December 2023 Dispatch

Melissa Morano Aurigemma
3 min readJan 2, 2024


2024 has arrived. But, before I pick up another book, let me divulge what I ended 2023 reading…

The Wall — M. Haushofer

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book. Recently translated/re-released in English (female Austrian author) this book from the ’70s literally blew my mind. One of those books you staying late reading and then, once done, you stare up at the ceiling for at least another hour, blinking. Apparently there is a movie — which I may watch, based on the book. But, I think if you get a chance to read this book, go forth and do so.

Don’t Call Me Home — A. Auder

A very brave and witty and relatable memoir. The Chelsea Hotel — a predominant/recurring setting — has many stories, but I think none quite like this. As a resident of Chelsea since 2016 (2017? I forget) I really appreciated this perspective, but I think I appreciated it more for the honesty of recollection — not always shared by child/parent.

The Golem of Brooklyn — A. Mansbach

There is so much to say about this book, but I will keep it brief. A) genius. B) everyone (EVERYONE) should read it. C) timely (always!!). A book the world needs. Adam Mansbach can make a reader laugh, cackle, also cry profusely — he deserves all the praise for this book. Read it!

The Door — M. Szabó

Wow. Such an intense, bizarre relationship unfolds in this book. Beautiful. We all probably know someone with traits like Emerence. And we know someone disengaged in everything beyond the most local localized locality (redundant, I know). Themes of being of service, what we owe our neighbors, what we owe ourselves. Was not expecting how this culminated.

The Nursery — S. Molnar

The Wall, The Door, The Nursery — I swear this wasn’t purposeful. Full disclsoure, before I comment on this one, I am not myself a mother. Still, this book gave me so much to think about and I felt it (along with books like Nightbitch) provide a much needed dose of reality about the grueling, harrowing, confusing, sensitive nature of mothering. Graphic yes, necessary also yes.

1000 Coils of Fear — O. Wenzel

Ok technically I finished this Jan 1, but I include it here because I feel like it hasn’t had as much visibility in the US market as is warranted. Stylistic points deserved. Engaging and for me there were relatable elements regarding loss and grief.

Other reads:

  • Must I Go — Yiyun Li: honestly, I would recommend, however perhaps not my absolute favorite Yiyun Li read (I tore through The Book of Goose in less than 24 hours, this took me about a week off/on reading, for reference). Still! I think so cleverly done — a woman edits/adds to a diary of a past (male) lover. What do men include in their own personally penned narratives vs women? Something we should be always asking ourselves as we read history/historical narratives.
  • The Shapeless Unease, A Year of Not Sleeping — S. Harvey: so thoughtful, post-Brexit narrative on existence. I was so impressed by the global relevance while being such a personal topic. Micro meets macro.



Melissa Morano Aurigemma

Philosopher, artist, poet, etc, etc by night and by day Chief of Staff at Exceptional Capital