Jeremy Felt

Book notes


These are the books I am actively reading.

  • Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov, has been extremely readable so far. I enjoyed his word play in Lolita and it’s nice to experience it in another book.
  • Above Ground, by Clint Smith, is a collection of poetry on—among other things—new parenthood. I purchased this immediately after finishing his How the Word is Passed last week. I’m a few poems in and it is excellent.
  • The Dream Songs, by John Berryman. I had paused another collection of poems by Berryman because I wasn’t feeling it—even though I really enjoyed at least one, so maybe I was. They were long. Anyhow.—but then I was reminded that he was my grandfather’s favorite poet, so here I am, back at it.
  • The Last September, by Elizabeth Bowen, which I picked up a few months ago at Brused Books after seeing it on a list of great books by Irish women. I’ve only read the first chapter, but I like how it’s unfolding.
  • Hell and other Destinations, by Madeleine Albright, has been on pause for a minute while I finished last month’s book club book, but I’ll be back soon.
  • Watt, by Samuel Beckett. I’m now past the extremely long and repetitive monologue and into the next section. It’s somewhat more interesting, though something great is going to need to happen for me to love this book.
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has reached a stalemate. A will only put up with it for a paragraph or two, even when he asks to read it. And it feels a little weird reading this part of the book out loud to someone who’s grasping new language so well. I don’t want to constantly censor, but Dedalus is currently roaming the night streets looking for prostitutes and that’s just not a toddler-land vibe. In reality, I probably didn’t read it fast enough and I need to pause for quite a while. Maybe I’ll just finish it myself and read fun bits to him along the way.

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

These are the books I’ve finished since last time.

  • God, Human, Animal, Machine, by Meghan O’Gieblyn, was last month’s book club pick. It blew my mind in a few places and sent me down some dark and existential rabbit holes. And it generated a great discussion at book club.
  • Dead Lions, by Mick Herron, the second in The Slough House series. I enjoyed it and appreciated that quite a bit was different from the show even though the plot was the same. I’m looking forward to part 3 of each.
  • How the Word is Passed, by Clint Smith, a book that took me 3 years to read even though it was very, very good. I’m okay that I sat with each section as I went through it. I’d recommend this book to anyone.

On deck

Added to the long list

These are the books I’ve run into since last time and added to some sort of “to one day read” list that is ever growing and will never shrink.

  • Andersonville, by MacKinlay Kantor
  • The Ipcress File, by Len Deighton
  • Joe, by Larry Brown
  • Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, by Robin D.G. Kelley
  • Finding the Mother Tree: Discovery the Wisdom of the Forest, by Suzanne Simard
  • Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu and translated by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The World of Charles and Ray Eames, by Catherine Ince
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
  • The Devil All the Time, by Donald Ray Pollock
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
  • Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk, by Kathleen Hanna

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