Friday, January 5, 2024

Best Books I Read in December

It's only the first week in January and I'm already behind. I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way. December is so busy for three weeks, then nothing -- except good cheer and reading and cheese. Then back to the grind. But so, I read a ton of books in December* -- here are the best five:

Trees, by Percival Everett -- Are novels about racism, lynching, and mass killings supposed this to be funny?  I'd never read Percival Everett before and a bookseller friend (Javier at Exile in Bookville, if you know him) recently told me how big a fan he is, so I sheepishly asked him for a good starting point, and this novel -- which is marvelous! -- is what he gave me.  If you're up for the snappiest, wittiest dialogue, a lively irreverence, and a foundation of sad truth, this is a read for you

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott -- Goal for 2024: Read many, many more craft of writing books. So I started in December with one of the "cornerstones of the genre." Really good, really inspiring. 

The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese -- I wasn't as breathlessly impressed with this long, epic novel as most readers, but it sure has its moments. And some fantastic twists and turns. If you liked Cutting For Stone, you'll enjoy this too. 

Terrace Story, by Hilary Leichter -- Thanks to my friend Brooke for making me read this BONKERS story about ... I'm still not entirely sure, except that it's about a married couple and their mysterious friend and a terrace that magically appears outside their apartment. You just have to read it. It's a small (less than 200 pages) but mighty novel that explores the amorphous nature of space, time, reality...and marital fidelity. 

A Little Devil In America, by Hanif Abdurraqib -- This man can write an essay. 

*Note: With a strong finish in December, my 2023 ended up as my best reading year ever, page-wise: Total of 27,880 pages (and 77 total books). It's not a competition, I know.