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Likely Stories: Reading into 2019

Interesting collection of novels and non-fiction for 2019.

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.

I have quite a few wonderful books awaiting me in 2019, so let’s get started!.  I begin with a novel by Michael Ondaatje, the Booker Prize winner author of The English Patient and long-listed for the 2018 prize for WarlightHe is a marvelously inventive writer and his novels are always difficult to put down.  I also look forward to the 2018 winner, Milkman by Anna Burns.  She also has a novel, No Bones.  This promises to be a wonderful trio to start off the year.

An interesting book I came across is The 100 Best Novels in Translation by Boyd Tonkin, who chaired the judging panel for the Man Booker Prize for the 2006 prize.  This is one of those delightful books for cold evenings in front of a fire.  I think I will read these over the course of the winter.

To continue my study of the Brontës and Jane Austen, I finally got a copy of The Juvenilia of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë.  I have a couple of pamphlets, but this is my fist time with their complete works.  While we are on the track of older novels, a friend recommended The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven.  I loved the film with Humphrey Bogart, and my friend assures me the novel will best the film.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite science writers.  Co-Written with Avis Lang, this title veers a bit off my beaten track of novels, but I have full confidence Neil and Avis will deliver an informative look at The Unspoken Alliance between Astrophysics and the Military to quote the subtitle.  I also must move the last remaining holdover from my 2018 list with Breaking the Spell by Daniel C. Dennett.  I am determined to conquer this “Mount Everest” at last.  Dennett is erudite but not pedantic, and his works are always enjoyable.

I stumbled across an old book—dated 1927—which might turn out to be a real treasure.  The title is The Collected Works of Pierre Louÿs.  I know next to nothing about him or his works, so this should be an adventure on several levels.  So that I do not forget, I have an interesting book on Texas, Heartbreak Times by David Mosley with Poetry by Marlene Tucker.  Who knows?

Fredrik Backman fascinated me with A Man Called Ove, and a couple of others.  His latest is Us Against You.  This Swedish writer has consistently supplied me with peculiar people and wonderful plots.  Colm Tōibín is another writer I have been following for quite a while.  His latest has an intriguing title, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce

What reader can resist books about libraries.  I know I can’t.  The first is Libraries in the Ancient World by Lionel Carsson and Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles.  I guess thes two might be referred to as “feeding the addiction,” but I will happily go there anyway. 

Lastly a book club’ I sometimes attend, brought to my attention, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte.  This one has lots of pictures, diagrams, and all things Jurassic.  I can’t wait!  Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Best wishes!

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!

Life-long voracious reader, Jim McKeown, is an English Instructor at McLennan Community College. His "Likely Stories" book review can be heard every Thursday on KWBU-FM! Reviews include fiction, biographies, poetry and non-fiction. Join us for Likely Stories every Thursday featured during Morning Edition and All Things Considered with encore airings Saturday and Sunday during Weekend Edition.