Year in Reading 2015
For the past few years I have run down my year in reading on twitter, but this year let’s give it a little heft for posterity.
In 2015 I read upwards of 200 books–fewer than last year, since I wasn’t doing head-down research for an exhibit. 57% were written by women and 43% by men. Surprisingly, this year I read more fiction than nonfiction, again perhaps because I wasn’t in deep exhibit research mode.
I read a ton of scholarly monographs this year, on hotel workers, the Modoc War, baby food, the Nation of Islam, St. Clare, the Great War, opera, pilgrimages, and so on. I read all the big prestige SFF novels. I read some series mysteries, some books by Christian bloggers. and some memoirs by fashion designers. I read the first Ferrante, after having it on hold for six months. I requested so many new books in the history of religion via Link+ that an academic library stopped lending them out. I read and I wrote reviews.
The following are the books I enjoyed most in 2015. I don’t think any of them were published this year. They are organized in the order in which I read them.
- Yvonne Adhiambo Owour, Dust. Such beautiful sentences! Such strong emotions!
- Brian Allen Drake, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan. Articulates a history of conservative environmentalism that made me think well of Goldwater.
- Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King. Powell’s satire is so sharp, it cuts itself. My discovery of the year.
- Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Lives of Artists. A school for structuring nonfiction.
- Iman Mersal, These Are Not Oranges, My Love. Maybe I’ll learn Arabic to read these poems in the original.
- Anita Reynolds, American Cocktail: A ‘Colored Girl’ in the World. An exuberant memoir of ’20s and ’30s Paris.
- James Treat, Around the Sacred Fire: Native American Religious Activism in the Red Power Era. A history of the Indian Ecumenical Conference that enlarges our view of the ’70s and ’80s.
- Don Greene, Audition Success. Told through telephone conversations, a book on what it means to perform well.