« The Shortest Day | Main | What is Real? »

December 27, 2023


Dear Beth,

I'm glad you enjoyed 'Moby Dick'; I distinctly remember starting it in June 1998, on a slow ferry from Jersey to Southampton, and it consuming my summer. Our only common read this year is 'Tremor' which I enjoyed immensely: Teju has such control of tone and imagery that I will go anywhere he takes me.

Otherwise, reviewing my list, I've had a very satisfying year of reading. The New Testament was my daily read after last year's 'The Odyssey' and gave me a better sense of the book as a whole, rather than in parts as we often encounter it. Chekhov's short stories were the first of his writing I'd encountered directly and were astonishing (better to be late to the party than never arrive!?). 'Being a Human' by Charles Foster was something else; Neil King Jr's 'American Ramble' wise and humane and delightful; Murdoch ludicrous and irresistible, as always; and Armstrong's 'A History of God' thought-provoking and dislocating.

Best wishes for 2024 to you and all your readers.


Bloodchild, Octavia Butler
Sick Souls, Healthy Minds, John Kaag
From the Wall to the Water, William Han
My Border Collie Doesn’t Stretch, Nigel Crompton
The New Testament
Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, Katherine Randell
The Complete Short Novels, Anton Chekhov
Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel
Loud-In-The-Mist, Hope Mirrless
What is This?, Stephen & Martine Batchelor
American Ramble, Neil King Jr.
The Midas Rain, Adam Roberts
Time Surfing, Paul Loomans
Being a Human, Charles Foster
Ellis Island and other Stories, Mark Helprin
Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
The Sacred Journey, Charles Foster
The Snow Goose, Paul Gallic
The Wind and the Rain, Anthony Wilson
Histories, Sam Guglani
The English Understand Wool, Helen DeWitt
When We Cease to Understand the World, Benjamin Labatut
Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, Alan Lightman
Stealing for the Sky, Adam Roberts
A Fairly Honourable Defeat, Iris Murdoch
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, Agatha Christie
What You are Looking for is in the Library, Michiko Aoyama
Carnation Lily Lily Rose, Jane McKie
Scarcity Brain, Michael Easter
A History of God, Karen Armstrong
Teju Cole, Tremor
The Oceans and the Stars, Mark Helprin
Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

Always interesting to see what you are reading... This year's read that I've thought the most about and that has consistently come to mind at odd moments is Ananda Coomaraswamy's "Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art." Current reads: just finished Revelation with a group yesterday, and am reading Shepherd of Hermas with my patristics study group. Planning on finishing up promised blurbs and then reading Liam Guilar's long poems next, and I need to order your new book, as I didn't get all the books on my wish list last year!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.