Last Ten Books Read (xiv)

In reverse order of completion:

Wolfram Eilenberger. “Time of the Magicians.” This (and the Sigmund, which is about the Vienna School of philosophy) were recommended by my philosopher neighbor after I told him I had read the Duffy. “Magicians” focus is on Benjamin, Heidecker, Cassirer, and Wittgenstein. In both these books I found the biographies more yielding than the ideas, but I made a good faith effort at both and which, given my C/C- freshman year in Philosophy I, was not a bad outcome.

Michael Lesy. “Wisconsin Death Trip.” One weird book, recommended by a writer-pal at the café, built around actual photographs and articles about murder, suicide, arson, fatal illnesses, and mental hospitalizations from a small town newspaper around the turn of the 20th century.

John Williams. “Butcher’s Crossing.” Praised as a “classic.” I am the only person I know who didn’t care for Williams’s “Stoner,” and I didn’t care for this either. Nice descriptions of wilderness, snow storms, and the slaughter of buffalo but I defy you to care about any of the characters.

Vladimir Sirotkin. “The Queue.” The author came well-recommended, in a “sex-and-violence” way. in an NYT article, but this book, his first, was a clever satire, sort-of a one-trick pony (all dialogue bu never-identified speakers or physcial details) with about zero of what attracted me.

Paul Gravett, ed. “Best Crime Comics.” A gift. (“Well, Bob likes comics…”) Selections from several decades of abominable prose; some compelling graphics. Want it?

Elena Ferrante. “The Story of the Lost Child.” (Second time.) While watching Part 3 of “My Brilliant Friend” on TV and realizing how much of it I had forgotten, I decided I better read Part 4 before it came on. Turns out I had forgotten even more of that. (It’s a strange – but effective – novel, with what-would seem significant events allotted scanty space before they are gone.)

Karl Sigmund. “Exact Thinking in Demented Times.” (See above.)

Diana Meehan. “What Matters Most.” Readers of Adele and my IWKYA may recall the re-entry into our lives of our friends Gary and Diana. This effecting memoir, written for family and friends, recounts the love that was a constant companion on their journey from vagabond hippies to power presences in LA/Hollywood.

Bruce Duffy. “The World As I Found It.” I had never heard of him or it, until his obit in the “Times’ declared “World” one of the great novels of recent times. It centers on the relationship between Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and G.E. Moore. I quite enjoyed it – until I read the non-fiction books, at which point some of the fictionalized components seemed cheap and underwhelming.

Austin English. “Meskin and Umezzo.” I find English’s work to be in the fine art/comic borderland, puzzling and consistently fascinating. (His critical writings are fine too.)