My Year End List of Books I Didn’t Get To

It happens every year. I want to read so many books and I uncontrollably start stacking towers of them all around my desk at work, my desk at home, and even in my Future Tense closet and on top of the washer and dryer. I NEED MORE BOOKSHELVES! Plus, more time to read! Also, a faster brain! Maybe I should read one of those speed reading books. Do people actually speed read books for enjoyment?

I confess that I’m kind of a slow reader, plus, you know, there’s been a lot of good TV this year (Hello, Nashville! Hi, Transparent. I’m going to miss you, Parenthood!). Also, there has been collaging (I ❤ you so much, collaging!!!). But I’ve still been able to read almost fifty books this year somehow (helps to read short books). However, it’s never enough. Here is my list of the top ten books I meant to read this year that I’ll definitely read in 2015.

The Free by Willy Vlautin

I have read every other Vlautin book and loved them all so much. But I somehow developed a slight disinterest in reading novels this year (in favor of poetry, memoir, and hybrid weirdness). But still: What is taking me so long to get to this one.

Revolution of Every Day by Cari Luna

Cari and I are label-mates (I think that’s what you call other writers on the same press as you, right?). She is an awesome friend and often smart and funny at the same time. Sometimes I avoid fiction that feels political or message-y but CL has assured me that her book is essentially about people–because she knows I’m a sucker for stories about people–especially underdogs! OK OK–I’m moving this up the list right away!


The Other Side by Lacy M. Johnson

Really enjoyed meeting Lacy this past summer and her reading at Powell’s was super powerful. I love the fragmented format of this memoir and it was edited by my awesome editor at Tin House, Masie Cochran.

What’s Important Is Feeling by Adam Wilson

Another guy I hosted at Powell’s who rocked the crowd with his funny, Sam Lipsyte-ish prose style. I’ve read about half of the book and need to slurp down the rest of this delicious brew.


If I Don’t Breathe How Do I Sleep by Joe Wenderoth

I worship Wenderoth’s classic, Letters to Wendy’s, but sometimes have a hard time getting into his poetry. Still, he’s such an enigma, I will always look at anything he writes.

Backup Singers by Sommer Browning

Another friend and someone I’ve even published, Sommer is someone who writes really funny, often surprising poems of wit and sass. Birds, LLC is one of my favorite poetry presses. I’m just going to read one poem really quick… oh, that was great.


The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Longtime Portland writer Denfeld has written some powerful nonfiction in the past and a couple of my Powell’s co-workers have raved incessantly about this book, so I better check it out…someday, damnit!

Who Can Make It by Mike Young

This is a freaking chapbook. Why don’t I have time to read thirty magical pages of freaky poem action from one of my favorite young writers? WHY!?


Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag by Sigrid Nunez

I’ve been wanting to read more about Sontag (I actually met her with Annie Leibovitz in 1999) and this book has a really interesting angle. Nunez was Sontag’s son’s girlfriend and saw the author of Against Interpretation as a mentor.

Sugar Skull by Charles Burns

Graphic novels are wonderful things and the ones by Mr. Burns are quick and weird and deliciously fucked up. I’m going to cross this baby off my list very soon.

Okay, so here’s to 2015! Now give me more reading time and wish me luck!

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