While I read fewer books than usual in 2016, this annual edition of my Top 10 lists covers a fairly broad range of styles—a rock & roll bio, some YA classics, poetry, apocalypse lit, historical nonfiction, crime, noir, and more. Despite being a pretty miserable year, the good books kept me going. As usual for these lists, I only include books I’ve read for the first time in 2016, but the books can be from any year, brand new or decades old, so long as they’re new to me. I’d love to know what your favorites were this year as well, so feel free to add those in the comments section! Most of all, I hope you enjoy these if you haven’t yet tried them for yourself.Read More
It’s time once again to tally up the books I read over the last year and see which ones held up. As usual, I only include books I read for the first time in 2015, but they can have been published anytime. Oddly, it seems I read fewer books in 2015 than in most recent years, by almost double digits, probably because I moved away from NYC and lost all that subway reading time. Oh well, so it goes. Here’s my top 10. Enjoy!Read More
As usual, my list is formulated as such: The books don’t have to be released in 2014, but I must have read them for the first time in 2014. I noticed this year’s reading trend leaned heavily toward espionage, noir, horror, and genre fiction in general. My goal is to mix it up a little more next year, but then again, the heart wants what it wants. We’ll see. Enjoy the list, and feel free to comment with your favorite books of the year!
10. A World Lost by Wendell Berry
A gorgeous little book that sometimes reads more like a series of character and location sketches than a "story," but it's beautifully done. The main character is a 9-year-old boy whose favorite uncle is murdered and it forever alters the young boy’s simplistic worldview and daydream-like existence in rural America during the 1940s. The prose isn’t minimalist in the way some might use the word to describe Hemingway or Carver, but minimalist in that while not much happens, what does happen is described with a casual insightfulness and innocent wonder, making even the most mundane moments a work of art.Read More
As usual, my list is formulated as such: The books don’t have to be released in 2013, but I must have read them in 2013, and it must be the first time I have read them. I stick to fiction for these lists, usually novels but not always.
10. The Whisperer in the Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft
This is a short novella that is also available for free for your e-reader (it’s in the public domain), which is how I read it. The story concerns a New England scientist who scoffs at the claims of strange, monstrous bodies found floating down rivers after a major flood in Vermont. Soon, a man living in a remote section of Vermont reaches out to him via letters, claiming that these bodies are not old wives' tales, but are clues to a secret that has plagued humanity for centuries. The man in Vermont has witnessed the cult-like, otherworldly beings who live deep in the woods. The beings are aware they're being watched, and they're closing in. The letters escalate in intensity and strangeness as the story unfolds, and our scientist eventually makes the trek to rural Vermont himself, with horrific results. The tale is spooky, fun, and skin-crawlingly wonderful.Read More