Archive for January, 2017

2016 Reading List

The first half of this year, I spent a lot of time reading stories by Irish writers, in preparation for my trip to Ireland. For all of that preparation, I didn’t really understand social customs any more than I would have if I went in without doing the research. But I did learn about writers I had never read before, and that was a real treat.

For me, this was the year of Anne Enright. Enright does what every writer tries to do. She shows what it feels like to have any given experience in elegant, relatable language. I picked up The Green Road because Louise Erdrich recommended Enright at a talk Erdrich was giving at Town Hall in Seattle.

The truly stunning books I read this year:

The Green Road by Anne Enright

Probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. The story of a family with four children, so simply, truly, and wonderfully told. The snapshots of interactions and the not quite getting it right but trying of family. I picked this book up because Louise Erdrich recommended Anne Enright at a reading. So glad I did.

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

All the strands are so subtly woven together, as I’ve come to expect from Erdrich. She deals with families, sexual assault, and other trauma with such compassion, without sparing us the reality. I love the setting during the second Iraq War – the consequences of vaulting self-righteousness.


The rest of the books I read this year  below run a range from truly good to tedious.

Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

The Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction 2005-2015 edited by Bolger, Dermot & Ciaran Carty

Twice Twenty-Two: Golden Apples of the Sun and A Cure for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury

Dublin Noir edited by Ken Bruen

Seattle Noir edited by Curt Colbert

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Brian Boru by Fin Dwyer


1348 – A Medieval Apocalypse, The Black Death in Ireland by Fin Dwyer

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

The Gathering by Anne Enright

TEOTFW by Charles Forsman

Sandman Overture by Neil Gaiman

Barnacle Soup and Other Stories from the West of Ireland by Josie Gray with Tess Gallagher

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Spunk: The Selected Short Stories of Zora Neale Hurston by Zora Neale Hurston.

Home Winemaking Step by Step by Jon Iverson

Dubliners by James Joyce

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

The Wild Girls by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ireland – Lonely Planet Guide

Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey

Bags by Patrick McHale

Over the Garden Wall by Patrick McHale

Tender by Belinda McKeon

Belfast Noir Edited by Adrian McKinty & Stuart Neville

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

The Forgotten Helper by Lorrie Moore

Half a Life by V.S. Naipaul

The Love Object by Edna O’Brien

Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences Edited by Glen O’Brien

In Sunshine or in Shadow: Stories by Irish Women Edited by Kate Cruise O’Brien & Mary Maher

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Filter House by Nisi Shawl

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

Clonebrews: Homebrew Recipes for 150 Commercial Beers by Mark & Tess Szamatulski

Guide to Pruning by Cass Turnbull


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