February 2024 Dispatch

Melissa Morano Aurigemma
3 min readMar 6, 2024


Monthly review of books I read — February 2024 edition.

The Membranes — Chi Ta-Wei

Oh whoa whoa whoa. I enjoy books in translation, I enjoy dystopian novels. This is sort of my idea of a perfect book. Dystopian story but with layers. Levels. Whatever. It is not a lengthy book. READ THIS. Chi Ta-Wei is a pillar of queer Taiwanese authorship, if needed another reason to seek out this book.

Lord Jim at Home — Dinah Brooke

Vile and beautiful simultaneously. Inspired by historical events. If you’re a bit squeamish or cannot handle the potentiality for horror that is humanity, maybe avoid this one. Dinah Brooke has been described as a “forgotten novelist” and when you read this book you wonder how in the world that ever could have been the case.

A Visitation of Spirits — Randall Kenan

Mystical and powerful. I read this book so fast. The writing and storytelling is just phenomenal. Randall Kenan is brilliant. If you are devoted to James Baldwin, add Kenan to your stack.

Self-Portraits — Osamu Dazai

A favorite of mine forever. This collection of short stories mirrors his other work, certain stories mirror one another. Reading Dazai is a bit like picking up a conversation with a friend after time has passed. Genuinely in awe of his work. *TW self-harm for literally every book of his though*

Read Write Own — Chris Dixon

Of course a lot of history around blockchain which I think anyone could benefit from reading. In addition, I appreciated that Dixon doesn’t have big tech on a pedestal. In general (and I agree) a certain amount of innovation within “big tech” is grifted and there is continuous consolidation of the internet in a way that is financially beneficial to few and stifling/disincentivizing for many. I also liked the point that people who were on the internet 30 yrs ago and engineering things (who now have 3 decades of experience, who began with an internet that was more democratized and very different from today) AND viable next-gen talent are perhaps not as interested in helping big tech make more $$$$ for part/all of their career. So I think we will see some “career pedigree” within tech change in some way next 5–10 yrs to reflect this. Valuable read for anyone honestly!

Tell Them of Battles, Kings & Elephants — Mathias Énard

Kind of like a poetic Michelangelo fan-fic. Really enjoyed this and the book took me on a visual and tactile journey. Travel from Florence to Istanbul in a neat 100ish pages. Beautiful and historically intriguing work.

Metropolitan Stories — Christina Coulson

This was my least favorite by a mile. I give the final story 5 stars — what an excellent concept. The rest of the book, maybe 1 star, possibly zero. It was ok but I felt disturbed that there was such a reverence for the art and the institution, completely VOID of any commentary or acknowledgment of spaces like the Met being projects capable only on account of colonialism and discriminatory industry. I’m not saying don’t preserve art, don’t study art, don’t appreciate anything in the Met — but I am saying if we want to wax poetic about the “mysteries of the Met” at a minimum some truth should be revealed about how the Met is even able to be so “magical” in the first place.

Next month: End of January I almost finished reading The Glutton but then left it on one of my bedside tables and flew elsewhere. Returning to that soon and will give more detail because I have thoughts…! Also, for anyone who isn’t aware I am working on a PhD in philosophy and I have a few books I am aiming to get through for that in the short term.

What is everyone else reading..?



Melissa Morano Aurigemma

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