Monthly Archives: January 2016

2015 Books of the Year

Each year for the past ten or so years (since I was inspired by my friend/book-pal Elizabeth), I’ve kept track of all the books I read and come up with a list of my favorites. In 2015, I read 83 books. Whew! And here they all are:

Special Harry Stephen Keeler Category for So-Bad-It’s-Good-ness

Sing Sing Nights (Harry Stephen Keeler), The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu (Sax Rohmer), Here’s the Situation (Chris Millis)

Ah, good old Harry S. Keeler, the Ed Wood of books. He’s here joined by a mindlessly racist old adventure novel and the shameless ghostwritten memoir of Jersey Shore‘s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, in which actual author Chris Millis takes every opportunity to mock his subject.

Irredeemably Bad

The Overton Window (Glenn Beck), Daughter of the Blood (Anne Bishop), The Art of the Deal (Donald Trump & Tony Schwartz), Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)

This was all for Hate Book Club. Daughter of the Blood was the worst. There were parts of The Overton Window that were actually kind of funny, and a couple were on purpose.

Just Kind of Okay (or So Forgettable I Forgot Them Already)

The People’s Platform (Astra Taylor), Twentysomething (Robin & Samantha Henig), The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother, & Me (Sofka Zinovieff), The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)

The first two books in this category had really interesting topics and ideas, but I forget the authors’ conclusions already. Oops.

Disappointing but with Some Merit

Jazz (Toni Morrison), The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (William Brashler), The Empathy Exams (Leslie Jamison), Operation Nemesis (Eric Bogosian), The Summer Book (Tove Jansson), A House and Its Head (Ivy Compton-Burnett)

A lot of these share the problem of “incorrect expectations.” For instance, I foolishly thought Jazz would have jazz in it. The Summer Book actually has a lot in common with The House on Mango Street: it’s a series of short-story postcards from a little girl’s summer with her grandmother. It even includes little drawings. Continue reading



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