Year in Read, 2012

2012: Well, the world didn’t explode, though parts of it did go under. The high of 2012 was the Big Sur Marathon; the low was crying in a parking lot in Broomfield. The best meals were the Kosher Fried Chicken, the Vert practice dinner party and the Momofuku Pork Butt. The worst meals were the many times I had two Eggo Waffles and an avocado for dinner. In the past 12 months, I voted in a swing state, hiked two 14-ers, swam in a creek, pond, and an ocean, wrote some, and read more. After the jump, the books I read over the past year.

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

I like the Midwest, I like Moby-Dick, and I like gay people, but I didn’t like this book. Which is too bad, because everyone else seemed to really enjoy it, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good book.

Like Life, Lorrie Moore

The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides

Big Sur, Jack Kerouac

It’s hard to take Jack Kerouac seriously as an adult.

The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

This is a book about black migration during Jim Crow era. The bookmark in my copy is a ticket to a Denver Nuggets game.

The After-Life, Donald Antrim

Related recommendation: “I Bought A Bed

Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis

I guess I find nihilism aesthetically pleasing, because I really enjoyed this book. I thought it had something real to say about the 80s entitled teenage experience. Related: If Only There Were a Book Club For Every Literary Experience I Have, Less Than Zero Edition.

Scenes in America Deserta, Reyner Banham

The American desert fascinates me, but I couldn’t imagine living somewhere so inherently inhospitable to life.

Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel

The Gaggle, Jessica Massa (with Rebecca Wiegand)

My friends wrote a dating self-help book!

After Henry, Joan Didion

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra

Desperate Characters, Paula Fox

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

A woman finds herself while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Obviously, you want to hate it, but there’s no way to. It’s a great book.

Coming Into the Country, John McPhee

Red Letter Secondhand Books and Alfalfa’s are my favorite retail establishments in Boulder. They’re the first two stores I visited east of the continental divide in Colorado, and though they are now places I frequent regularly, they still remind me of my road trip buddy. Whenever I go to Red Letter, I usually buy a book he would like. He’s the one who introduced me to John McPhee, and I bought this book here. If you’re curious about the Last Frontier and people who would literally rather pull their tooth out themselves than be apart of society, this is the book for you.

Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, Anonymous

Great title, obviously. That’s the best part of it

Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld (reread)

I Don’t Care About Your Band, Julie Klausner*

Columbine, Dave Cullen

Once A Runner, John L. Parker, Jr.

Runners believe this book is great in the same way that cyclists believe Lance Armstrong was clean.

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

I didn’t like this book in 1999 and I didn’t like it in 2012.

Rock Springs, Richard Ford

Previously. If you have any interest in the short form, the American West and loneliness, you should read this book.

Nothing to Envy, Barbara Demick

Usually the people of a repressed state know they’re starving, their leaders are dictators and life is lacking. The citizens of North Korea have no idea. There’s a lot that’s less than ideal in America, but at least we can talk about the problems. Plus, there’s tons of food. No book has made me feel luckier to be an American.

On Writing, Stephen King*

This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz

The best book about failed love I’ve ever read.

The Sportswriter, Richard Ford

Look at Me, Jennifer Egan*

Midnight in Sicily, Peter Robb*

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Oh man. Do you want to have that feeling of not being able to put a book down? Then read this one

Goodbye, Columbus, Philip Roth (reread)

I first read this novella when I was 20 and in love for the first time. Reading it now, when my understanding of emotional intimacy has evolved to include a willingness to do tedious things with another person, was a completely different experience. I wasn’t rooting for Neil and Brenda anymore; I could see how a life for them would be pretty miserable. Even so, I had to put the book down when Neil was visiting Boston. Related.

In Strange Gardens, Peter Hamm

The Secret Race, Tyler Hamilton

If you’re curious about subcultures and athletics, this book is a good read.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway (reread)

This book feels like a secret between Ernest Hemingway and me, and every time I reread it, it becomes funnier and sadder.

* = Didn’t finish.

Previously read: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006