31 BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR, IN ORDER OF HOW INTERESTED I WAS IN SLEEPING WITH THEM BENEATH MY PILLOW (STRONGEST CANDIDATES FIRST), AND HAIKU DISCUSSION
01 magic for beginners (kelly link). i'd concuss myself / for the chance to discover / kelly link again.
02 atonement (ian mcewan). adolescence in / a rotten nutshell, rendered / with ageless sympathy.
03 sweet tooth (ian mcewan). spies on fiction, and / fiction on spies; atonement, / but so much more fun.
04 stranger things happen (kelly link). the hat story is / amazing, but i can't talk / about it. (terror.)
05 great plains (ian frazier). apprenticeships for / nonfiction aren't a thing, but / i'd be frazier's serf.
06 joseph anton (salman rushdie). a singular tale / of bravery for art's sake. / fuck yeah, publishing.
07 antarctica (gabrielle walker). with pym, this nonfic's / an overturned cooler of / polar-pure goodness.
08 pym (mat johnson). sometimes i wake up / and pad out to the shelf to / reread the best jokes.
09 boy, snow, bird (helen oyeyemi). snow white recast as / mothers, daughters, and sisters. / modern, clever magic.
10 every love story is a ghost story: a life of david foster wallace (d.t. max). a thoughtful bio; / predictably, made me miss / wallace even more.
11 beautiful ruins (jess walter). starlets, italians, / and the people who love them. / patchy but winning.
12 the dog stars (peter heller). apocalypse sans / j-law, plus a little plane / and a man-eater.
13 an equal music (vikram seth). better than dancing / about architecture. a / bit twee, but good twee.
14 the diviners (libba bray). more is more: psychic / flapper teens with ESP! / just let it happen.
15 amsterdam (ian mcewan). booker prize winner? / seriously? mcewan, / i expected more.
16 vengeance (benjamin black). john banville's crime books / lack some of their pulp lately; / i'll still drink to them.
17 my life (isadora duncan). craziest tunic- / wearer since cassandra; i / admire and fear her.
18 see a little light (bob mould). karmic opposite of / dean "scrooge" wareham's black postcards. / nice guy finished first.
19 the twelve (justin cronin). book 2, HIGHBROW BLOOD: / THE DICKENSING. honestly, / vampire methadone.
20 the starboard sea (amber dermont). probably i should / stop reading novels about / prep schools. most are MEH.
21 world war z (max brooks). zombie invasion / seen through a mosquito's eye: / i was entertained.
22 lost at sea (jon ronson). great subject choices, / less-than-diligent research. / funny, frustrating.
23 babayaga (toby barlow). are spies a match for / wicked old-country song-spells? / witch, please. (also fleas.)
24 how did you get this number (sloane crosley). i like crosley, but / this collection needs edits / and fewer bear deaths.
25 why we broke up (daniel handler and maira kalman). a sweet theme grows / cloying with repetition. / these teens don't charm me.
26 changing places (david lodge). dear me at nineteen: / we still think david lodge sucks. / regards, ancient me.
27 outrage (arnaldur indridason). clunky crime patter, / but good info on using / tandoori spices.
28 the psychopath test (jon ronson). i have a vein near / my eye that throbs when facts die. / it's python-sized now.
29 rivington was ours (brendan jay sullivan). the lower east side / had to deal with both this guy / and lady gaga.
30 melissa explains it all (melissa joan hart). she once threw water / in oscar de la hoya's / face in mexico.
31 the mad bomber of new york: the extraordinary true story of the manhunt that paralyzed a city (michael m. greenburg). assumptions sans facts, / a byzantine timeline, and / thesaurus abuse.
imaginary reading group discussion questions
01 what was the best book you read this year?
02 how do you feel about jason segel playing david foster wallace in the upcoming film adaptation of david lipsky's although of course you end up becoming yourself?
03 who would you cast as david foster wallace?
04 if you were a character in a supernatural young-adult novel set in the roaring twenties, what would your special power be?
05 is it even possible for john banville (benjamin black)'s philip marlowe novel to be any good?
06 do prep-school novels just suck, or should i hold out for more never-let-me-go-ish exceptions that prove the rule?