August 2022 books read

  • Hot Money – Dick Francis, 1989. Re-read but maybe only for the second time as I think I got it towards the end of my first Francis deep dive. He’s shrinking on me as I age, but I went on to:
  • Longshot – Dick Francis, 1991. This one is still a winner. The relationship between survival writer John Kendall and the family he accidentally falls into is charming, and the plot is good.
  • Detransition, Baby – Torrey Peters, 2021.
  • Summer World: A Season of Bounty – Bernd Heinrich, 2009. Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • Le côté de Guermantes – Marcel Proust, 1920-1921. Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values – Robert M. Pirsig, 1974.
  • Over Sea, Under Stone – Susan Cooper, 1965. Re-read for Annabookbel’s #TDiRS22
  • The Stand – Stephen King, 1978. Umpteenth comfort re-read of the original edition, as I think the updated/uncut version is worse in many ways. But I notice the racism of the original sticks out more each time, and I wonder to what extent he fixed that in the 1990 edition. (I read it once, but that was more than 20 years ago – I agree with the GoodReads reviewer who calls it “probably the single greatest argument for a good editor in publishing history.”)
  • Ex Libris – Matt Madden, 2021. Intriguing meta graphic novel.
  • The Secret to Superhuman Strength – Alison Bechdel, 2021. Much better than Are You My Mother? – equally pretentious, but it worked for me and I very much identified with Bechdel’s love for workout gear and athletic fads.
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi, 2016. I heard a lot about this touching memoir when it came out and finally got around to reading it – it is very good.
  • Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran – Andy Taylor, 2008. Unfortunately not very well-written or interesting, especially compared to In the Pleasure Groove, but that one had a co-writer (Tom Sykes). If AT had a ghost for this, they didn’t do a very good job. He doesn’t seem very self-aware or to have thought about what readers would want to know. Nonetheless I’m a big enough Duran Duran fan that I’m glad I read it. And this comparison is making me change my mind a bit – perhaps AT has more good bits scattered in there, hidden in the thicket of cliches…
  • Mistress Masham’s Repose – T. H. White, 1946. Another many-times comfort re-read. I shared the especially funny bits with Jonathan so I’ve compiled them.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Patricia Highsmith, 1955. I finally read this after watching Purple Noon with the Far Out Film group (I also saw the 1999 film early on) and liked it OK – not my favorite genre and so dark, but I can see why it’s a classic of its kind.

And a short story: “Cold Clews,” one of Erle Stanley Gardner‘s stories featuring Lester Leith, recommended by Jonathan. Leith is a con man who simultaneously solves thefts and gets the goods for himself by incredibly baroque con jobs, and this was the wackiest one in the collection Jonathan read. I see this format is described as “puzzle plots.”

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