, Scott Smith
  • Underground, Haruki Murakami
  • The Blood Knight, Greg Keyes
  • The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi
  • The Ruins, Scott Smith
  • Exile, Denise Mina
  • Resolution, Denise Mina
  • The Dead Hour, Denise Mina
  • On Snooker, Mordecai Richler

Leave a Reply