The Book I Read

Book Eight: Harry Mathews’s Cigarettes

Who gets to keep the record that everyone is so bored making?

||Sue Lyon as Dolores Haze in Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Lolita
Book Seven: Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

However you felt about the film Manhattan, Lolita—and the spectre of Humbert Humbert—helps us figure out the relationship between Woody Allen the Artist, Woody Allen the Character, and Woody Allen the Potential Child Molester.

Book Six: Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

The word “chill” establishes the world of Tartt’s debut novel, a murder mystery that starts with death. But it falls short of describing the reader’s uncanny sense that the book knows something about her that she doesn’t.

||My Bed, Tracey Emin (1998)
Book Five: James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime

James Salter’s depictions of sex as a glorious, writhing inevitability in A Sport and a Pastime divulge certain truths about companionship. Meanwhile, he paints the entire world blue. The fifth in a series of essays on reading as personal…

Book Four: Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

On marriage, the problems with sisterhood, and how the show Girls is an update of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. The fourth in a series of personal essays about reading.

Book Three: Michel Houellebecq’s Platform

Michelle Houellebecq’s Platform might just be the perfect Hobbesian novel—a book that plunges the reader into a moral universe where normal people feel sick, and sick people feel normal. The third in a series of essays on reading as…

Book Two: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca

On Gothic mansions, secrets, death, and exes. The second in a series of personal essays about reading.

Book One: Roberto Bolaño’s Antwerp

On insomnia, the body as murder mystery, and the surreal genre novel Bolaño wrote when only 27 and barely sleeping. The first in a series of personal essays about reading.