Saturday, December 31, 2016

BARBARIAN DAYS; THE SYMPATHIZER; CITIZEN; A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN

Neglected blog. Summary post for my records.

Books read last summer:



  • The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
  • A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade 
  • a couple of other titles, but I can't remember what


There wasn't a dud in the bunch, but standouts included Citizen; A Manual for Cleaning Women; The Sympathizer and Barbarian Days. 


I read Citizen twice... Rankine's prose-poems form a polemic on being Black in white America... poignant content in a compelling, unusual form.


Barbarian Days, New Yorker writer Finnegan's surf memoir was a quintessential summer read for me, as someone who loves the ocean, traveling and stellar writing.


And The Sympathizer was my favorite book of the year, about a Vietnamese double-agent at the end of the Vietnam War, who has to flee to the States--part spy thriller, part history, part great American immigrant novel, all beautifully written and constructed, and a page turner, to boot.