A Year’s Reading

I was lazy in 2015 – only four novels read.

Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway – short fiction is where his strengths are, in my opinion. His style works best in the short form, the starkness and simplicity lending a sense of immediacy and purity to the writing. I’ve been trying to capture these traits in my own short fiction.

Osama by Lavie Tidhar – a weird one. Part detective mystery, part paranormal, part alternate-reality. An interesting read, although I personally felt that the ending lacked the necessary punch.

The Longshot by Katie Kitamura – excellent. A very short book, arguably a novella, written in a very lean manner with a limited cast of characters. The relationship between trainer and fighter is conveyed with subtlety and nuance, and is as much about what isn’t said as what is.

Joe by Larry Brown – earthy, solid writing with engaging characters. This is something close to what I aim for in my own writing. On the strength of this novel, I’ve bought Brown’s Fay as well, which is currently in the to-read pile.

The Longshot and Joe are both examples of what I’m aiming for in my own writing: leanness, with a kind of sturdy, no-frills quality to it, telling stories which focus on normal, humble people facing things bigger than themselves.

Currently reading The Trial by Franz Kafka.