My year in books

I read 50 books in 2018.

(47 if you discount the few I fudged to meet my Goodreads challenge: an essay by Umberto Eco, which is a book, but I read online, a cookbook I bought for a $1 at Strand and quickly discarded.)

22 were translations

15 of which were novels (by Nobakov, Camus, Ferrante, Balzac)

4 of which were the delightful and morbid noir-comedy of French writer Pascal Garnier

11 were written by women

4 were in Spanish, including 2 by the Chilean/Mexican master Roberto Bolaño, who has reaffirmed my love for torrents of language

5 concerned urbanism, segregation and racism

2 concerned algorithms and privacy

2 were published in 2018

The one I would recommend to everyone is Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark. I had not understood the notion that whiteness exists only as contrast to blackness until I read it. It helped me to think about the question of great literature from terrible men (and women), and about literature as what remains of a terrible history but the only one we have.

The authors I want to keep reading are Bolaño, Knausgaard, DeWitt, maybe Nobakov.

I revisited Fondane. I finally read Alan Watts. I tried to read Modiano in French. DeWitt blew my mind. Garnier was a treat. Coates was redundant. Nobakov was work, but probably worth it. Chris Kraus was a very wonderful surprise, a mix of art theory and essay that I devoured. Eileen Myles was refreshing and then quickly just okay. Alain de Botton makes me want to throw things. Knausgaard makes me want to slow the fuck down. I wish obfuscation had a chance.

Resolutions for 2019: 1) read at least 1 book of poetry 2) reread at least 2 books 3) read at least 3 books about writing

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