The OF Blog: December 2011 Reads

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 2011 Reads

Unlike previous months, I'll list this month's reads before the final minute/day has passed.  I finished the year with 517 books and e-books read, my second-highest ever behind 2009's 562 books read.  Some changes in the stories read this year, which I'll address in a post shortly.  Highly doubt 2012 will see as many books/e-books read, as I plan on devoting more time to learning other languages (Persian certainly will be one, but I may work on fluency in German, Serbian, and Russian as well), but plans do change.  Might be more reviews next year, but the majority of those will be posted at Weird Fiction Review, Gogol's Overcoat, or might appear in print magazines (my review of Helen Oyeyemi's Mr. Fox appears in the forthcoming issue of Bull Spec, which I believe will be released in the very near future, if not already).  But enough of plans (there will be a post for that shortly), here are the books read:

475  Yumeno Kyûsaku, Dogra Magra (French translation of the original Japanese; already reviewed)

476  Russell Banks, Lost Memory of Skin (very good, but its premise might be offputting for many)

477  Carl Sandburg, Carl Sandburg:  Selected Poems (very good collection)

478  Ambrose Bierce, Bierce:  The Devil's Dictionary, Tales, & Memoirs (excellent Library of America edition)

479  Rafia Zafar (ed.), Harlem Renaissance:  Five Novels of the 1920s (essential anthology of Harlem Renaissance prose writers)

480  Umberto Eco, Il pendolo di Foucault (Italian; re-read; excellent)

481  Umberto Eco, Das Foucaultsche Pendel (German; see above)

482  Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum (re-read; see above)

483  Magdalena Tulli, In Red (short, yet haunting in what lies underneath the good prose; translated from Polish)

484  H.L. Mencken, Prejudices:  Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Series (Mencken was a very good early 20th century critic; these LoA reprints are well worth reading)

485  Franz Kafka, Amerika (German; good, but far from his best work, but not surprising it's an early work)

486  Franz Kafka, Amerika (see above)

487  Thomas Frick, The Iron Boys (good debut novel about the rise of Luddite revolts)

488  Jesse Ball, The Curfew (very good; actually read in June, but somehow I forgot to log it then in my handwritten reading log)

489  Marcel Proust, Le Côté de Guermantes (French; third volume of his seminal work; essay forthcoming)

490  Elizabeth Alexander (ed.), The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks (very good poetry collection)

491  Marcel Proust,  Sodome et Gomorrhe (French; see above)

492  Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Volume II: The Guermantes Way/Cities of the Plain (see above)

493  Rafia Zafar (ed.), Harlem Renaissance:  Four Novels of the 1930s (see earlier comment on the first volume)

494  Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 (review forthcoming)

495  Lavie Tidhar, Osama (very good alt-history that balances noir elements with references to current issues)

496  Marcel Proust, La Prisonnière (French; see above comment)

497  José Saramago, O Homem Duplicado (Portuguese; good, but not his best effort)

498  Carlos Fuentes, Instinto de Inez (Spanish; like Saramago, good, but not Fuentes' best)

499  Umberto Eco, L'isola del giorno prima (Italian; underrated Eco novel)

500 Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before (re-read; see above)

501  Catherynne M. Valente, The Folded World (very good sequel to her in-progress trilogy)

502  Edward Hirsch (ed.), Theodore Roethke:  Selected Poems (very good collection)

503  Michael Warner (ed.), American Sermons:  The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King Jr. (excellent LoA collection)

504  Marcel Proust, Albertine disparue (French; see above comment)

505  Geoff Ryman, Paradise Tales (one of the best reprint collections I've read this year)

506  J.M. McDermott, Women and Monsters (very good; recasting of Greek myth elements for our times reminds me favorably of his Last Dragon in the phrasing and quality of prose)

507  Honor Moore (ed.), Amy Lowell:  Selected Poems (excellent poetry collection)

508  Caitlín R. Kiernan, Two Worlds and In Between:  The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (excellent best of collection)

509  Péter Nádas, Parallel Stories (longer review forthcoming, but this was monumental even despite its many flaws)

510  Marcel Proust, Le Temps retrouve (French; see above comment)

511  Francisco Petrarch, Il Canzoniere di Petrarca (Italian; beautiful sonnets)

512  Paolo Chikiamco (ed.), Alternative Alamut (enjoyable collection of Filipino speculative fiction that centers around national mythologies)

513  James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes (competently told, yet I felt as though it were lacking a narrative "soul")

514  Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Volume III:  The Captive, The Fugitive, Time Regained (see previous comments on Proust)

515  Various, Novum Testamentum Latine (revised Vulgate Latin edition of the New Testament)

516  Edmund Wilson, Edmund Wilson:  Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 1930s (very good LoA edition)

517  Various, The Holy Bible (King James edition; also read the 7 books excluded from Protestant editions in the New American edition.  No comment on these due to the nature of the reading, which spanned most of the year)

And there you go.  Which ones have you read?  Which do you want to know more about?

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