Mid-year reading review

From page 69 of The Hole (Hye-Young Pyun; 2017):

It was impossible to capture the trajectory of life in a map. Without one, there was no way of wrapping your brain around it all, and yet he was skeptical as to whether you could ever represent the world through maps alone.

But it was meaningful. Someone had taken these invisible trajectories that could not be studied with any sort of accuracy and had tried anyway to turn them into a tangible space. He found it boring sometimes for the same reason. A world that could not be understood perfectly, could not be explained unambiguously, and was interpreted differently based on political purposes and conveniences was no different from the world he was already living in. And yet, the one way in which maps were clearly better than life was that they improved with failure. Life itself was merely an accumulation of failures, and those failures never made life better.

The jacket copy suggests that The Hole evokes the work of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. While I appreciate the assertion, I thought this meditation on the horror of finding blank emptiness at the center of a career, a marriage, a life was more philosophical than the comparisons to psychological thrillers suggests.

This was the book I completed before heading to bed last night, so I have completed sixty-eight books so far this year:

27 novels
10 plays
18 non-fiction titles
13 graphic fiction works
18 works published this year

My complete list can be found here.

Even better on rereading:
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro; 2005. Fiction.)
Childhood’s End (Arthur C. Clarke; 1953. Fiction.)
Daytripper (Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá; 2011. Graphic fiction.)
Mrs. Caliban (Rachel Ingalls; 1983. Fiction.)

Forgot how wonderful this writer is:
Memento Mori (Muriel Spark; 1959. Fiction.)

For those who loved The Elementals (Michael McDowell; 1981):
The Reapers Are the Angels (Alden Bell; 2010. Fiction.)

A new-ish author who deserves the hype:
Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng; 2017. Fiction.)
Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng; 2014. Fiction.)

Fabulous story for a long car trip:
American Kingpin (Nick Bilton; 2017. Non-fiction.)

Honorable mention:
The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet (Justin Peters; 2016. Non-fiction.)

The most engrossing book I’ve read so far this year (not including rereads):
Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue; 2016. Fiction.)

Honorable mention:
Killers of the Flower Moon (Dan Grann; 2017. Non-fiction.)
An Abbreviated Life (Ariel Leve; 2016. Non-fiction.)
After the Eclipse (Sarah Perry; 2017. Non-fiction.)
The Hole (Hye-young Pyun; 2017. Fiction.)

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