Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy new reading year

I had a good reading year. As ever, it's difficult to choose favorites. I loved Rachel Cusk's trilogy for its approach and voice. I loved Kate Greenstreet's strange "The End of Something." I read some compelling non-fiction, and Alice Munro is the empress of short stories.

On the downside, "Skippy Dies" disappointed me because I felt zero emotional investment. And "The Valley of Dolls" was outright awful and, I guess, dated. I think Mary Gaitskill is a better short story writer than novelist. I read two Patricia Highsmith books and my mother brought me another one at Christmas but I wonder if it's worth it.

A long time ago I quit trying to control the size of my to-read list. It has helped me feel less constrained.  I'm looking forward to 2019.

Favorite poetry book: Kate Greenstreet’s “The End of Something
Favorite novel: “Outline” (and the rest of the trilogy) by Rachel Cusk (Runners-up: “Lincoln in the Bardo,” “The End of Vandalism”)
Favorite non-fiction: “Hitler” by Ian Kershaw (Runner-up: “Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Favorite hard-to-classify: “Moth, or How I Came to Be With You Again” by Thomas Heise
Favorite short story collection: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

1. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro (Jan 1)
2. The Cosmos Trilogy by Frederick Seidel (Jan 4)
3. This Untitled Book of Collage Poems by Sandra Simonds (Jan 9)
4. Die Therapie by Sebastian Fitzek (Jan 7)
5. House of Coates by Brad Zellar (Jan 8)
6. Exercises in Painting Queen by Khadijah Queen (Jan 9)
7. In a Landscape of Having to Repeat by Martha Ronk (Jan 12)
8. Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar (Jan 27)
9. The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban (Jan 28)
10. Hitler by Ian Kershaw (Feb)
11. The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich (Feb 19)
12. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes (Mar 2)
13. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Mar 5)
14. Scenes from the lives of my parents by Pattie McCarthy (Mar 12)
15. I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel by Nikki Wallschaeger (Mar 12)
16. The Obscene Madame D by Hilda Hilst (Mar 20)
17. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders (Mar 26)
18. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (Apr 10)
19. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Apr 15)
20. Mein Esel Benjamin by Hans Limmer (May 1)
21. Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill (May 2)
22. The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (May 5)
23. Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine (May 10)f
24. The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parish (May 10)
25. Go On by Ethel Rackin (May 10)
26. Spool in the Maze by Colleen O’Brien (May 12)
27. French Milk by Lucy Knisley (May 12)
28. The Skin by Curzio Malaparte (May 14)
29. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (May 17)
30. House Held Together by Winds by Sabra Loomis (May 27)
31. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (May 28)
32. Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Jun 7)
33. True Tales of American Life, Paul Auster ed. (Jun 16)
34. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Jun 24)
35. Autumn by Ali Smith (Jul 7)
36. What is Amazing by Heather Christle (Jul 8)
37. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro (Jul 22)
38. Logbook by Hiromi Suzuki (July)
39. Outline by Rachel Cusk (Jul 29)
40. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Jul 30)
41. Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary (Aug 10)
42. The End of Something by Kate Greenstreet (Aug 13)*
43. The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector (Aug 17)
44. A Little White Shadow by Mary Ruefle (Aug 18)
45. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (Aug 30)
46. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (Sept 5)
47. The Collage Ideas Book, ed. Alannah Moore (Sept 7)
48. A Twenty-Minute Silence Followed by Applause by Shawn Wen (Sept 8)
49. The Fifth Woman by Nona Caspers (Sept 10)
50. Teaching My Mother how to Give Birth by Warsaw Shire (Sept 23)
51. Transit by Rachel Cusk (Sept 26)
52. Artful by Ali Smith (Oct)
53. I Am Not Famous Anymore by Erin Dorney (Oct)
54. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Oct 9)
55. Hope Tree by Frank Montesonti (Oct 16)
56. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (Nov 5)
57. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Nov 17)
58. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Dec 3)
59. Moth, Or, How I Came to Be With You Again by Thomas Heise (Dec 4)
60. Puro Amor by Sandra Cisneros (Dec 8)
61. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (Dec 12)
62. Kudos by Rachel Cusk (Dec 17)
63. Young Tambling by Kate Greenstreet (Dec 20)
64. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Dec 22)
65. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Dec 25)
66. The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury (Dec 31)

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