reading list 2016

for everything that wasn’t good about 2016 (& there was a lot, personally and in a broader sense), i read a lot of really wonderful things last year. and i’m looking forward to keeping it up this year.

(this list is incomplete: partly because I’ve surley forgotten something, and partly because some of the best stuff –and lots of the just ok — stuff I’ve read this year has been long-form nonfiction and short stories published in various places online and/or vociferously devoured when new issues of granta and n+1 turn up in my mailbox.)

* = stuff i especially loved

    • winter notes on summer impressions — fyodor dostoevsky
    • furiously happy — jenny lawson
    • queer phenomenology — sarah ahmed *
    • do what you love and other myths… — miya tokumitsu *
    • depression: a public feeling — ann cvetkovich
    • fatherland — nina bunjevac *
    • numbers: a very short introduction — peter m. higgins
    • natural disaster — al burian *
    • because the sea is black — blaga dimitrova (trans. boris & mchugh)
    • dora, doralina — rachel de queiroz
    • my year of meats — ruth ozeki *
    • station eleven — emily st. john mandel *
    • something to tell you — hanif kureishi *
    • house of leaves — mark danielewski *
    • panic in a suitcase — yelena akhtiorskaya *
    • party headquarters — georgi tenev
    • the lonely londoners — sam selvon
    • vaseline buddha — jung moon
    • dune — frank herbert
    • in the country — mia alvar *
    • mausolee: roman — rouja lazarova
    • toxicology – jessica hagedorn
    • a ballad for georg henig – viktor paskov
    • david boring — daniel clowes
    • a brief history of seven killings — marlon james *
    • the south side: a portrait of chicago and american segregation — natalie moore *

started but didn’t quite finish

  • return to twin peaks: new approaches to materiality, theory, and genre on television — eds. jeffrey weinstock & catherine spooner (half of it, anyway.)
  • the richness of life, collected essays — stephen jay gould (1/4 or so)

still working on it

  • i lived socialism — ed. georgi gospodinov
  • hawaiʻi’s story by hawaiʻi’s queen — queen liliuokalani


happy new year, friends!


objects arriving with luggage in tow

What we need to recall is how the ‘thisness’ of this table does not, as it were, belong to it: what is particular about this table, what we can tell through its biography, is also what allows us to tell a larger story: a story not only of ‘things’ changing hands, but of how things come to matter by taking shape through and in the labor of others…. Such histories are not simply available on the surface of the object, apart from the scratches that might be left behind. Histories shape ‘what’ surfaces: they are behind the arrival of ‘the what’ that surfaces…

– Sarah Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, p. 44

reading list – 2015

an occasionally updated list of most of the things i’ve read for pleasure in 2015.

the buddha of suburbia – hanif kureishi
white teeth – zadie smith
the brief, wondrous life of oscar wao – junot diaz
the saint of incipient insanities – elif shafak
things are meaning less – al burian
burn collector fourteen – al burian
“quadraturin” – sigizmund krzhizhanovsky
“the bookmark” – sigizmund krzhizhanovsky
“someone else’s theme” – sigizmund krzhizhanovsky
fun home – alison bechdel
cheer the eff up – jonas
burn collector number 15 – al burian
can’t we talk about something more pleasant? – roz chast
best american comics 2011 – alison bechdel (ed.)
“the human fly” – t.c. boyle
a slow archive – josh honn
a visit from the goon squad – jennifer egan
east of the west – miroslav penkov
salt dancers – ursula hegi
the physics of sorrow – georgi gospodinov (trans. angela rodel)
marbles: mania, depression, michelangelo, and me – ellen forney
are you my mother? – alison bechdel
paper knowledge – lisa gitelman
let’s explore diabetes with owls – david sedaris
boy, snow, bird – helen oyeyemi
a tale for the time being – ruth ozeki