Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

The Reading List 2023, Part II

Well, somehow nearly three months have gone by since my last post. As usual, I didn’t intend this. As usual, I will promise to post more frequently. Also as usual, I can’t guarantee I will follow through on that promise.

On one level, I felt like I didn’t read as much in July, August and September as I had earlier in the year (more on that after the list), but as I look at this list, it’s not insubstantial, and there are some BIG books here. For once, there are no re-reads on this list! Without further ado, here’s my reading list for the second quarter of 2023:

Poverty, by America, Matthew Desmond (2023). Highly readable and thought-provoking treatment of this critical issue.

The Lioness, Chris Bohjalian (2022). A little surprised by the violence, but thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a honeymoon safari gone terribly wrong.

Falling, T.J. Newman (2021). Brisk thriller that was one of the first books I saw getting endlessly hyped when I first joined Xitter.

No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy (2005). Blazed through this in less than a day, it was that good. I also watched the Coen Brothers’ 2007 film adaptation, which was excellent.

Metropolis, B.A. Shapiro (2022). Six people connected through a storage warehouse, where some of them live due to hardships, economic and otherwise. Good, not great.

Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen (2021). I have now read four Franzen novels and I have yet to meet a main character of his that I like.

The Winners, Fredrik Backman (2021). A sprawling, deep look at rival, hockey-mad towns on Sweden’s northern frontier, the sequel to Beartown, which was a very good mini-series on Netflix. Could have used some pruning.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr (2021). I hesitated on this because the description of the settings–ancient Constantinople, current and recent past, Idaho, and a future spaceship millions of miles from earth–put me off a little, but this was a lovely book, a story about stories, and beautifully written.

All the Sinners Bleed, S.A. Cosby (2023). Gritty tale of a Black sheriff in rural Virginia dealing with a serial killer, religious zealots, and racists.

The Devil Takes You Home, Gabino Iglesias (2022). Holy shit. Interesting that I read this back-to-back with All the Sinners Bleed, as there are similarities. I expected another gritty crime novel; I got that, and much more. I’d say the best book I’ve read this year so far.

Ten books in three months, though three of them were 500+ pages, so not bad. As for the reason I didn’t read as many novels, well, I also read indictments and court motions and filings. Indictments in the Mar-A-Lago documents case; indictments in the Fulton County RICO case. Rulings against Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and January 6th insurrectionists. I know I’m probably not supposed to talk politics here, it will turn people off, but these are extremely important things to read, and I urge you to do so, if you haven’t already.

Soapbox off. Have you read any of these? What did you think? What’s been your favorite book you’ve read so far this year?

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