FullSizeRenderI’m on pace to read 116.8 books in 2015. It feels like something of a failure.

 In the U.S., 300,000 new titles were published last year. If all goes well, I’ll end the year having read 0.039 percent of that number. Globally, it’s in the millions. Some years back Google released what they considered to be the total number of all books in the world: 129,864,880.

Reading has brought far more joy to my life than TV, but there’s one pleasure offered by television that I’ve found elusive as a reader. Follow any contemporary TV drama, and, as long as you’re not a hermit, you’ll find people to discuss it with. Friends, family, strangers in checkout aisles: all around you, people will be watching your same show. A single season of it takes thirteen hours to consume, but somehow, everyone has enough time, not just for that season but all seven. Years from now, you’ll still be able to recall the plot twists, and talk about them again, because you’ll have had so many conversations about them to begin with.

 Try, on the other hand, to chat about your favorite new book of the year. For me that’s A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, published in March. It’s a beautiful, devastating, gripping novel. As I read, I was enjoying the story too much to pay close attention to narrative craft. I know there are surprising, unintuitive point-of-view shifts, an almost fantastical distortion of time, and an open embrace of melodrama, but how did she do it? I want to talk about it, figure it out, but even though it’s flying off shelves, only a tiny fraction of people I know have read it, not because they’re philistines but because there are just so many good new books that we’re all forever falling behind.

 This is a two-way street: people eagerly ask if I’ve read this or that new book, and I usually haven’t. Instead I add it to a list that for years has grown faster than I can cross titles off of it. So I’m nonplussed when people say they think I read a lot. On the contrary, it feels like I have some work to do.

 Since 1999 I’ve kept a list all the books I read. For the last few years I’ve posted it on my Facebook page at the end of the year. Several people have told me it’s inspired them to keep similar lists, and that the keeping of a list in turn causes them read more. In that spirit, here’s my 2015 list to date—uncensored, as tempting as it feels to leave off Wheat Belly.

 If you’d like to talk about any of these books, drop me a line:

 On the Ridge Between Life and Death—David Roberts

The Narrow Road to the Deep North—Richard Flanagan

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant—Roz Chast

The Faraway Nearby—Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me—Rebecca Solnit

Sister Golden Hair—Darcey Steinke

The Meaning of Human Existence—Edward O. Wilson

Letters to a Young Scientist—Edward O. Wilson

Offshore—Penelope Fitzgerald

The Strange Library—Haruki Murakami

The Bookshop—Penelope Fitzgerald

The Balloonists—Eula Biss

Notes from No-Mans Land—Eula Biss

The Laughing Monsters—Denis Johnson

Bark—Lorrie Moore

Find Me—Laura van den Berg

To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee

Chasing the Scream—Johann Hari

Double Negative—Ivan Vladislavic

Escape from Lucania—David Roberts

Unbroken—Laura Hillenbrand

In the Heart of the Sea—Nathaniel Philbrick

Wheat Belly—William Davis

Grain Brain—David Perlmutter

Citizen: An American Lyric—Claudia Rankine

Outline—Rachel Cusk

Dead Wake—Erik Larson

Turning the Mind into an Ally—Sakyong Mipham

Rubicon—Tom Holland

Zealot—Reza Aslan

Between You and Me—Mary Norris

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed—Jon Ronson

Preparation for the Next Life—Atticus Lish

My Brilliant Friend—Elena Ferrante

Blood on Snow—Jo Nesbo

Suicide—Edouard Leve

The Johnstown Flood—David McCullough

A Little Life—Hanya Yanagihara

Missoula—Jon Krakauer

The Sorrows of an American—Siri Hustvedt

The Unspeakable—Meghan Daum

The Children’s Crusade—Ann Packer

The Argonauts—Maggie Nelson

Ghettoside—Jill Leovy

The Parable of the Sower—Octavia Butler

Under the Skin—Michel Faber

The Job—Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Never Mind—Edward St. Aubyn

Bad News—Edward St. Aubyn

Some Hope—Edward St. Aubyn

Mother’s Milk—Edward St. Aubyn

At Last—Edward St. Aubyn

Bad Feminist—Roxane Gay

Lost for Words—Edward St. Aubyn

Hotel Living—Ioannis Pappos

Primates of Park Avenue—Wednesday Martin

Mitko—Garth Greenwell

I Am Pilgrim—Terry Hayes

The Easter Parade—Richard Yates

The Falls—Ian Rankin

My Struggle: Volume Four—Karl Ove Knausgaard

Blackout—Sarah Hepola

Our Souls at Night—Kent Haruf

Between the World and Me—Ta-Nehisi Coates

Important Announcement


The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  

 

Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

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