So, following up on Barb’s post about my Year in Reading, let’s take a look back and see what’s what.
Obviously, the year was dominated by the Infinite Jest project. There’s no reason to go into that, all the thoughts are here. Let’s just say that it dominated the year, but it wasn’t the highlight, kind of like when Time makes a bad guy the “Person of the Year.” (Fun fact: Stalin won it twice).
So, other than Infinite Jest, I read 18 books. And I would count that as 16 wins. I only read two books that I was disappointed in. Now, it is worth noting that I am very careful about what I read to avoid just that issue, but still, I’m happy with that kind of percentage. You can’t win them all.
When looking at the best books of the year, I would say that there are two that stand above the others.
The first was Sell Out by Paul Beatty. (Yes, sometimes I am a year or two behind. Sorry). No surprise here…this was a Man Booker winner plus it was recommended by someone. It was just great. So funny, and being funny on paper is one of the toughest things to do. (see Ugly, which I did not find funny at all).
The second was Gentlemen in Moscow by Amor Towles. This book is just magic. A great story, great characters, and set in a time that I am fascinated by…Revolutionary Russia. I later saw Towles speak down in the Toledo area. This is just an outstanding book and a thrill to read. I was sorry when it was over.
The thing about this exercise is mostly the good feelings I get when I look back at the books I read this year. Each one, in its own way, leaves me with a warm feeling…like rediscovering old photos in an album that I had forgotten about.
Just in case anyone cares, here’s the actual list. On to 2018.