Art Garfunkel famously keeps track of the books he has read since 1968. As of writing this, the count is 1327 (he does not add a review). I thought I could do something similar but I am adding short reviews of books as I read them, and I rake my brain over what I read over the last decades. This is, evidently, a work-in-progress: there are 566 reviews so far. Titles marked with a * are particular favorites.

William McIlvanney: Laidlaw *

The original tartan noir, and what a start. Although Sjöwall and Wahlöö had already started the saga of Martin Beck, this must be one of the first crime books where the detection itself is not as important as the societal comments. In this sense, the crime/detective/police procedural of this ilk becomes the contemporary literature, filling out the space left behind by ‘serious writers’. Not that this is not serious, or not ‘high literature’. McIlvanney’s prose is lyrical and gritty and tormented and can stand its ground.