Finished reading: 2018, part two

Books I’ve read over the past month or so:

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
An utterly charming novel about a Russian nobleman confined to hotel “house arrest” after the 1917 revolution. His adventures interacting with hotel staff (which he soon becomes) and guests are full of wit and grace and humor. I don’t recall who recommended this one to me but I owe them my thanks.

The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton
A memoir from a liberal writer who covered the 2016 US presidential election. Heartfelt, but not as interesting or memorable as I had hoped it might be.

House of Spies by Daniel Silva
OK, the Gabriel Allon series is getting old. I probably should’ve figured that out seeing as this is book #17 in the series.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
I first became acquainted with Murakami through his Absolutely on Music book that I read a couple months ago. Having discovered he was a novelist I figured it was worth reading one. 1Q84 was just interesting enough to keep me going through its 900 pages. I guess it’s a love story at heart, albeit one with some odd and unexplained sci-fi twists.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
A YA sci-fi novel with strong race / slavery / gender themes. Interesting in that it tried hard to represent a lot of racial and gender diversity. Managed to do it while only a little bit heavy-handed with the message.

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler
Heard about this one on an episode of NPR’s Fresh Air. Fascinating (to me, a bit of a con law nerd) history of how American law has treated corporations with regard to rights and freedoms. Some cases, it seems, have had unintended consequences as the years went by; Ralph Nader’s efforts to win corporate speech rights back in the 1970’s seemed meant to benefit ordinary people by freeing up information that the government had restricted. Those same rights were used as the basis 30 years later for deciding in Citizens United that corporations could dump unlimited money into political campaigns.

Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally
The author of the novel Schindler’s List takes on the Catholic church abuse scandal. Pleasant yet forgettable prose.

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
Realized I didn’t know much about Malcolm X, and this particular biography was recommended by Ta-Nehisi Coates somewhere. A very readable picture of a fascinating man.

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