PlaidApple's 2020 50+ decade opener
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Hello everyone!! I finally did it last year and read 50 books in a year!! Hoping to make it two in a row, but I am taking some grad classes for part of this year so... I'm pretty confident that I'll hit 50 BOOKS because of that this year, but if I can, I'd like to only count the novels, which might make it harder. And I'd like to keep my eye on the second half of the year to keep reading after my classes are over, and not fall into a slump without the pressure of a reading list.
I'll * anything I read for class and ** anything I read for my independent grad work.
OK January so far:
Astroball by Ben Reiter**
- Really enjoyed this, a compelling story about baseball. If you like good sports writing, you'll probably like this book.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen*
- I started this in December and just finished. I found it... long and tiresome. There were some good moments but overall it was an unbelievable slog to get through and I don't have any desire to read more Franzen.
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti*
- I really enjoyed this. It was a quick read about friendship and self-creation.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
- There were parts of this that were genuinely moving, but parts that seemed to drag. I think overall it made its point, and I know it was written quite a while ago, but I didn't feel great about using a deaf/mute character as, essentially, a moral lesson. I also think that perhaps there's a lot more on loneliness written now, and in that way, its takeaways were unsurprising.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson*
- I liked this a lot. I don't know that it was Pulitzer material, but it was very good. Super easy to read but an interesting conceit of a dying man writing to his young son about his life, and a very interesting reflection of religious life in American history.
The Might Have Been by Joseph m Schuster**
- I really enjoyed this book, but it isn't quite what the flap summary led me to believe. It's predominantly about baseball player who gets injured and never really makes it to the big leagues, but the split between past and present is about 40-60, and I wouldn't say that his "encounter with two players" is life changing, it's more just about him managing a team after retirement in general that becomes story-worthy. Not perfect but enjoyable.
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri*
- This is a collection of stories/vignettes that are all somewhat interconnected, mostly taking place around Boston and dealing with life, relationships, immigration, and all that's in between. I thought it was moving and not a single sentence felt extraneous. I don't always love interconnected stories like this, but really well done and would recommend.
10:04 by Ben Lerner*
- Really enjoyed this, and thought some of the writing was genuinely excellent. That being said, I can easily see how someone wouldn't like this, or find that it sort of falls into the boring self-absorbed side of literary fiction.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- The second half of this book is great, the first is OK. But once it picked up it really sucked me in.
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