Twelve books this month pushing my total for the year over two-hundred. A combination of National Novel Writing Month (where I’m attempting to finish my fourth fantasy novel), beginning a Dungeons & Dragons game with some adult friends as a DM (dungeon master), and the Thanksgiving holiday made this month one where I was less than satisfied with my progress on all fronts.
However, I can say that nearly every book I read this month was an excellent experience. I’m hoping to write and place two serious literary review of T.A. Noonan, Stella Corso, and Andrea Lawlor’s works going into 2018. The playlist for this month was ambient or, rather, the sounds churning in the static of autumn’s arrival.
This commissioned review found me reading an adventure story wrapped in historical fiction. Pleasant enough.
Lending Power: How Self-Help Credit Union Turned Small-Time Loans into Big-Time Change by Howard E. Covington
Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner
In the wake of the sexual abuse, assault, and harassment coming out in the open, reading this novella was an exercise in creepy. I had gotten this digital ARC from NetGalley ages ago and had high hopes for it. I thought Weiner might write something of the quality of Noah Hawley, but no. This novella is poorly written, underdeveloped, and so casually sexist/misogynist it’s difficult to understand how we didn’t see this wave of abuse coming. Weiner writes Pete Campbell to greater or lesser degrees at all times. It is a wretched character and point of view and Weiner is eminently satisfied with it.
I hope to write a longer more detailed review of this chapbook in the future. This is probably one of the most raw & emotionally challenging works I’ve read in a longtime. Noonan isn’t writing poetry or memoir or creative nonfiction, but rather a work at once existentially personal, objectively terrifying & recognizable, and elegant in its crafting.
Adequate if not uninspiring. However, given the dearth of expertise striking the US diplomacy-wise, a book such as this is vital for all would-be engaged citizens.
Quite simply, one of the best novels of 2017. Set in the early 90s, Paul/Polly is a queer who has the ability to literally gender swap changing physical sex. This story is stunning loaded with exceptional humor, sincere intellect, passion both base and high, and in an era of casual hatred directed at queer folk profoundly uplifting even in its most difficult passages. I hope to have a longer review of it in the future. In the meantime, enjoy this playlist…
A Goodreads giveaway win, this took ages to arrive and I won’t lie, I was kinda annoyed it was a cheap looking ARC. However, the story inside is well worth attention and merit. Literary fiction with a sci-fi bent is usually termed Speculative Fiction, but ignoring industry buzzwords, this novel is certainly a high literary work just like Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road. Here’s another novel I’m hoping to do a longer review of closer to its publication date (April, 2018).
Although there are more than a few moments where Adut oversimplifies our contemporary political moment (essentially doing a lazy sketch of the 2016 election that is certainly a dominant media narrative but more than a bit erroneous), this is a rather brilliant work. Adut’s critique of what we mean by ‘the public sphere,’ what we would like it to be, what it actually is, and what it could be is not just an academic exercise but a vital bit of deep thinking.
This memoir will most likely be my last commissioned review of the year. This is more creative nonfiction than memoir giving it more heft, more literary weight. Hamilton writes of his life through the 20th century as someone deeply embedded in British colonialism–India, South Africa, England, and Asia Pacific. At once well crafted and a fascinating personal historical document.