John Pistelli

writer

My Year in Books, 2018

Looking back, I see that I did a lot of rereading in 2018. Some of it was out of necessity (teaching), and some for pleasure. Some of it showed up … Continue reading

31 December 2018 · Leave a comment

William Giraldi, American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring

American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring by William Giraldi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Though better known as the novelist who wrote the now-Netflixed Hold the Dark, William … Continue reading

20 December 2018 · 3 Comments

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life by Theodor W. Adorno My rating: 5 of 5 stars It helps to know that this 1951 book, an unclassifiable philosophical masterpiece consisting … Continue reading

28 November 2018 · 3 Comments

Wesley Yang, The Souls of Yellow Folk

The Souls of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang My rating: 4 of 5 stars It was once a pop-socio-psychological commonplace of American foreign-policy commentary that terrorism on behalf of political … Continue reading

16 November 2018 · 1 Comment

Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag My rating: 3 of 5 stars Susan Sontag’s oeuvre is a long palinode. Identified for years with the positions she took, or … Continue reading

17 October 2018 · 1 Comment

Samuel Johnson, Selected Essays

Selected Essays by Samuel Johnson My rating: 4 of 5 stars This Penguin Classics collection of essays by the great English critic and moralist Samuel Johnson is devoted largely to … Continue reading

6 October 2018 · 2 Comments

Nicholas Mirzoeff, How to See the World

How to See the World: An Introduction to Images, from Self-Portraits to Selfies, Maps to Movies, and More by Nicholas Mirzoeff My rating: 3 of 5 stars Mirzoeff self-consciously updates … Continue reading

3 September 2018 · Leave a comment

Against Celebration: Bloomsday vs. Dallowayday

Two years ago, Elaine Showalter suggested that we balance Bloomsday (June 16, the day whereon Joyce’s Ulysses is set) with Dallowayday: Like Joyce’s Ulysses, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is set … Continue reading

16 June 2018 · 1 Comment

Albert Murray, The Hero and the Blues

The Hero And the Blues by Albert Murray My rating: 5 of 5 stars Albert Murray is, as the fashion journalists say, having a moment. His collected non-fiction and fiction/poetry … Continue reading

19 May 2018 · 1 Comment

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson My rating: 2 of 5 stars This theory-inflected memoir of “(queer) family making,” to quote the jacket copy, so assiduously defends itself that there is … Continue reading

17 April 2018 · 1 Comment