I didn't fulfill my 2016 vow, to finish those two doorstops, War and Peace and The Power Broker by year's end, but I didn't make it.
I managed War and Peace (thank you very much), which made me proud, and made seeing the wonderful Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet so much more enjoyable (and comprehensible).
But the 1200 densely-packed pages (really, that book has to break a record for words-per-page) of The Power Broker are taking longer than any book I've ever read. In my life. Ever. Since it is so complicated--the deal-making and all the many characters and the complexity of New York's politics and finances--I can't read at my usual rapid pace. It's necessary to go slowly and really concentrate--two things I'm not all that good at.
Not that it isn't interesting. I enjoy New York history, and this book is packed full of it. It's also interesting reading about this complex man, so brilliant and so arrogant. His life, so far (I'm on page 724) was an arc from powerless, idealistic failure to incredibly powerful, arrogant, tyrant. And his influence on New York was assuredly greater than anyone else's, ever.
So I will finish it, probably not today or tomorrow, but in the next few days.
In the meantime, below is my list for 2016. There were a few I loved (Brooklyn, Americanah, The Night Watch) and plenty I liked but, it seems, more disappointments than usual.
Doesn't matter...on to next year...and to finishing the story of the modern Moses and a year of great reading!
1. A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
2. To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie
3. The Apartment by Greg Baxter
4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
5. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
6. Plays: The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
7. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh
8. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
9. Between You and Me: Memoirs of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
11. The Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
12. The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
13. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
14. Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim
15. Speedboat by Renata Adler
16. Hamilton, the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
17. Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale
18. Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs
19. Cocaine Blues (A Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery) by Kerry Greenwood
20. Flying Too High (A Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery) by Kerry Greenwood
21. Murder on the Ballarat Train (A Phryne Fisher Murder Mysery) by Kerry Greenwood
22. Act One by Moss Hart
23. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith
24. Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
25. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
26. Siracusa by Delia Ephron
27. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
28. The Girls by Emma Cline
29. Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp
30. The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale
31. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
32. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
33. Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffen
34. Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
35. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
36. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
37. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
38. On Writing by Stephen King
39. Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story by George Eliot
40. Shipwreck by Louis Begley
41. In the Woods by Tana French
42. The first 700 pages of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro