Continent

Author: Jim Crace Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1986 I read it: August 2018 The opening story, “Talking Skull,” handily sets the stage for the primary tension of Jim Crace’s debut novel. A son from a small village is expected to take over his father’s business of raising infertile livestock to sell back to the superstitious…

Lost at Sea

Author: Jon Ronson Type: Non-fiction, essays (anthology) Full title: Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries Published: 2001-2012 (original essays); 2012 (this collection) I read it: July 2018 From the first essay about Insane Clown Posse and their strange religious leanings, Jon Ronson’s collection of essays is highly readable and almost always fascinating. That is,…

Pirate Talk or Mermalade

Author: Teresa Svoboda Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2010 I read it: July 2018 This modern take on Treasure Island reads like a play or even a prose poem—there is no exposition, just dialogue, and while I stumbled multiple times when more than two characters entered a scene, I still applaud the author for the format.…

The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami Translator: Ted Goossen Illustrator: Chip Kidd Type: Fiction, short story Published: 2014 I read it: July 2018 “Why do I act like this, agreeing when I really disagree, letting people force me to do things I don’t want to do?” Murakami’s dreamlike story centers around the protagonist’s willingness to go along into…

Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2005 I read it: July 2018 I was vaguely aware of the speculative element that is ever-so-slowly revealed in Never Let Me Go, but like I’ve mentioned before, anything that takes place at a boarding school already has a tinge of the unreal to it. But sci-fi elements…

Shriek: An Afterword

Author: Jeff VanderMeer Type: Fiction, novel Part of series: Ambergris (#2) Published: 2006 I read it: June 2018 There’s something about the book you read around the time of the summer solstice. Sitting outside in the evening when the birds, beasts, and insects are all lively—the day creatures mingling with the night flyers. I knew…

The Soul of an Octopus

Author: Sy Montgomery Type: Non-fiction, single subject Full title: The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness Published: 2015 I read it: June 2018 I finally read the octopus book. I’ve had this one on my list for a few years, and it stayed in the back of my mind…