1.) Sigrid Nunez. Sempre Susan. I’d read and enjoyed three or four books by Nunez. If you want to know about Susan Sontag, this short memoir may be all you need. It was for me.
2.) Timothy Snyder. Bloodland. I understand there was some criticism from historians but the horror-upon-horrors committed by Stalin and Hitler — 1500 murdered in one paragraph, 1250 in the next – landed like blows to my head.
3.) Rachel Cusk. The Last Supper. Three or four books by Cusk too. This was about a family trip to Italy. I usually don’t read travel books but I found this for free somewhere, so the price was right, and, given Cusk’s prose style and intelligence, anything she writes is worthwhile.
4.) Renata Adler. Irreparable Harm. And speaking of style and intelligence. A magazine article I’d read previously in an anthology, but reprinted in book form, so I’m counting it.
5.) Paul Buhle & Dave Wagner. Hide in Plain Sight. Another “free” shelf acquisition., A few interesting observations about post-Blacklist careers in Hollywood and NYC and the influence of Popular Front thinking on pop culture, but I’m tossing this one back.
6.) Jim LeCuyer. Stories for Clever Children. A slim volume by a pal. Witty, wise; smiles resulted.
7.) Frank Conroy. Dogs Bark…. A collection of magazine pieces culled from my philosopher neighbor’s cast-offs. (See “Adventures in Marketing 316″). Conroy is excellent on musicians, jazz and classical, but I could take or leave the rest.
8. Timothy Snyder. On Tyranny. After Bloodlands, I wanted to see what he thought. Also, since there’s an illustrated edition, I thought I’d review it; but tcj had already run one (negative) and didn’t want me.
9.) Tobias Wolff. Old School. The second pick-up from my neighbor. Adele loved it too – and recommended it to her brother, who’s enjoying it on last report.
10.) Bill James. Popular Crime. Pick-up #3. James uses his knowledge of analytics to score a couple points early, but once he blamed the Supreme Court for the increase in crime in the ‘70s (and the creation of mega-prisons) he proved he ought to stick to batting orders and when to bunt.