December 2022


So… Books 111 to 116. And an end to 2015.

I’m ending the year (right now) at 116 books, plus a second book that I’ve not finished because, well… this time because it’s terrible.

Tonight I’m going to start reading what’s either book 117 or book 1: The Eternal Zero (Naoki Hyakuta; translated by Chris Brynne and Paul Rubin). The book was just translated into English, but it’s also a movie that I’ve once seen while flying ANA. It’s a movie that I suspect most Americans would abhor, especially since it features a heroic Japanese pilot during World War II.

In the meantime, here are the books that I’ve already finished:

111) Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War (Ron Nixon) – This is an interesting book that examines how the white led South African government did its best to sell apartheid to the world, even going so far as to co-opt African-Americans to lobby the US Government against sanctions. Although fascinating, the book is one of those works that reminds me that humanity is filled with inhuman assholes.

112) Focus on Me (Megan Erickson) – This is a semi-sweet gay romance novel featuring a character with a mental issue. The book worked as mental relief whenever Selling Apartheid got a bit too heavy.

113) Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates) – This is an impressive work that examines what it means to be African-American in America – the binding constraints that come with it.

114) Purity (Johnathan Franzen) – I’d never heard of Johnathan Franzen before he came up in conversation in October – and Purity was proposed to be a book club book. A copy was loaned to me and I tackled it over Christmas. The book is incredibly long, incredibly dense, and incredibly boring – at least for me. I didn’t get some parts of the story and, to be frank, I didn’t care.

115) Pleasured (Philip Hensher) – This is a strange Berlin-centric novel that starts in December 1988 and ends after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Early in the book there’s a rant about how Berlin is being gentrified and that people are being forced out because they can no longer afford to live in the city. Strangely, I’ve heard this rant several times in the last twelve months.

116) Confessions of a D.C. Madam: The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail (Henry W. Vinson) – This is an interesting memoir of Henry Vinson, who was the man behind one of Washington D.C.’s male escort businesses in the 1980s. There are many amusing aspects to his life, the prostitution aspect, and the blackmail. The book is certainly an engaging page-turner, even if I’m not sure I believe everything he says.

And the second unfinished book of the year: Promised to Two Bears (Bear Mountain Book 4) (Kelex) – This is a terrible gay(ish) romance novel that should never have been written.

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