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I started a spreadsheet to track this year’s reading. Here is last year’s list of about 50, cobbled together from bookstore receipts, iPad receipts, library notices. Some friends' books and manuscripts not included. But this list, in no particular order, represents a year of good--and great-- books. My goal this year is to read and list 100.


  1. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (The Neapolitan novels blew me away. I was living in Naples for the two weeks I read all four of these glorious novels.)
  2. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
  3. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
  4. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
  5. Mister Monkey by Francine Prose (sharp humor)
  6. Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez 
  7. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (enjoyed this funny office rom-com)
  8. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (reading this Pulitzer Prize winner now. Wow. WOW.)
  9. Thus Bad Begins by  Javier Marias  
  10. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Strout will be read next century and beyond)
  11. Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell (Love Rendell, and she wrote this on her deathbed)
  12. Bridge by Robert Thomas (lyrical, gorgeous prose)
  13. The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald (gotta read some noir)
  14. Honeydew by Edith Perlman (her stories shine in this collection)
  15. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (I'm a sucker for novels about families)
  16. The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  17. Annihilation, first in the Southern Reach series by Jeff Vandermeer (Loved this suspenseful tale about a group of women scientists)
  18. Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff (omniscient POV as Greek chorus)
  19. Norwood by Charles Portis (reread this, one my faves)
  20. Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen (Hilarious capers!)
  21. Persuader by Jack Reacher (My first Reacher.)
  22. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Witty. Loved her first comic novel.)
  23. The Ranger by Ace Atkins
  24. She Poured Her Heart Out by Jean Thompson (Absorbing. Artful sex scenes.)
  25. Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet (Creepy in a good way)
  26. Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo (Loved, loved, LOVED.)
  27. They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine (Such a treat!)
  28. Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta (Fun to read his short fiction. I’ll read anything he writes.)
  29. Endless Love by Scott Spencer (reread this. No one does obsessive love better.)
  30. The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald (More noir!)
  31. Vinegar Girl by Ann Tyler (Thoroughly enjoyed this modern take on The Taming of the Shrew. Of course I’m a huge Ann Tyler fan.)
  32. January by Audrey Carlan (Soft porn. Just had to see what the buzz was about.)
  33. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (Quirky with a capital Q. In a good way.)
  34. Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpoint (I look forward to more from this author)
  35. Several Willie Morris Award finalists, including the memorable winner, The Headmaster’s Darlings by Katherine Clark  
  36. Pushcart Prize Stories
  37. Best American Short Stories
  38. The New Yorker, all issues, mostly read soaking in the bathtub
  39. Variety of literary mags

Nonfiction and Memoir

  1. Story Genius by Lisa Crone (Incredibly interesting & super useful for novelists. Loved it.)
  2. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance   (an important & absorbing memoir) 
  3. Choose Yourself! by James Altucher (edgy ideas)
  4. Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg (I like reading about the brain and creativity)
  5. Habits by Charles Duhigg (ditto)
  6. Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer (A classic already. I like his idea about mission statements.)
  7. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (hilarious!)
  8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (inspiring)
  9. Slow Love by Dominque Browning (love the gardening)
  10. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (I admire anything Murakami writes, and his notion of how vital physical stamina is to novel writing is spot on)

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