What I’ ve been reading

I’ve been on a roll with my last few books:

1. Denis Johnson, The Laughing Monsters.  This one doesn’t seem like it is trying very hard, and yet I like it more than the author’s other books, perhaps for that reason.  It’s about two (ostensible) buddies, set in Africa, then all kinds of secrets unfold.  There is a NYT review here.

2. Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel.  A missionary visits space aliens, some of whom embrace the Bible eagerly, almost too eagerly.  Meanwhile he and his wife on earth write letters back and forth, showing they are the true aliens to each other.  This is the fiction book this year I enjoyed most, and one I kept on wanting to pick up after I had put it down.  Here is a useful NYT review, describing the book as “defiantly unclassifiable.”

3. Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life.  The fact that so many pages still feel so non-comprehensive is a testament to the life being covered here, and to the richness of its historical period.  Still, this is fresh and easy to read throughout, recommended.


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