Top Picks of 2015

It is utterly insane that I’ve read 214 books this year, a 55% increase over last year. Reading has become more of an obsession than ever, my near_daily trips to the library to dump armloads of books off and load up armloads to devour. It’s almost impossible to pick out a top list from that many books. So instead, major highlights.
* Discovering Gertrude Stein _ lots of examples but Lectures in America blew me away… Gail Scott’s My Paris turned me towards GS, along with providing me with inspiration for a writing project.
* Charlotte Brontë’s Villette!
* Fanny Fern!
* Terrific forgotten gems written by women: The Dud Avocado (Elaine Dundy), Cousin to Human (Jane Mayhall), Who Are You? & Ice (both by Anna Kavan), Daughter of Earth (Agnes Smedley), Mothers and Daughters (Catherine Grace Frances Gore), The Moonflower Vine (Jetta Carleton), The Time of Man (Elizabeth Madox Roberts), Fortunes Of Richard Mahony (H.H. Richardson), Testament of Youth (Vera Brittain), Dangerous Ages (Rose Macaulay), Put Off Thy Shoes (Ethel Voynich), The Narrow House (Evelyn Scott), Picture Frames (Thyra Samter Winslow)
* Greatest hits from the Second Wave: Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex, Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics, a bunch of Andrea Dworkin, Tillie Olsen’s Silences
* Along the general theme of things moving too fast, inattention, etc.: Journal of Solitude by May Sarton, The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby, An Unknown Woman by Alice Koller, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
* Amazing new or newish: Citizen (Claudia Rankine), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara), Fifteen Dogs (Andre Alexis), The Visiting Privilege (Joy Williams), The Turner House (Angela Flournoy), Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
* Great collections of essays: The Essential Ellen Willis, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum, Forty_One False Starts (Janet Malcolm)
* Since I’m reading fewer male authors (23% vs. 77% women authors), the ones that sneak in are usually worth it. The best dudes I read in 2015: Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh, How I Read Gertrude Stein (Lew Welch), Flaubert’s Parrot (Julian Barnes), and The Odd Women (George Gissing)
* Ongoing series: I read all the Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante (not worth it), and Book 4 of Karl Ove’s never ending struggle (better than book 3)
* Non-fiction: The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy by Masha Gessen