What I Read This Year

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What a busy year! Lots of big changes and growth for my educational charity, Writing Through. After too long, my new novel which finishes off my Cambodian Trilogy, is completed and sitting patiently among friends in my publisher’s queue. I’ve traveled back and forth to Cambodia twice, once to Singapore, once to California, lots of times to New York (no times to London yet, alas), and still managed to feel more and more settled in our island home. I’ve spent more time railing against political injustices than I can ever remember. And I’ve written less frequently on this blog than ever since I started it nearly ten years ago – mea culpa. But within all this, I’ve continued to read and read and read.

This annual blog post is one of my favorites. I love to look back and see what I’ve read. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern except that I seek out prose which I think can teach me something, not only stylistically but culturally, too. I made sure I filled in the blanks of reading some authors who I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to (too embarrassing to say who they were). I’m continuing to try hard to read more by non-Western writers, and this year, I especially tried to move into different genres. Sometimes that meant developing a rather dystopic view of the world – especially after reading the brilliant Chinese science fiction trilogy, The Three Body Problem. Once or twice I reread books from my youth to discover I liked them less, or more happily, I liked them even more.

So here is my list for 2017, without specific comment or reviews (once again, although I read poetry all the time, this list includes prose only). Maybe it will pique your curiosity to add some of these to your own 2018 list.

  1. Me and the Bomb, Debi Alper
  2. Ramayana, a new translation by Linda Egenes and Kumada Reddy
  3. Manhattan Transfer, by John Dos Passos
  4. The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
  5. The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu
  6. Death’s End, by Cixin Liu
  7. We Chose to Speak of War and Strife, by John Simpson
  8. Find Me Unafraid, by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner
  9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
  10. The Discount Hero, by Mario Vargas Llosa
  11. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
  12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
  13. To The New Owners, by Madeline Blais
  14. Tender Is The Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  15. Casanova: A Study in Self-Portraiture, by Stefan Zweig
  16. This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Dias
  17. The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami

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