What I’ve Been Reading

Every day:  the New York Times and Los Angeles Times

Book I just finished and loved:  Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.  It covers just a few years, focusing on Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with Henry VIII, who is trying hard to get rid of Catherine of Aragon, marry Anne Boleyn and make England Protestant.  So well written.  I will soon begin the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.

Recently finished:  Arguably, by Christopher Hitchens.  A collection of this contrarian’s essays, covering every imaginable topic from light to heavy.  The breadth and depth of his knowledge were extraordinary; I cannot think of another writer as brilliant, not in our times at least.  You might not agree with every position he takes, but you can’t deny his genius.  A real loss when he died last December at only 62.  He has another book that just came out, Mortality, chronicling his dealing with esophageal cancer and impending death.  Not cheerful, but as ever, brilliantly written.

Currently reading on my iPad:  Again—Ulysses, by James Joyce.  I read this when I wake up in the middle of the night.  I read it in college and dipped into it again quite a few years ago.  It’s slow going because Joyce’s language is so dense and is usually stream of consciousness, but the book is so entertaining that I keep going.  I figure I’ll finish it in about 2018.

What are you reading?

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