The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Kate Harris and Melissa Yule Atop India’s Nun-Kun Massif

I was a good boy during the month of January: I read all of the books I had planned to read during this year’s Januarius Project and then some. Here is the final list, in the order I read them with a short evaluation for each:

  • George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes. A pleasant surprise. ****
  • Ivy Compton-Burnett, Bullivant and the Lambs. Abandoned. Couldn’t abide it. *
  • Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Öve. Delightful Swedish novel. ****
  • Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution. Scholarly and interesting. ****
  • Trygve Gulbranssen, Beyond Sing the Woods. Interesting Norwegian tale. ****
  • Robert Goolrick, A Reliable Wife. Married life in Wisconsin in the 1800s. ****
  • Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey. Children are not always nice. ****
  • Kate Harris, Lands of Lost Borders: A Silk Road Journey. Great travel book. ****
  • Ragnar Jónasson, Nightblind. Icelandic police procedural. ***
  • Su Tong, Rice. A nasty character in 1930s China. ****
  • E R Eddison, The Worm Ourobouros. A fantasy novel that I abandoned, too wormy. *
  • Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, What Makes You NOT a Buddhist. A great intro. ****
  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers. The 1970s in New York and Italy. *****
  • Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov. Life is tough as the USSR comes unglued. *****
  • Ma Jian, Red Dust. A dissident travels around China in the 1980s. Great. *****

Chinese Dissident Ma Jian

That’s 15 books in all, not including F E Sillanpää’s Meek Heritage, which I finished on the last day of December 2020 ****.

With the exception of the two turkeys I abandoned (by Eddison and Compton-Burnett), I would have to say that this year’s Januarius Project was a smashing success. So successful, in fact, that I am planning a similar project for March, namely: reading only women authors. More about this as the month progresses.