Skip to main content

Books I Read or Reread This Year

Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith

Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

The Expendable Men by Dorothy B. Hughes

Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes

Jazz by Toni Morrison

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle

Fever Dream by Samanta Shweblin

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn and George Vecsey

The Street by Ann Petry

In the Cut by Susanne Moore

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Hotel Neversink by Adam O-Fallon Price

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

These Women by Ivy Pochoda

Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith

The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg

Come Closer by Sara Gran

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee

The Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford

Revolver by Duane Swierczynski

Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forgiveness Doesn't Fix It

In 2020, my major crisis wasn’t the virus, the tornado that damaged my kid’s school, or even the suicide bombing that occurred just a few miles from my house. It was the collapse of my marriage.  Friends have asked me if I thought our relationship would have survived if there wasn’t a pandemic. I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe the rhythm of work, school, and our kid’s extracurricular activities would have swept us along, and we wouldn’t have stared at each other’s faults for days on end. But our marriage began to dismantle years ago. Like many couples, we went through a trying time where our vows were put to the test. But our young kids’ wellbeing outweighed the grievances, so we toughed it out and stayed together.  Still, I was hurt. Really hurt. But I had to figure out how to stay in the relationship without being devoured by anger, which was foreign to me. Throughout my life, I’ve always cut the cord — I never stayed friends with ex-lovers. I’ve walked away from lifelong friendships. I ha

Fallout

The fight against COVID-19 is not like Vietnam. The fatality comparison is a poignant illustration of the magnitude, but the trauma is not the same. Vietnam was man against man. Governments colliding. National division. And sure, there’s division and bureaucratic mishandling of the pandemic, but ultimately our enemy is biological. It’s doesn’t scheme or behave in human ways. It isn’t trying to profit. It needs us alive so it can multiply. We quarantine and self-protect, but there’s no protective gear for our hearts and minds. The virus has replicated in anxiety and fear. So, we surrender and lay low, waiting for the fallout to settle before we emerge from our shelters, weary and disturbed. But some comforts and new rituals will endure. Family walks and dinners. Backyard campfires. Movies we agree on. Being quick to settle grievances. Reading together under a shade tree. The paradigm has shifted, and there’s no going back. I know it. My kids know it, too. They’ve become

The Last Taxi Driver | Lee Durkee

What do the Buddha and Bill Hicks have in common? Ask Lucky Gun Lou, the Mississippi cab driver in Lee Durkee’s dark and hilarious novel The Last Taxi Driver.   Lou suffers psychotic breaks, has spiritual aspirations, and wrestles with bitterness but aims for kindness when dealing with impossible and highly comedic situations. And though he’s often agitated, his innate sweetness shapes a compassionate view of a marginalized and often criminal society and makes him an endearing character.  His opinion of Noir at the Bar should be taken seriously, too. Lou also shares some sage driving advice. Don’t tap your brakes when somebody starts tailgating you. It’s tempting, but it can backfire. Also don’t flip him off, not yet. First try this: pretend to adjust your rearview, so that the asshole knows he has your attention. Then suddenly wave to him and smile as if you are excited to see him. This will make him worry that he knows you, and instantly he will feel like the dick he is and