I managed to read 75 books this year. I say managed because I’m an incredibly slow reader. In order to hit this fine number, I had to read three books at once throughout the year – one in hard copy; one on Kindle; and one in audio format. Which is okay by me. In fact, I’m beginning to prefer Kindle, especially.
I would have liked to read more books actually published during this past calendar year, but I wandered around a little and picked up some titles I’d long wanted to get my hands on (Autobiography of Red) and some older indie titles from writers I just really love reading (Barrett Warner, James Tadd Adcox).
These books are in no particular order, although I still maintain that this first one listed here was the most important title published this year.
Best Small Fictions 2016 edited by Tara L. Masih and Stuart Dybek (Queen’s Ferry Press)
This series is for me the biggest thing in publishing right now. Tara L. Masih‘s efforts do not get nearly enough attention in many respects, but particularly with her work editing this series. Read my full review here.
Studies in Hybrid Morphology by Matt Tompkins (Conium Press)
I’ve not seen as much about Matt Tompkins’s work as I think I should. Find out why and get a copy to read today.
Marigold by Troy James Weaver (King Shot Press)
Troy James Weaver is writing with a pure heart in Marigold. His book Visions is up next for me and I hope many more to come. Also, this cover design by Matthew Revert gets my vote for the absolute best cover put out this year (all due respect and love, Ryan W. Bradley).
The Map of the System of Human Knowledge by James Tadd Adcox (Tiny Hardcore Press)
A book that covers in perfect uniqueness mathematics, philosophy, poetry, nature, history, physics, art, and more. I’d almost rather read James Tadd Adcox than eat a bowel of Corn Pops.
Philip K. Dick: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Philip K. Dick, edited by David Streitfeld (Melville House)
Philip K. Dick was mostly insane. And you need to listen to pretty much everything he said. This could be a start.
My Friend Ken Harvey by Barrett Warner (Publishing Genius)
Few people can own a phrase or sentence like Barrett Warner. There is no ordinary in his world, believe me. Everything is fresh and new.
Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthleme by Tracy Daughtery (St. Martin’s Press)
This book might be on the list if not for my fascination with all things Donald Barthleme. But the occasional academic sprawl is well worth it for anyone who likes the literary biography.
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated by Christina MacSweeney (Coffee House Press)
Valeria Luiselli’s third book won prizes and awards galore and had just about everybody tossing well-deserved praise in her general direction.
Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt (House of Anansi Press)
I’ve been enamored with deWitt since The Sisters Brothers and Undermajordomo Minor does nothing to tarnish that shine. I laughed out loud more reading this book than any other this past year. Check it out.
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson (Vintage)
The book that dates as older than any other on this list (published in 1999) and the only from a big house, I’ve been wanting to read Anne Carson for years and strangely hadn’t made the time. Glad I did. You will be, too. She is a master.