Books read 2023

The Maniac book cover

Books! Best to worst.

Benjamin Labatut, The MANIAC

Brilliant writing forms a coincidental cultural counterpoint to the (excellent) Oppenheimer film.

Robert Hillburn, Paul Simon

Thorough chronicle of the great American songwriter.

Howard Jacobson, Live a Little and J

Both humorous.

Ling Ma, Bliss Montage

Short stories that are quite imaginative in structure and language.

Andrea Camilleri, The Cook of the Halcyon

Practically speaking, the 27th book and probably the last manuscript of the Commissioner Montalbano series, even though the final 28th book Riccardino was the last book published and was written well in advance of Camilleri’s own demise.

Gal Beckerman, The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas

Having difficulty remembering how I felt this book almost 12 months later.

Quentin Tarantino, Cinema speculation

Vivid and manic, like his work.

Jenny Odell, How to do nothing

Bad title, but okay book about distraction from bioregionalism.

Annie Ernaux, Getting Lost

A self-critical diary of sex and obsession from the Nobel Prize for Literature winner, the first work of hers I’ve read. This quote from the diary entry for September 23, 1989, sums it up accurately: “It’s not much of a story, just a layer of egocentric suffering.”

Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


Maia Kobabe, Gender Queer: A Memoir

Tough to figure out what the hubbub is about.

Books that I found non-compelling and didn’t finish, or were otherwise dismissible:

Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s

Kelly Lytle Hernández, Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

Tara Brach, Radical Compassion



, ,