April 2024

Boccaccio, The Decameron
This will take a considerable amount of time to read, obviously, but I will look to read a few stories a day until it's done.

Illness Narratives
Frigyes Karinthy, A Journey Round My Skull
Karinthy was a major figure in Hungarian letters from an early age, coming to prominence in his 20s. In his mid-40s he suddenly began experiencing strange auditory hallucinations that were the first signs of a brain tumour. This book recounts his experiences from his hearing of "invisible trains" to the diagnosis and treatment (brain surgery) of his condition. What distinguishes this book is the sheer quality of the writing, it's magnificent, and the strange nature of its content. Highly recommended.
Cory Taylor, Dying: A Memoir
A disappointing memoir that focuses less on the author's terminal illness (melanoma) than on contemplation of mortality. If the rapid approach of one's death is a potential source of insight/wisdom into the human condition, none of that was evident in this rather flat account. Not recommended.

J.T. Smith, Nollekens and his Times
A notoriously bitter biography of the sculptor, Joseph Nollekens, one of the greatest artists of eighteenth-century England. Full of amusing anecdotes of Samuel Johnson, Fuseli, etc.

Short Stories
Guy de Maupassant
After Death (La Confession)
The heirs of a man praised for his honesty at his funeral open his will and find a confession of a crime he committed: the killing of his infant son. Beautifully told.