what I’ve been reading lately:

  • Kitchen Confidential

    (by Anthony Bourdain) I’m grateful to nonfiction book club for choosing this as our February read: although I definitely like food (by which I mean: I like cooking and baking; I like going out to eat; I like trying new-to-me restaurants and new-to-me dishes), I haven’t read many food-related memoirs, and this one was definitely…

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  • OKPsyche

    (by Anya Johanna DeNiro) If you need a mythology refresher (which I did, before I started reading this): per Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, Psyche was a) the goddess of the soul, b) Cupid’s wife and c) a great beauty who was transformed from being a mortal woman to being immortal after a series of trials. This all…

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  • The Rediscovery of America

    (by Ned Blackhawk) This book (whose subtitle is “Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History”) covers a lot of ground chronologically and geographically, and sometimes jumps around a bit rather than proceeding solely by chronology. It’s written in an academic but readable style (by which I mean: this is not a pop history kind…

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  • Nipponia Nippon

    (by Kazushige Abe, translated by Kerim Yasar) Nipponia Nippon was a random library find for me: whenever I return or pick up a book, I also look at the “New books” shelves to see what catches my eye, and the first line of this Japanese novella (written in 2001, but only translated into English in…

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  • Loving Venice

    (by Petr Král, translated by Christopher Moncrieff) At the office holiday party in December, I found myself talking to a colleague about how much we both like Venice; later in the month, he stopped by my desk to lend me his copy of this book, which I read over the course of two days in…

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  • 2023 Reading Highlights

    I read 37 books in 2023, four of which were re-reads and the rest of which were new to me. I didn’t read quite as many books in translation as I meant to (I read 7; I was aiming for 10) and I definitely did not succeed at reading books from outside the US, UK,…

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  • Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

    The narrator of this book (whose gender is never specified) is blindsided by love, then blindsided by loss. We get glimpses of their past relationships—boyfriends, girlfriends, affairs with married women—but mostly we get the story of their relationship with Louise, which is a story of bliss followed by absence. “Why is the measure of love…

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  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

    I’m sure I’d read A Christmas Carol before, but it was a long time ago—like, more than twenty years ago—so I figured the time was right for a re-read. I remembered the story, of course, having seen Mickey’s Christmas Carol and maybe also The Muppet Christmas Carol: Marley’s ghost, and the Ghost of Christmas Past,…

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  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

    I hadn’t heard of L. Frank Baum’s Santa Claus origin story until it was chosen as this month’s pick for an online book club I’m in. I’m glad I got a copy of the Macmillan Collector’s Library edition from the library rather than just reading it on Project Gutenberg: I liked looking at the illustrations…

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  • The Honor of Your Presence by Dave Eggers

    This is a pleasing little Covid-era novella. I hadn’t realized when I saw it at the library that this book was “the second in a series of stories” that Eggers is planning to eventually combine into a larger work, but that doesn’t really matter: it feels like a standalone thing, though now I’m curious to…

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