Last Ten Books Read (XXV)

(In order of Completion)

1. Gaddis. “Agape, Agape.” That finishes my Gaddis readings, at least temporarily. His last book and an unsatisfying one to go out on. If I re-read him, it’ll be “J.R.” first.

2. Labatut. “Maniac.” Another disappointment. Liked his prior book much better. The opening of this one was in line with it in style and substance and fine. The rest was a departure and not.

3. Greenberg. “Comics, Creativity & the Law.” A waste of time and money. I thought I might learn something useful – but didn’t. Someone might. Want a copy?

4. Miller. “Cashing in on Culture.” Ditto. Since it was about Brandx’s efforts to de-acquisition its art museum, someone thought I would like it. But it was poor journalism and barren of interesting ideas. Destined for a Free Little Library box.

5. Gray. “1982. Claudine.” The morning S. Clay Wilson left me behind in that bar (See: Levin. “Sicken ‘em or Enlighten ‘em”), the bar tender recommended I read Grey’s “Lanark.” I had forgotten what “Lanark” was like, but I liked it enough that when I read “Janine” was Gray’s favorite of his novels, I picked it up. An engaging blend of not-quite porn, political rant, and familiar novelistic stuff.

6. Chast. “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant.” This drew raves when published, so when the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund offered it as a premium for contributees, I selected it. Harrowing and (painfully) funny. I suppose it was Chast’s only way of dealing with her parents, their decline and their passing.

7. Kaplan. “3 Shades of Blue.” An account of the coming together of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans, their recording of “Kind of Blue,” and lives thereafter. The first portion was familiar to me but the latter new and informative. I would have liked it even better if I understood music

8. Charyn. “Jerzy.” Nah! A novel based on the life of Jerzy Kosinski but neither biographical, gossipy or creative enough to satisfy.

9. Elsa Morante. “Lies & Sorcery.” Morante’s first novel (and the second I’ve read). It’s 750 pages of feverish emotions and unfathomable behavior captured in compelling prose. “Operatic,” I summed up to myself. Takes a commitment but worth it.

10. Chast. “Going Into Town.” Came with #6 above. Compared to it a trifle. Depending on one’s attachment to NYC (Mine is minimal), it could mean more.