Looking back over my reading notes for January, I seem to have got through a fair few books, and since I confine my twitter length reviews to my good reads page, here is a quick rundown for the interested:
New Selected Poems by Carol Ann Duffy, who likes puns too much.
Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare, who wasn’t always a great writer.
The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo, who is the Michael Crichton of existential seafaring and Guerno superstitions.
The Penguin Book of Modern Short Stories by Edited by Malcolm Bradbury, who coincidentally has the best story in the collection. Suspicious.
Monkey: Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’En, who writes long, even when heavily abridged.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene, who doesn’t like colonialism, especially when the Americans and French do it.
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, who is only a bit less racist than most of the Restoration English.
Henry VI Part 2 by William Shakespeare, who was not above doing sequel after sequel if it paid.
A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift, who writes basically incomprehensible nonfiction sentences.
Tales from the Thousand and One Nights by Anon, who has an endless thesaurus of words for genitals.
Henry VI Part 1 by William Shakespeare, who is good at play writing and bad at history.
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, who taught me that war is more fun than you would expect, but is also every bit as not fun as you would also expect.
Lips Too Chilled by Matsuo Basho, who taught me that I don’t really get haikus.
The Qu’ran by God, who is nice to widows and orphans, but less nice to gays and people who don’t respect his prophets.
Managing Oneself by Peter F Drucker, who gives super helpful advice to the self-employed.
White Noise by Don DeLillo, who is really bad at natural dialogue but really good at being a good writer.
Next month’s menu should be follows: Tom Jones from the classics; The Communist Manifesto, Fire on the Moon, Hiroshima, Falling Man, The Information and Pamuk’s The Black Book for novel research; Titus Andronicus, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry VI Part 3 and Richard III from ol’Bill; and The Ancestor’s Tale by Ricky D, because sometimes I miss science.