Following my practice last year, I have listed my “novel” reading for 2015. This is a way of documenting what I get through in a year’s worth of reading on the commute to work, in the evenings after work, and while travelling on those airplane journeys from/to Sydney outside of my “normal” academic reading.
My use of the term “novel” reading is loosely adopted, as you will see from the list. The year started in the Blue Mountains with my reading of Greg Grandin’s book on Henry Ford’s imperial adventure in Brazil to construct Fordlândia—or Fordville—an outstanding piece of historical research. It was followed by a reading of The Qu’ran. The former is clearly not a work of fiction. I will let readers of this blog post decide on the fictional status of the latter.
The remainder of the year witnessed me weave in and out of reading books directly from the literature shelf as well as some wider reading on landscape writing; university restructuring; the political economy of the drugs war in Mexico and Latin America; and architecture. I feel more reading was completed this year compared to last; a result perhaps of not having an equivalent like Thomas Piketty to preoccupy me in the evenings.
It was around September and October—with the uptick in teaching and administrative pressures—that the reading began to slow and my ambitions waned. Come November and December a burst of energy returned, especially after the completion of teaching, and there was a bit of a spurt to re-read some Cormac McCarthy, among other things.
Let’s see what 2016 has in store! I would like to tackle James Ellroy’s “Underworld” trilogy and more Roberto Bolaño. I have read his The Savage Detectives [Los detectives salvajes] and would like to read 2666 but feel I need to re-read the former to get the best out of the latter; a serious undertaking. There is also a new Cormac McCarthy novel planned for publication in 2016. Anyway, here is the list for 2015 in the order the books have been read:
- Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Picador, 2010).
- The Qur’an, trans. Tarif Khalidi (Penguin, 2009).
- Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited: A Novel in Dramatic Form (Picador, 2006).
- Cormac McCarthy, The Gardener’s Son (Picador, 1996).
- Victor Serge, Conquered City, trans. Richard Greeman (New York Review of Books, 2011) [a re-read].
- Roberto Bolaño, Amulet [Amuleto, 1999] (Picador, 2009).
- Cormac McCarthy, The Orchard Keeper (Vintage, 1965).
- Cormac McCarthy, Outer Dark (Picador, 1968).
- Victor Serge, The Case of Comrade Tulayev (New York Review of Books, 2004) [a re-read].
- Sarah Hall, The Wolf Border (Faber and Faber, 2015).
- Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude [El laberinto de la soledad, 1950] (Penguin Books, 1990) [a re-read].
- Carlos Fuentes, The Death of Artemio Cruz [La muerte de Artemio Cruz, 1962] (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991) [a re-read].
- Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks (Hamish Hamilton, 2015).
- Ian Angus, Love the Questions: University Education and Enlightenment (Arbeiter Ring, 2009).
- Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog (Random House, 2005).
- Don Winslow, The Cartel (Random House, 2015).
- Dawn Paley, Drug War Capitalism (AK Press, 2014).
- Jon Stack and Adam Shapiro, La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico (Verso, 2015).
- E. L. Doctorow, Welcome to Hard Times (Random House, 1960).
- Owen Hatherley, Militant Modernism (Zer0 Books, 2008).
- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West (Picador, 1985) [a re-read].
- Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (Picador, 2005).
- John Sepich, Notes on Blood Meridian (University of Texas Press, 2008).
- Henri Lefebvre, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, edited by Łukasz Stanek (University of Minnesota Press, 2014).