The best books I read in September, in no particular order.
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. Good grief. I almost hesitate to recommend it, because of how intense it is, but wow, what a novel. It eats you alive. And it’s fully deserving of all of the accolades and nominations it has been raking in lately.
Stuart: A Life Backwards, Alexander Masters. A gripping, unusual biography and a riveting portrait of homelessness in England.
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut. This is the sort of thing I should have read in high school, but I am glad I finally got around to it; so surprisingly funny in all of its bleakness.
The Folded Clock: A Diary, Heidi Julavits. A well-told and well-curated diary spanning two years of Heidi Julavits’s life.
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, Elena Ferrante. Despite the book covers, Elena Ferrante can do no wrong.
Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations, David Ferry. A surprising array of poems; I particularly liked his translations, especially of Rilke.
What did you read and enjoy in September?
A List of Books I Should Have Read by Now, But I Am Either Too Lazy to Remember or Their Statute of Limitations of Interestingness Has Expired, and My Pertinent Excuses.
- Beowulf, Anon. I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I’m strong enough to wade back into the swamp that is pre-medieval literature to me. But Guion has Seamus Heaney’s translation, so maybe I will read it one day. Only for Heaney.
- Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, all those English history plays with the names of kings, Shakespeare. See also: Laziness.
- Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes. Supposedly it’s 1,000 pages long. Who has that kind of stamina anymore? I’ve exhausted mine with Proust and the Russians.
- Vanity Fair, William Thackeray. It looks… so… long. Plus, Reese Witherspoon already ruined it for me. Boo.
- The Stranger, Albert Camus. I’m not really into existentialism right now.
- The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu. There are about 596 reasons why I should have already read this book. First novel ever recorded! By a woman! A Japanese woman! But… why? I don’t have any legitimate excuses. I even own it. I just haven’t read it.
- Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton. A hundred people have told me to read this. That means I probably never will.
- Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut has never sparked my curiosity, but I have no good reason why.
- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace. I’m actually planning on reading this after I finish all of In Search of Lost Time, so, three summers from now.
- Harry Potter. I know. This is a “statute of limitations” one. Just not interested.
How about you? Any books you “should” have read but probably won’t?