Intro, let’s go: For 2015, I’m recapping what I read, watched, wrote and listened to and whatever else. This isn’t a favorites or best, it’s just what happened to me in the cultural landscape. Music and podcasts are first, then what I watched. Now, reading. Next will be writing.
Every year, I believe I’ll read more books. And every year, I read about the same number. Below are 19 completed books. My wife told me she read 48, and that doesn’t include the books she thought of as “junk.” I like to think I “forgot” about some books, that I didn’t remember to add them to this ongoing list, but I’m not sure. So maybe I read 22 instead of 19?
I lost interest in several books after 5o or 100 pages. Those take up time. So does writing a new novel. So does writing a blog. (Excuses, yes!)
This year, I made an effort to read what was on my shelf. I went on a library fast. I broke that sometime in late October to pick up some of the new books, which you’ll see in the skimmed list.
‘it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what on the internet that counts’ by beach sloth // really sharp status update lit, very funny, surprisingly under appreciated, i think
‘in real life’ by chris killen // a cute story by an indie minimalist guy trying to find a new way forward
‘great jones street’ by don delillo // everyone said ‘dylan’ but i’m not a big dylan fan, so i read about a possible genius being holed away in an apartment. I received this book last year for Christmas.
‘jack kerouac: king of the beats’ by barry miles // like a lot of young men, i had misplaced hero worship on this guy. turns out he was slob who couldn’t ever say ‘no’ to his mother. I think he could’ve been a better writer than he actually was.
‘the last gentleman’ by walker percy // read this on a spring trip. the southern tropes in here are funny.
‘tollbooth’ by bud smith // an off-kilter New Jersey story about running away while staying in the same place.
‘tangible’ by chris sicks // a challenge for how churches can help others more effectively
‘continental drift’ by russell banks // a lot of ppl I know are Russell Banks fans, so I gave this one a shot and generally liked it. the character’s motives resonated with me, even though I wouldn’t take his actions
‘night film’ by marisha pessl // was ‘excited’ about this book a few years ago when ppl praised its multimedia/experimental approach. Not really the case, just think of it as a thriller. I stopped reading it back then, but picked it up again this year. I finished it on a trip to California and gave it to the woman sitting next to me on the airplane ride home
‘selected tweets’ by tao lin & mira gonzalez // this is the oddest gap in my reading between the book above and this one. I feel like something isn’t here. anyway, this is a book of tweets and they are collected. this book will rise in importance as status update lit becomes more common. I‘ve said a lot about this book already
‘home land’ by sam lipsyte (reread) // not the TV show. one of my favorites, a slacker guy works at his dad’s banquet hall, and writes his old high school classmates updates via an alumni newsletter. hilarioius. this is original status update lit for you keeping
‘zero to one’ by peter thiel // read this for work. from the founder of paypal. kinda full of himself about the power of monopolies and business, but still an interesting person with a few intriguing ideas.
‘nothing matters’ by carles // this is the ebook from the hipster runoff guy, whose style has always fascinated me. This book takes a nihilistic turn. thoughts here.
“Welcome To Your New Life With You Being Happy” by rachel bell // i read this awhile ago, but recently wrote about it. Rachel leaves everything on the page, everything is just believable enough, you never know if she’s telling the truth
‘eat your heart out’ by zoe pilger // I think Guillaume Morissette recommended this to me. Probably too much theory for me, I couldn’t tell who was right or who was wrong, but maybe that was the point: theory is overwhelming
‘tribes’ by seth godin // another read for work. it’s basically a really long blog post and b/c he’s a popular business blogger that gets repeated ad nauseum, I’ve heard much of this before
‘cult of loretta’ by kevin maloney // let’s call it: probably my favorite book of the year. it tuns at 100 mph and whips you fast. I read this while standing around at a music festival in August.
‘f-250′ by bud smith // haha. another one by Bud Smith! this was his new(ish) one and he continually cranks out interesting characters and places. More sophisticated than ‘tollbooth’ in my mind. he keeps getting closer and closer to busting us all down.
‘best behavior’ by noah cicero (reread) // this is the noah cicero i like best, for some reason. I have a hard time relating to his other characters in his other books. Not a huge fan of the beginning, but the restaurant scenes are my favorite. And his style seems so easy, but it’s hard to replicate.
‘slouching towards bethlehem’ by joan didion // read a few of these essays, but I don’t care about california enough
‘orange eats creeps’ by grace krilanovich // made it halfway through this, seemed overly ponderous for the subject matter
‘my heart is an idiot’ by davy rothbart // a few funny things, some essays I didn’t care for as much
‘old school’ by tobias wolff // don’t care about writers who went to prep school anymore, if ever
‘razor’s edge’ by w. somerset maugham // felt like grad school
‘nobody is missing you’ by catherine lacey // read half of this. i just didn’t understand what the protagonist was doing
‘blood meridian’ by cormac mccarthy // i lost track of who was where. also, a very different style than the book i’m working on, so I think that was affecting my mindset
‘purity’ by jonathan franzen // gave it a shot, b/c I embarrassingly tore through ‘freedom’ really fast. was good through the pip stuff at the beginning but once it hit that cult political leader guy, i lost interest. would’ve rather stayed at the squatters house awhile longer…
‘preparation for the next life’ by atticus lish // the modern military books I don’t care for. Had the same problem with ‘billy lynn’s halftime walk’ from a few years ago
‘the familiar’ by mark z danielewski // i really wanted to like this book. i tried and tried and maybe i’ll try again. the clues are too obscured I think. He should read some more mystery novels before writing all of these. Too long for a 20-part or whatever series. Ambitious yes, but it seems like he’s digging a hole for hermits rather than a visionary tunnel to the future
‘the hole in our holiness’ by kevin deyoung // a call to action for christians to reconsider their personal, everyday actions. will finish this at some point
‘city on fire’ by garth risk hallberg // really hyped about this novel by a punk rock guy. the writing was kinda boring though and I kept waiting for the lights to go out, like everyone told me they did, but 100 pages in and I couldn’t tell why I should care about anyone
What this list doesn’t include is what I’m reading now. Those books? Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (first time!), Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen and Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby.
Books I Wished I Read And/Or Hope To Read
That Miranda July one
That Ta-Nehisi Coates one
That Tom McCarthy one
That one (or 2) by Brian Ellis
That one you’ll send me next