January Reading Log

Read in January:

  • Free Food for Millionaires (Min Jin Lee)
  • Samurai and Ninja: The Real Story Behind the Japanese Warrior Myth that Shatters the Bushido Mystique (Antony Cummins)
  • Sarmada (Fadi Azzam)
  • The Portable Veblen (Elizabeth Mckenzie)
  • The Unquiet Dead (Ausma Zehanat Khan)
  • Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (Kim Addonizio)
  • Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed (Laura Heyenga (ed.))

The fiction this month didn’t do a lot to impress me (Free Food For Millionaires is very good but stumbles in the home stretch), but both Ordinary Genius and Art Made From Books are wonderful. I have a separate post coming on Ordinary Genius; short version, it’s about writing poetry but is extremely applicable to writing anything.

Art Made From Books is from a museum gift shop, and more of a photo collection of, well, art made from books than an in-depth analysis of same, but it got me thinking a lot about the form and function of books beyond the story on the pages. I might go visit some library sales and used bookstores in search of some books that are no longer useful as texts (out-of-date reference books, etc) and see about making some art from them myself. I’ve been feeling a strong urge to make visual art lately, and indulging that is always good for my brain to cross-pollinate creative energy.

Currently reading:

  • Family Lexicon (Natalia Ginzburg)
  • Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Sven Beckert)
  • How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (Bart. D. Ehrman)

I’m not sure if I’ll finish Empire of Cotton; it’s very good, but very dense, and the analysis of cotton as where both war capitalism and industrial capitalism flourished is a bit hard to work through right now, with the world being as it is. Still, I may surprise myself.

How Jesus Became God is gym reading that might vault out of that category into must-finish reading, because it’s such an interesting topic.