What I’ve been reading

1. Tom Bissell, Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve.  Fun, engaging, and informative, worthy of the “best of the year non-fiction” list.

2. China Miéville, Embassytown.  The first of his novels that has clicked with me, perhaps because it is the one that comes closest to being a true novel of ideas, Heideggerian ideas in this case.  A new prophecy is needed, and the nature of the new prophecy, like the old, will be shaped by language.  Just accept that upon your first reading you won’t enjoy the first one hundred pages and you should at some point go back and read them again.

3. Yuri Herrara, Signs Preceding the End of the World.  Sometimes considered Mexico’s greatest active writer, this novella draws upon the Juan Rulfo-Dante-Dia de los muertos tradition to create a convincing moral universe in 128 pages.  I find this more vivid and arresting than Cormac McCarthy’s treatment of the other side of the border.

4. The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  This book filled in a number of gaps in my knowledge, plus it is engaging to read.  Overall it confirmed my impression of major advances in the science, but not matched by many medical products for general use.

The other books I read weren’t as good as these.


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