The first was “Border Cantos” by Richard Misrach, a photographer, and Guillermo Galindo, a musician/composer.
It is a remarkable book about a remarkable project. Misrach has been photographing the Mexican-US border for over 40 years. Since the 2000s his work has focused on its “militarization.” On his trips, besides taking photos, he has collected objects left by migrants and forces of the border patrol, including books, dolls, shotgun shells, water bottles, and steel slabs, which Galindo has used to compose and play music. The art, the politics, and the humanity encompassed within this volume is over-whelming.
The second was “Crash” by J.G. Ballard, a highly regarded dystopian novel, blending the violence of lethal automobile accidents with the perversities of sex. (I can not recall reading another book in which the words “semen” and “vulva” appeared so frequently.) The subject matter did not engage me; the characters did not involve me; even the sex, perhaps to my credit, did not arouse my fantasies. I was relieved to finally finish it and move my reading on.