2015: Books

Thankfully I had this list drafted up in December, but after renewing this domain for another year, I swung by and realized I had never actually published this post (another strong show of blogging prowess Ben).  I’ve gone back and written up a blurb about each book- in a way I like writing about these books that I read 9+ months ago- certain elements of the reading experience have faded, but I can look at each of these and recall memorable aspects, and usually the feeling, of reading them.

The best books I read in 2015:

1. Ben Lerner- 10:04.  I just happened to start reading this book on an unseasonably warm November day riding the D train over the Manhattan bridge listening to “Everyday it Starts” by Parquet Courts.   As I typed that last sentence in my South Brooklyn apartment, the lightbulb overhead burned out.  This book has a strange power.  This hyper conscious, darkly comic sparkling object of a book worked for me 100 times over (despite/because of the writer writing about writing hook/gimmick).

2.  Adam Johnson- Orphan Masters Son.  I recall being completely absorbed in the dark, disorienting world of this book.  The plot is propulsive, the characters are haunting, and the fact that this whole book, while fictional, occurs in an actual hellscape by all accounts very similar to the one depicted here makes it all the more gut wrenching.

3.  Kaszuo Ishiguro- Never Let Me Go.  Sweet wistfulness slowly gives way to unnerving, strange, tension.  Loved every page.

4.  Adelle Waldman- The Love Affairs of Nathanial P.  As a male who went on dates with females in Brooklyn in 2015, I feel like I was contractually obligated to love this book.  And I did.

5.  Karl Ove Knausgaard- My Struggle Book 1.  “Even when I was bored, I was interested”- James Wood.  I plan to read one KoK MS book per year for the next 5 years.  Preferably in Winter.

6.  Andy Weird- The Martian.  This book accompanied me on the 10 best workday subway commutes ever.  Loved it.

7.  Ta-Nehisi Coates- Between the World and Me.  Utterly transfixing, such a personal and powerful testament to his life experience.  I can’t think of another book which truly made me, even temporarily, feel and understand the pain of the author.

8.  Haruki Murakami- Colorless Tsukuru Tsari and His Years of Pilgrimage.  This was the first Murakami book I had read in over a year (after inhaling 6 in 8 months), and it reminded me of what I love about him.  This falls into the “realist” camp of HM books (with Norwegian Wood and South of the Border).  Simple, mellow, sad.

9.  Charles Bukowski- Post Office. Not an edifying reading experience, but a damn good book.

10.  Atul Gawande- Being Mortal.  This was a moving read over the holidays while seeing generations of family.  I felt such affection and reverence for towards Gawande by the end of this book.