Begun and abandoned: Brick Lane, adult fiction by Monica Ali, and another whose name I forget, both for gratuitous death of beloved child, once at the one-third mark, once on page four.
Why We Broke Up, young-adult fiction by Daniel Handler. In which the smart kids quote old movies and the football player has never met a smart girl before. She's, like, interested in stuff. It's readable, in its way, but it's so, so old.
Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, nonfiction for adults by Karen Maezen Miller. She makes a style and a voice out of the insistence that her experience is universal; she's wrong in ways both trivial and fundamental, and she doesn't seem to care.
Lost Memory of Skin, adult fiction by Russell Banks. The Stephen King gold star for characters who live and breathe; if there's a meaning here, I'm not sure I like it, but I'm also not sure I need one.
The Tightrope Walkers, marketed as young-adult fiction, by David Almond, but there is absolutely nothing that constitutes this text as appropriate for young adults, either in content or in perspective, excepting possibly the inexplicably happy ending. As a novel, in its own right, it's not half bad.
My Struggle, adult fiction by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Don Bartlett, and it was one. (He puts the water in the pot. Then he turns on the stove. Then, when the water boils, he puts the rice in. And so on.)
The Clothes They Stood Up In, adult fiction by Alan Bennett, library selected for small size. Too sad to be funny, for me, anyway.
Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, by Steven Millhauser. The first 90% was for me pleasant and enjoyable and also encouraging, in its endorsement of the way I would like to write stories, the validity of that mode of prose. In the last 10% he rises off that path into the pure dark magic of Little Kingdoms, and I stop taking notes and just read.
Sacred Hunger, adult fiction by Barry Unsworth, reread.
Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, from the La Leche League. Extraordinarily useful, partly for specific strategies but mostly for mindset and attitude support.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, by Elizabeth Pantley. Somewhat less useful, but charming and reassuring and warm, worth reading if only for nudges-and-tips approach.
Parable of the Sower, adult fiction by Octavia Butler.
Voices in the Night, short stories for adults by Steven Millhauser, gift from Catharine. The first and second stories are marvelous; but in collection, their formula becomes apparent, and then tedious, and then ridiculous. The last story breaks from it and is worth reading.
Tell, adult fiction by Frances Itani, who doesn't even bother to plug in the variables.
The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves, adult nonfiction by Siri Hustvedt, but I kind of wish I hadn't, because we're reading her novel, and it's good, and this is the sort of annoying term paper that diminishes the text it's meant to deconstruct.
Completed, short story Jacqueline, and short story Life's Work, and miscellany.
We Are Not Ourselves, adult fiction by Matthew Thomas. Ten out of ten for enjoyable noveliness but the plot comes at the expense of the characters. If a woman had written it, we'd call it chick lit, not the Next American Novel. (*)
My Brilliant Friend, adult fiction by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein. Accurately titled per membership in the Separate Peace/ Deliverance/ Fight Club/ Gatsby family.
A Visit from the Goon Squad, adult fiction by Jennifer Egan, reread.
Begun but then set aside as ill-suited for current reading conditions, The Salt Eaters, adult fiction by Toni Cade Bambara.
How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, adult fiction by Charles Yu. Mostly wonderful, twenty to forty percent doing too much.
Tiny Beautiful Things, adult memoir in the form of advice column by Cheryl Strayed, if she's your thing.