12/30/15

Best of 2015 - Favorite Read . . .

I read only 21 books this year. That is better than the average American (by about 8x) but it is not great. I will be better next year.

In the short term there is a confession I should make here . . . I didn't love all the books I read this year. I ENJOYED many of them. They were good. They were well told stories and well crafted narratives from talented authors but I wouldn't defend most of the 21 beyond a tepid "yeah, sure, whatever."

That being said I didn't have much trouble putting together a top three list for this year. I would happily stand by any of them and think you'd enjoy them, too.

3) "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple. I reviewed it here. It was hilarious and warm and fuzzy (in the end) and it made you think about the presumptions we make and what they are worth and the sacrifices of parenting and marriage and what they are worth.

2) "Falling Out of Time" by David Grossman. The first long format poem I ever loved and a great introduction to all poetry, this story is about grief and loss. Death and mourning. Pain and suffering caused when people leave your life. The specifics of the story are messy (characters come and go and symbolism is heavy) but the core of the story is the loss of a child and how parents deal with and process it. Terms like "narrator" and "walker" and "traveler" and "Town Chronicler" and "Math Teacher" substitute for proper names. In the end that makes sense - we're not really "here" and we're not really "us" we're roles and titles and symbols and, like everyone else, we'll eventually walk and travel on.

1) "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" by Joshua Ferris. 2015, for me, was the YEAR OF FERRIS. I read all three of his books (okay, fine - I've read two and am working on the third). I'm smitten with his style and approach to writing and how different all three of his books are. This one was my favorite. Of his. Of the year.