I haven’t been reading as rapidly as I usually do.
Although I like to pretend my goal is to read one work of nonfiction for every work of fiction, I rarely meet that goal. This year has proven an aberration. To date, I’ve only read or audited 5 works of fiction and 2 of poetry, and I’ve managed 11 works of nonfiction with 2 more in progress. My reading goal for 2018 is 65 books, and as Goodreads is so fond of reminding me, I’m 5 books behind schedule.
Here are my brief thoughts on 2 I’ve recently finished. I already posted on Goodreads, and you can read the synopses there if you’re interested by clicking the titles.
Bring Out the Dog: Stories by Will Mackin
Fiction. I rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.
A good collection of stories about elite American military units in training and in combat in the early 21st century. Mackin does a nice job of conveying the malaise and ennui that seasoned combatants are at risk of experiencing. I was disappointed at a few of the stories’ unsatisfactory endings. It’s possible, of course, that I misinterpreted the book’s main theme, but it seems to me Mackin offers an indictment of endless war and combatants who have no clear sense of their ultimate objective in fighting. If you liked Phil Klay’s Redeployment, you’ll probably like Bring Out the Dog as well.
Nonfiction. I rated it 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.
Warning: The Square and the Tower is doubly dense. Printed on fine, heavy paper, it weighs about as much as a cinderblock. Extremely well-researched, heavily footnoted, and with a separate extensive bibliography for each of the book’s 9 sections, it’s highly informative. Ferguson’s somewhat pessimistic conclusion paints a scary-as-hell portrait of our probable future, but knowing what I know about human nature, I don’t disagree with him. This bad boy took me a month to read, but it was time well spent.
Now I’m going to re-read an old favorite:
When I finish The Waste Lands, I’m going to burn through some more fiction, so I can get caught up. What are y’all reading?