books i read in 2015

2015! It happened!

One of my goals for the year was to read a book every week. For those of you playing at home, that’s 52 books. That’s a lot of books. I didn’t read nearly that many:

January 8: The Flamethrowers (2013) by Rachel Kushner

I read this in a chair that I found for free on the side of the road. I liked learning about the art world of New York in the 1970s. I kept wondering what the rent was like. I enjoyed this book immensely, and bought it for my mom for Christmas, who will probably not really like it.

January 21: 14 Stories, None of Them Yours (2014) by Luke B. Goebel

While listening to an interview with the author via a podcast, I found out he was completing an MFA at UMass Amherst the same year I enrolled as a freshman. This book was a wild ride.

January 20: Bridge and Tunnel (2007) by John Hennessy

My college mentor wrote this chapbook. I bought it used online because I don’t believe it is still in print. I kept thinking I should have read more of my professor’s work while I was in college. I could have got it signed. The inside cover was signed though — to someone named Annie. I still wonder who Annie is.

January 29: Wolf in White Van (2014) by John Darnielle

How do some people have so much talent? I enjoyed reading this book, almost as much as looking at the cover. I enjoyed reading about young people becoming obsessed with complex roleplaying games. I wish there was more about what happened to the young people, to be honest.

February 16: Preparations for the Next Life (2014) by Atticus Lish

More snow fell on Boston during this month than any month previously recorded. I worked from home and my supervisor would send me emails accusing my of not working. I was, but I was also reading and editing a creative project. My landlord emailed me to say that if the roof was leaking, use a bucket.

February 23: Department of Speculation (2014) by Jenny Offill

This book made me sad. It’s funny how we cling to little facts.

February 25: Fear of Music (2012) by Jonathan Lethem

I really like Talking Heads.

February 26: Bicycle Diaries (2009) by David Byrne

See what I mean?

February 28: Drive (2005) by Ryan Sallis

I don’t think I actually read this. At least, not this year. I don’t know how this got in here.

April 7: Binary Star (2015) by Sarah Gerard

I was sort of miserable when I read this book. I was unhappy at my job. I felt unappreciated. The winter was lasting a long time. My girlfriend lived far away. My creative project had stalled. I think, if read this today, I would enjoy it more.

April 24: In Cold Blood (1967) by Truman Capote

I listened to this via audiobook while commuting from Somerville, Massachusetts, to New Jersey, where my girlfriend was living with her parents.

May 4: Hunger (1890) by Knut Hamsen

In college, my professor recommended this book to me based upon my liking The Stranger by Camus. I enjoyed reading this. I felt bad that I had waited so long. I found out that Oslo used to be called Christiania.

June 11: Bad Haircut (1994) by Tom Perrota

I stole this from a coffee shop near my apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. I believe I stole it out of frustration at my creative project. I don’t think anybody really missed it. I missed reading short stories — I particularly enjoyed “The Snowman.”

June 20: Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. (2013) by Adelle Waldman

Few books can be as desperately funny as this one.

July 11: Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky (2014) by David Connerly Nahm

Alright, get to the point, is what I thought when reading this. Maybe I am not a great reader.

Aug 2: Daniel Fights a Hurricane (2012) by Shane Jones

I read this while walking around Somerville, like a sociopath. It was too hot to stay in my apartment.

Aug 13: Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968) by Joan Didion

Another long-overdue read.

Aug 16: Coney Island Pilgrims (2013) by John Hennessy

I went to this book’s launch, at Amherst Books in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Aug 27: Book of Disquiet (1984) by Fernando Pessoa

This book was depressing, but in an enjoyable way.

Oct 5: Notes from Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I felt neutral about this book. I read it while waiting in line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Oct 23: The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway

The main character has the same last name as me. I don’t think we’re related though. I was out of work — my contract expired in September — so I read often and frantically. I picked up shifts as a bicycle courier to make rent.

Oct 23: Hill William (2013) by Scott McClanahan

I read this book in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library. I was waiting for the archivist to prepare a box of back issues of a literary magazine that was going to publish my work. My college mentor had recommended I send my story to the magazine, one I had never read. After the story was accepted, I discovered my college mentor also had work appearing in the magazine. “I really hope we’re in the same issue. It would be awesome,” he said.

Nov. 15: Icelander (2006) by Dustin Long

Whenever I’m in a used book store to occupy time, I feel bad about not buying something. I purchased this for a few dollars, and I was surprised by how fascinating I found it. Shane Jones interviewed the author in HTMLGiant, I later found. I’m not unconvinced that the author is Justin Long in disguise.

Dec. 23: Gun, with Occasional Music (1994) by Jonathan Lethem

At a new job on the other side of the city, I take the Green Line for about an hour each way. I read this book exclusively on the subway, while listening to the new Grimes album. It all seemed particularly appropriate.

Dec 25: Eating Alone at Chipotle (2015) by Carmen E. Brady

I left my family’s holiday dinner early, and read this book instead. It made me happier.