The Nix

Author: Nathan Hill Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2016 I read it: April 2017 At one point in The Nix, in a passage where the protagonist is living his internal monologue through the lens of a Choose Your Own Adventure story, he is asked what his great novel is going to be about. He responds, “I…

Mother Night

Author: Kurt Vonnegut Type: Fiction, novel Published: 1961 I read it: April 2017 Vonnegut’s WWII novel comes with not one but two separate intros by the author himself. He even goes so far as to point out the very morals of the story, such as they are, and to dedicate the book to the protagonist,…

Ill Will

Author: Dan Chaon Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2017 I read it: March 2017 I received an advance reader’s copy of this book as part of a Read It Forward giveaway. Memory. Dream. Trauma. Paranoia. Gullibility. Belief. Doubt. The entire concept of self that gets glued together and then ultimately undone by these things. The sense…

Universal Harvester

Author: John Darnielle Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2017 I read it: March 2017 I remember a small video store in Marshalltown called Tan ‘N Tapes. I remember the carpet and how it seemed to be the source of the peculiar smell. The smell was one of mystery and is forever tied with genres best left…

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Author: Junot Díaz Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2008 I read it: February 2017 Oscar Wao’s family is cursed. Or at least that’s one hypothesis put forward by our nameless narrator (we do figure out who it is by the end). Oscar lives in New Jersey but his mother is from the Dominican Republic, where she…

Sleeping Giants

Author: Sylvain Neuvel Type: Fiction, novel Part of series: Themis Files (#1) Published: 2016 I read it: January 2017 Do judge this book by its cover and its premise. See how pretty that turquoise is? It’s the color emitted by a giant hand that mysteriously unearths itself and sets in motion a chain of events…

Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch Type: Fiction, novel Published: 2016 I read it: January 2017 It’s destined to be a decent movie. This is apparent not only from the writing, but from the author’s background as a screenwriter. Oh, and because in the acknowledgements he mentions working on the movie version. So it’s somewhat forgivable that the…