Happy New Year! Here are 20 good books I read in 2015:
Want more? Here are my reading lists from the past ten years. (!!!)
- Tove Jansson, The Complete Moomin Comics - No book gave me more pleasure this year. When my son Owen was born, all I seemed to be able to read was old Nancy comics. After my son Jules was born, it was Moomin. These comics are so, so wonderful. They belong in everyoneâ€™s library.
- Jon Ronson, So Youâ€™ve Been Publicly Shamed - Made me rethink the way I operate online. Smart and entertaining.
- James Sturm, Market Day - A beautiful comic about the struggle of the artist to produce work of value in a market economy.
- Dave Hickey, Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy - Some of the best writing about art and culture Iâ€™ve ever read. My highlights.
- Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs - Mann is that rare master of both pictures and words, and her memoir shows off that mastery: the visual images are perfectly woven into the text to tell her story.
- Sarah Ruhl, 100 Essays I Donâ€™t Have Time To Write - Short essays about making art and raising children, and the interesting ways that one influences and provides insight into the other. I really liked it. My highlights.
- Blexbolex, Ballad - I canâ€™t count the number of nights I read this book to my son. Fantastic illustrations. Weird and bizarre. A modern fairy tale.
- T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets - Classic poems to read when youâ€™re traveling, or moving from one place to the next. (When arenâ€™t we?) My highlights.
- The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinsonâ€™s Envelope Poems - A perfectly-executed book in form and content. My highlights.
- Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity - Joe Hill called this â€œthe Moby-Dick of parenting books,â€ and heâ€™s right: itâ€™s too long and it takes forever to get through, but you get taken somewhere, and youâ€™re really glad you read it.
- Jenny Offill, Dept. Of Speculation - A wonderful novel about art, marriage, and motherhood that you can read it in one sitting. My highlights.
- James Marshall, George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends - When you find books you love reading to your kid as much as they love being read to from, you know youâ€™ve got something special.
- David Allen, Getting Things Done - A productivity classic for a reason. I even went out and bought a filing cabinet after reading it. My highlights.
- Corita Kent and Jan Steward, Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit - A wonderful book about making art that deserves a better cover and better printing. My highlights.
- Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts - This one didn't hit me the way it hit some readers I know, but itâ€™s very good, with a really smart system of quotation, and a solid ending. My highlights.
- Oliver Sacks, On The Move - Messy and loses a little steam at the end, but itâ€™s incredibly readable, and just a tad smutty at times, which is pretty delightful. Dang, what a life! (My highlights.)
- John Seabrook, The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory - If youâ€™ve suspected lately that youâ€™re not just old but pop music really is getting worse, Seabrook does a great job of explaining why. My highlights.
- Mary Karr, The Art Of Memoir - Lots of underlines. She sure can write a sentence. (My highlights.)
- David Marksonâ€™s four â€œanti-novelsâ€ - I donâ€™t know why these books work for me â€” theyâ€™re like stumbling on the Twitter feed of the most fascinating art buff, and scrolling and scrolling, but yet, they build and build towards something. I read them at night, and they put me into a kind of hypnotic state. (I got through about 20-30 pages until I fell asleep.) I consider these one big book and would love to see a collected edition of all four.
- David Lee Roth, Crazy From The Heat - If I believed in guilty pleasures, this would be one of them. So ridiculous and good.
Next week Iâ€™ll be back to my normal 10 things. If you enjoyed this email, please forward it to a friend.