Books of 2018

Here is a ranked list of the books which I finished reading in 2018:

  1. Loitering with Intent, Muriel Spark
  2. Master and Commander, Patrick O’Brien
  3. Moons of Jupiter, Alice Munro
  4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
  5. Outside Stories, Eliot Weinberger
  6. Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman #1), Neil Gaiman
  7. Works on Paper, Eliot Weinberger
  8. Post Captain, Patrick O’Brien
  9. Empires of the Word, Nicholas Oster
  10. At the Existentialist Café, Sarah Bakewell
  11. HMS Surprise, Patrick O’Brien
  12. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest hemingway
  13. Capitalist Realism, Mark Fisher
  14. Fixed Ideas, Joan Didion
  15. The Man in the Brown Suit, Agatha Christie
  16. Fables, Vol. 1, Bill Willingham
  17. The Mauritius Command, Patrick O’Brien
  18. The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin
  19. Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore
  20. Desolation Island, Patrick O’Brien
  21. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie
  22. The Surgeon’s Mate, Patrick O’Brien
  23. The Chapo Guide to Revolution
  24. The Doll’s House (Sandman #2), Neil Gaiman
  25. The Fortune of War, Patrick O’Brien
  26. The Art of Smart Football, Chris Brown
  27. The Essential Smart Football, Chris Brown
  28. Big Game, Mark Leibovich
  29. The Secret of Chimneys, Agatha Christie
  30. The Murder on the Links, Agatha Christie
  31. The Secret Adversary, Agatha Christie
  32. It Crawled from the South, Marcus Gray
  33. The Big Four, Agatha Christie
  34. Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff

Currently reading, ranked in order of how close I am to finishing:

  1. The Ionian Mission, Patrick O’Brien
  2. The Power Broker, Robert Moses
  3. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  4. A World to Win: The Life and Work of Karl Marx, Sven-Eric Liedman
  5. Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon
  6. The Fourth World Omnibus, Jack Kirby

Books of 2017

Here is a ranked list of the books which I finished reading in 2017:

  1. An Elemental Thing – Eliot Weinberger
  2. Love in a Fallen City – Eileen Chang
  3. True Grit – Charles Portis
  4. South and West – Joan Didion
  5. Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei – Eliot Weinberger
  6. Welcome to the Monkey House – Kurt Vonnegut
  7. The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  8. Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
  9. The Selected Poems of T’ao Chien
  10. The Conquest of America – Tzvetan Todorov
  11. The Death and Life of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs
  12. The Ghosts of Birds – Eliot Weinberger
  13. October – China Miéville
  14. Grand Hotel Abyss – Stuart Jeffries
  15. Draft No. 4 – John McPhee
  16. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – Mary Beard
  17. The Writing Life – Annie Dillard
  18. The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History – Frank Dikötter
  19. Poems – Wang Wei
  20. The Earth is Weeping – Peter Cozzens
  21. The First Salute – Barbara Tuchman
  22. Against Everything – Mark Greif
  23. Once Upon a Time in China – Jeff Yang
  24. Autobiography of Red – Anne Carson
  25. A Memoir – Chang Cheh
  26. Wong Kar-wai – Peter Brunette
  27. The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper

I’m starting a new thing as well this year. For awhile I’ve been writing down lines from movies in the Notes app on my phone. Sometimes they end up in reviews, or as standalone letterboxd blurbs, and sometimes they don’t. I’m going to keep one for every year, and publish it at the end, without context. Here is this year’s, which began only in June.

A cat is never on the side of power.

15 years later, some wolves still survive.

Oh Doris, you think everything is treason.

Let’s keep praying

Stop being negative. It’s all in your head. Think of something more cheerful. Can’t you be normal?

Folks like us don’t have a clue.

Don’t go to weird places.
What’s that supposed to mean?

You need tissues for your issues.

Killing Japanese takes energy. Have some congee.

All you people are good for is poetry and stealing.

See you after the victory.

Things in this world can’t stand scrutiny.

Isn’t working to survive a drag?

Nothing is fun. You just work and die. That’s your life.

       Aphrodisiac flour made from the tears of a hundred year old pig forced into heat.

Film pickled in sea snake soup.

If a grinning toothless goat is what you want, you can find one anywhere.

White-brow monk is a turtle son of a bitch.

Nice guys, but . . . poorer.

One of the main things we began to discover was that our theoretical calculations did not have a strong correlation with reality.

Renoir!

Awful disappointing weather today.

If I was bored I’d go out and buy something, like cheese, or quails’ eggs.

No Christine, that’s a frog. Bears wear hats.

The idlers want to shudder at the thought of dangerous work.

Parasites are another excuse

This was a Dracula indeed

Find the true meaning of Christmas! Money! Money! Money!

It’s the spirit of the actors that counts. The interest they have in their director.

As last by as the sun and the earth exist, we can always survive.
You are amazing.
We all are.

There are gatherings and separations in life. Don’t feel sad for temporary partings, because the final victory is coming.

And here are the photos of text I took throughout the year.

Books of 2016

2016 was the first time since I started writing about movies on the internet that I averaged less than one film watched per day, with somewhere around 320 movies seen over the course of the year. Some of that is schedule-related: my kids are at such an age that watching a single movie in one sitting is difficult, let alone the two or three per day I could squeeze in when they were less ambulatory. But some of that is also a shifting of priorities: I read (and finished) more books this year than I had in all my five plus years of parenthood put together. And since this is the end of the year, and since I love to make lists, here is a ranked list of all the books I read (and finished) in 2016:

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1. Where I Was From – Joan Didion

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2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion

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3. A Death in the Family – James Agee

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4. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

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5. Annals of the Former World – John McPhee

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6. The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

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7. The Proud Tower – Barbara Tuchman

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8. Harmonium – Wallace Stevens

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9. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

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10. Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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11. The White Album – Joan Didion

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12. White Teeth – Zadie Smith

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13. The Souls of Black Folk – WEB DuBois

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14. Eminent Victorians – Lytton Strachey

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15. A Collection of Essays – George Orwell

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16. Meditations in an Emergency – Frank O’Hara

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17. Lady Susan – Jane Austen

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18. Salvador – Joan Didion

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19. Justine – Lawrence Durrell

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20. Violet Energy Ingots – Hoa Nguyen

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21. Kora in Hell : Improvisations – William Carlos Williams

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22. 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed – Eric Cline

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23. Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman

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24. The Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan

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25. A Galaxy Not So Far Away – Glenn Kenny, et al