What did your reading look like this year? By all means share your own list, and perhaps a memory associated with each, here or on your own blog.
1. Night by Elie Wiesel. Started the year in Sisters, Oregon at Caldera reading it. I was NOT ready for that book and had to take breaks. Devastating.
2. Spent nights by a wood stove with Frida Kahlo: The Paintings by Hayden Herrera.
3. Ended January talking story, reading The Woman Warrior by Maxine
4. Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling by Bret Hart was my flight companion to and from Portland. Also, I swear Bret looked on somewhat unimpressed from the cover as I worked out in my A-frame.
5. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Damn what eloquence and cohesion of thought, brilliantly expressed. Passed it to my roomie in Nebraska City who loved it too.
6. Ex-lover lent me a copy of Watch My Back by Geoff Thompson. Something stuck with me long enough to inspire a few lines of a short story.
7. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. Umph! This one. Dennis raved about it. Saw it at The Strand and scooped it up. Such beautiful, insightful prose.
8. Read parts of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of The Day to Ex-lover on the train because I’d found something possibly more British than him.
9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Still not sure if this was a hate read? Compelled to finish but disliked execution of plot so much.
10. All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color. Full disclosure, I have a story in it, but loved Patricia Engel’s, ZZ Packer’s stories, among others.
11. The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticatt. Thanks to Angie’s suggestion, read this at the height of this year’s DR/Haiti immigration fuckery. Apropos.
12. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. How I realized I love an “unlikeable” female protagonist.
13. Two or Three Things I Know For Sure by Dorothy Allison. Nighttime bed reading at Hedgebrook.
14. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. Will be eternally grateful to Adrienne who went to the shelf, plucked this out, and put it in my hands at Hedgebrook. Shifting.
15. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. I loved and laughed and was so moved by those kids’ misadventures.
16. Animal Crackers by Hannah Tinti. I couldn’t even read this as a writer to study craft because it was so good and strange and skillful I just abandoned myself to it.
17. The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. So rich. I stayed up until 4am to finish it the morning I was leaving Hedgebrook at 8am. That wonderful.
18. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I was in it for the first 100 pages. Then I read 100 pages too much waiting for it not to be terrible. Then I quit. If anyone ever puts out a draft of my work, as this obviously was, I will find you.
19. Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. Got the feels on the 2 train at a particular page and had to casually wipe a tear. I was like damn you, Daniel. Damn you.
20. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Found one night on a Brooklyn stoop by divine providence. 100 pages to go. So much yes. Like who doesn’t wanna grow up and write with this much depth and humor and care and intelligence?