Sunday, October 1, 2023

Books I Read in September 2023

Despite all evidence I hope to wrap up the Greek philosophy project within the next couple of weeks.  A medical deadline approaches.  That will help.

As usual, I read good books.



Letters from a Stoic (c. 60), Seneca - good timing for some Stoicism.



Collected Stories (from roughly 1930 into the 1960s, the second half of the book), Vladimir Nabokov

They Came Like Swallows (1937), William Maxwell

Joseph the Provider (1943), Thomas Mann, concluding a 1,500 page monster.  Evidence of graphomania.

Death of a Salesman (1948), Arthur Miller

The Aleph and Other Stories 1933-1969 (1978), Jorge Luis Borges, arranged and rearranged.  The genial New Yorker memoir that concludes the book is a great pleasure.



The Poems of J. V. Cunningham (1942-82)

Selected Poems (1944-73), Jean Garrigue

A Wall of Two (1947 / 2007), Henia & Ilona Karmel & frankly Fanny Howe too.  Please see Dorian Stuber’s 2021 review of this book and these poems, many of them literally written in the camps.  The story of how the poems, and the poets, survived is itself worth knowing.

The Kid (1947) &

Skylight One (1949), Conrad Aiken

Pisan Cantos (1948), Ezra Pound.  High level Modernist kitsch, I fear, including both Aiken and Pound.



The Situation and the Story (2001), Vivian Gornick, generous insights into essays and memoirs, more relevant to our moment than to hers, even.



Selected Writings (1913-48), Antonin Artaud, the 700 page Sontag selection, time well spent with an alien sensibility.



Journal, 1933-1939, André Gide

Notre-dame des fleurs (1944), Jean Genet, real French prison literature (although I read the less obscene 1951 revision) that with its rich French vocabulary that included but went well beyond slang was on the edge of my reading level.  It was so hard.  Between Genet and Artaud, it was French Weirdo Month for me.  That should be a regular event.


  1. The granddaddy of self-help. How to deal with illness, with aging, with finances, with loud noises.

    The Romans had a taste for self-help. Seneca's book fits alongside Ovid's books on how to put on makeup and how to score with chicks.

    Maybe related to the Roman taste for satire.

  2. I really liked the Seneca. I'm glad to have read it, and will reread sometime.

  3. I hope the "medical deadline" passes successfully.

  4. Thanks. Yes, Seneca was a pleasure to revisit. Marcus Aurelius did not really work for me for some reason. Something to write about.

    1. Oh yeah, write about Marcus Aurelius (if you're well enough). His book is very popular among self-help readers for some reason, especially men, I think.