A Quick Review Of What I Read in 2009

Ok, these aren’t the deepest reviews, I admit, but if you just want an  impression of a particular book from a random stranger, and you appreciate brevity (because you could have Spark Noted it or gone to the Wiki) you came to the right place.

Candide – Voltaire.  Downright disturbing.  The illustrations in the edition I read magnify the creepiness.

The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov.  I think you need to be Russian to understand all the cultural references.  Closest comparison to something else I’ve read is the Gods, the Little Guys and the Police by Roberto Costantini.

The Gods, the Little Guys and the Police – Costantini.  If you like Greek mythology and magical realism and are interested in the period of the dirty wars in Argentina in the mid 70’s and early 80’s, pick up this little masterpiece.

Democracy Matters – Cornell West.  Because democracy matters – or at least it should, especially relevant now as our nation seems as divided as ever.

The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann.  A masterpiece.  I sipped this one sentence by sentence like a fine port wine and it took me about 4 months to complete.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume II, started in 2008, but I can only read one or two stories at a time.   I think I like Doyle’s writing style more than the adventures…or maybe I have ADHD.

The Civil War, A Narrative Red River to Appomattox by Shelby Foote.  I started the third in the series in 2008 and am only on page 390 with 670 to go.  I pick up this book every couple of weeks and try to read ten pages or so, but with all the battle strategy minutia, I tire quickly.  I keep plodding along because Foote occasionally pens a memorable line or sketches a fascinating  psychological profile of one of the principle figures.  It may take me another 2 years to complete the book, or 20.