Just as there are drinking games, there can also be reading games. Such is my annual Januarius tradition, which I’ve been doing for more than fifteen years now. I merely wedded the name of Janus, the two-faced god of new beginnings, withthe month of January: During that month, I only read books by authors whom I have never before read.
So far this month, I have completed:
- Helgi Olafsson’s Bobby Fischer Comes Home: The Final Years in Iceland, a Saga of Friendship and Lost Illusions
- Zachary Karabell’s Peace Be Upon You: A Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence
- Leonid Tsypkin’s Summer in Baden-Baden
- Stan Jones’s Shaman Pass
- Pierre Boulle’s The Face of a Hero
… and the month is not yet half over. I am looking forward to reading works by Sjón (the Icelandic novelist), Yashar Kemal, and Thomas Flanagan—among others.
So far, Leonid Tsypkin is my favorite of the five, with the author’s insight into the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and his wife Anna Grigori’evna, though all were pretty good.