Category: Fiction

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, translated by Frederick Paul Walter

    In some ways/at some moments I liked this more than I liked Journey to the Center of the Earth, because some of the descriptions of underwater/oceanic sights were vivid or lovely—but sometimes it felt like more of a slog. When the novel opens, it’s 1866 and boats have been seeing something big in the water:…

  • The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert

    (Spoilers ahead/maybe don’t read this if you haven’t read this book and are planning to.) There’s a moment in The Roommate Risk that gave me Mastermind vibes, but different: our female lead, Jasmine, admits to Rahul—her best friend of seven years—that she saw him at the library when they were at uni, a week before…

  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

    When I’m on my way home from a trip in another country, if I find myself with a little cash left in some foreign currency, I like to stop at the airport bookshop and see if there’s anything that catches my eye. This time, coming back from Rome, what caught my eye was Beyond Black…

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    I read a lot of this book on an airplane a few weeks ago and it was excellent plane reading for me: the plot speeds along and I was pretty engrossed. The premise: Evelyn Hugo is a major movie star who hasn’t given an interview in years, but who, when the book opens, has just…

  • Dykette by Jenny Fran Davis

    I found Dykette an extremely cringe-inducing read, which I think is intentional. So do I think the book is successful as a novel? Yes. Did I enjoy reading it? Sometimes. Would I recommend it? I guess it depends on your feelings about gross-out performance art and “High-Femme Camp Antics.” (Personally, I think my tolerance for…

  • Pitch Dark by Renata Adler

    The last two books I read before Pitch Dark were both narratively-straightforward romances—very different in style and from very different times, but they were both the kind of book where the central couple gets a happily-ever-after ending and the reader gets warm and fuzzy feelings. Pitch Dark is not that kind of book at all.…