Jeremy Felt

Book notes


These are the books I am actively reading.

  • Catch 22, by Joseph Keller, is in the last stretch at about 80 pages left. I’m impressed how well things have transitioned from a sly, dry humor—”ha ha ha, Yossarian sure is a character”—to “war is hell, this is horrible, how could Yossarian not be a character.” We’ll see how it finishes!
  • Riders of the Purple Sage, by Zane Grey, which I picked up because Grey was one of my grandfather’s favorite childhood authors and I wanted to see for myself. I went quickly from an arm’s length suspicious to very interested in this Venters character and wondering why I’m reading an extra chapter during this quick break all of a sudden.
  • Sourcery, by Terry Pratchett, on the Kindle for sometimes over lunch reads. It’s easy to always have a Disc World novel in progress.
  • The Whole-Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, because I’m a dad now.
  • Afterlives, by Abdulrazak Gurnah, a gift from Michelle at Christmas.

Less actively reading

I’m always “reading” a dozen books, some of which I haven’t actually touched in months. These I’ve at least opened at some point in the last month or are collections that I’m working through slowly.

Recently finished

I haven’t written one of these since November 1, so some of these are already mentioned in my 2022 books roundup.

  • American Prometheus, by Kai Bird, was our book club pick for September. It was fantastic and eye-opening and so very readable. I would definitely recommend this.
  • A Brilliant Void: A Selection of Classic Irish Science Fiction, edited by Jack Fennell, a collection of old short science fiction stories.
  • The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov, was a delight. I was somewhat suspicious at the beginning because the whole shift to Pontious Pilate made no sense, but wow do things all come together. It’s strange to guess at books you’ll read again one day, but I’ll probably read this again one day.
  • High Island, by Richard Murphy, a very nice collection of poetry.
  • Silence in the Snowy Fields, by Robert Bly, a good collection of poetry.
  • Anne Dunne, by Sebastian Barry, is my second of Barry’s and I remain impressed by his writing. In this one, not much really happens except for the character, and he writes the character well.
  • Ejaculate Responsibly, by Gabrielle Blair, was our first book club pick of the year. It was very quick and full of good information to reframe abortion as something men are in the best position to prevent.

On deck

I need to reevaluate what’s actually on deck, but I did just pick Trust, by Hernan Diaz for our next book club, so that will be on top of the list.

Added to the long list

These are the books I’ve run into since November and added to some sort of “to one day read” list that is ever growing and will never shrink. I’m going to avoid linking them because I let this get out of hand.

  • A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr
  • The Philosophy of Modern Song, by Bob Dylan
  • Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World, by Irene Vallejo
  • Dinosaurs, by Lydia Millet
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, which entered the public domain this year.
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, Randall Munroe, which Jake recommended after I pondered through an idea around space lighthouses.
  • Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, by David Eagleman
  • A Hacker’s Mind, by Bruce Shneier
  • Rock Springs, by Richard Ford
  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, by Tim Wu
  • The Commitments, by Roddy Doyle
  • A Shameful Murder, by Cora Harrison
  • Pancho and Lefty Ride Out, by Conal Creedon
  • Young Skins, by Colin Barrett
  • The Sea, by John Banville
  • Plowing the Dark, by Richard Powers
  • Verse, Chorus, Monster!, by Graham Coxon
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes
  • The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams
  • Comet in Moominland, by Tove Jansson
  • The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, by Christopher Moore
  • You Are Not Expected to Understand This: How 26 Lins of Code Changed the World, by Torie Bosch
  • Cutting the Night in Two: Short Stories by Irish Women Writers, edited by Evelyn Conlon
  • The Country Girls, by Edna O’Brien
  • Atomic Energy in the Coming Era, by David Dietz, which is like a Vox explainer for Americans who were just told about the bomb.
  • Oppenheimer: The Story of a Friendship, by Haakon Chevalier
  • The Beast in the Jungle, by Henry James
  • The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
  • A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, by Hanif Abdurraqib
  • Cassandra, by Nina Murray
  • James Joyce, by Richard Ellman
  • An Irish Atlantic Rainforest, Eoghan Daltun
  • The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction, by Helen Graham
  • Dead Lions, by Mick Herron
  • Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings, by Jonathan Raban

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