November 2020 books read

  • America’s Snake: The Rise and Fall of the Timber Rattlesnake – Ted Levin, 2016 – quotes pulled, TBD
  • Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing – Ben Blatt, 2017. A Jonathan recommendation – very interesting if a little slight. Great book design with mauve ink. My favorite bit was the graph of exclamation points per 100,000 words (James Joyce tops the list!).
  • The Whisper of Glocken – Carol Kendall, 1965. A sequel to The Gammage Cup, one of my childhood favorites, which I just discovered. It’s not as good as the original, but not bad at all – if I had read it when I was a kid I would have been very fond of it. Where the first one’s message is that ordinarily eccentric people can be heroes, this one says (among other things) that heroes are just ordinarily eccentric people.
  • An Ideal Husband – Oscar Wilde, 1894 – for Irish Writers. Quotes marked but lost.
  • Troubled Blood – Robert Galbraith, 2020 – In my notes I had the title of this newest Cormoran Strike (J.K. Rowling pseudonym) as “Tedious Murder,” which isn’t that far off… I do enjoy these, and to me Rowling’s problematic views don’t come through as strongly as some say, but boy does the lady need an editor. Also, apparently “disorientated” is totally UK standard, but it bugs me and I feel like I only see it in Rowling (don’t read enough PD James, I guess).
  • The Trial – Franz Kafka, 1925 (Breon Mitchell tr, 1999) – quotes pulled, TBD
  • Captain Harlock Space Pirate: Dimensional Voyage – Leiji Matsumoto, 2017 – The Captain Harlock TV show, or rather Albator since we were living in France, is one of the formative esthetic experiences of my youth. I can’t quite recapture the way it made me feel, even re-watching the original episodes, and I hoped this manga might help. But I didn’t realize it’s not the original. I still enjoyed it, and boy do I wish I could rock that cape…
  • The Prestige – Christopher Priest, 1995. I saw the movie a decade or so ago and the final twist made a huge impression on me because it was so infuriatingly preposterous. A blog I’ve been following and enjoying recently, Occasional Mumblings by “vacuous wastrel”, loved the original book and prompted me to pick it up. Good not great to my taste, but it does sort of resolve my biggest problem with the movie’s approach (my attempt to explain without spoiling too much: the “prestige material” is frozen rather than dead).