Essential Reading: July 2015
July marks the halfway point of my reading year and, so far, I have finished 30 books from my target of 60 for 2015 which means that I’m on track to achieve my reading goal. However, I have been lagging in my reviews because, out of the 30 books that I’ve read this year, I’ve only reviewed one which is Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow. I have decided to not review all of the books that I’ve read this year because that is an insuperable task but I won’t abandon reviewing altogether. As a compromise, I’ve decided to only review books at the extremes of my approximation of critical taste and therefore I shall only review books which I’ve given either 5 or 1 star rating in the Goodreads rating meter. That leaves about 11 books left to be reviewed, a much more manageable number. Anyway, enough about my blogging woes. Here are the books I’ve read last month:
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (3/5)
- The Comforters by Muriel Spark (4/5)
- The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré (5/5)
- Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (4/5)
- The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman (5/5)
- Here by Richard McGuire (5/5)
The Maltese Falcon was mediocre and therefore a disappointment thanks in no small part due to the hugely inept villains that Sam Spade had to deal with. The Comforters is deliciously and undeniably the creation of Muriel Spark who fills her books with wickedly charming characters who get themselves in situations of varying degrees of immorality. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is le Carré at his absolute best, weaving a tale of the moral complexity of the Cold War and its most active participants: the spies. Picnic at Hanging Rock is a chilling novel that undeniably comes from the same vein as Shirley Jackson and is well-written enough to surprise me that it is currently out of print. Maus is, without a doubt, one of the most important works of literature ever written and stands with Time’s Arrow as the best works about the Holocaust ever written. Finally, Here is just beautiful, inventive, and original that it leaves me without words to explain how much I loved the experience of reading it. All in all, a very very good June.
Here’s what I have in store for July:
- Emily L. by Marguerite Duras – I was impressed enough by Duras’ The Lover that I wanted to read more of her works. Emily L. seems to be a logical next step as it seems that it has an interesting story to tell about the juxtaposition of two couples.
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin – Last month was Pride Month and, sadly, I didn’t have any book to read that commemorates the occasion (I did read the entire opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges but I don’t think it counts) so reading James Baldwin’s seminal novel is my own belated way of celebrating Pride Month.
- Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor – I just got the Criterion Collection edition of John Huston’s adaptation of Wise Blood so it is a matter of great urgency for me to read the O’Connor’s novel so that I can watch the movie.
- Silence by Shusaku Endo – Martin Scorsese, although mostly known for his crime masterpieces like Goodfellas and The Departed is very much a different director with his religious movies like Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ. He is going to adapt Endo’s masterpiece about the persecution of Catholic Missionaries in Japan during the 17th Century and, as excited as I am with the end result, I intend to read the novel first.
- The Quiet American by Graham Greene – I have loved Greene’s The End of The Affair ever since I read it two years ago which makes me happy that The Quiet American is our book club’s pick for July.
That’s about it for my July reading.