2017 Reading List

43. Landscape with Sex and Violence by Lynn Melnick
I don’t want to hear about all the empowerment

I failed to find.

42.
Inadequate Grave by Brandon Courtney
The sea preserves a sailor’s/ name in salt

41.
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.

40.
Gilt by Raena Shirali
That’s when
we heard it. Quiet, like a long scream trapped

under a layer of glass.

39.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone.

38.
The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove
Is this a voice that will be remembered? Did he or she make an impact that mattered?

37.
They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
Writing well means entering into conversation with others.

36.
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
Everything in food works together to create health or disease.

35.
Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel
Effortful learning changes your brain, making new connections, building mental models, increasing your capability. The implication of this is powerful: Your intellectual abilities lie to a large degree within your own control.

34.
Good Bones by Maggie Smith
I am in the sky,
but do not pray to me.
I have no power here.

33.
Landscape with Headless Mama by Jennifer Givhan
What I’m asking is how we carry on.

32.
The Second Sister by Claire Kendal
Wherever you are, I always will be.

31.
Testify by Douglas Manuel
Crack somersaults in his veins,
but he is here, her wet, black hair

dripping on the back of his hand.

30.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
When you reach the stars, boy, yes, and live there forever, all the fears will go, and death himself will die.

29.
What She Ate by Laura Shapiro
She was the rare feminist, possibly the only feminist, with an unabashed commitment to male supremacy.

28.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?

27. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
My mother was good to people and she was mean to people. And sometimes, she was good and mean to the same person at the same time.

26.
A Doll for Throwing by Mary Jo Bang
They said without saying that what we were building must be destroyed.

25.
The Faithful Place by Tana French
I leaned my arms on the Ha’penny Bridge where people used to pay half a penny to cross the Liffey, I looked out at the Custom House and the shifting streams of lights and the steady dark roll of the river under the falling snow, an dI hope to God that somehow or other, before it was too late, we would all find our way back home.

24.
The Secret Place by Tana French
She bites down on her cheek till she tastes blood, and with one arc of her hand she sweeps a long rustle like a black wing all around the tops of the cypresses.

23.
Ain’t No Grave by TJ Jarrett
Is that what being dead is like? Everyone you love
housed in one room and dancing. You hovering above.

22.
The Trespasser by Tana French
Dozens and dozens of people, they just keep coming, and every single one of their heads is crammed with stories they believe and stories they want to believe and stories someone else has made them believe, and every story is battering against the thin walls of the person’s skull, drilling and gnawing for its chance to escape and attack someone else, bore its way in and feed off that mind, too.

21.
Mischief by Fay Weldon
This is a sad story. It has to be. It rained in Sarajevo, and we had expected fine weather.

20.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
I have been living in this unruly body for more than twenty years.

19.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
In the restaurant car all was in readiness.

18.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women.

17.
A Bestiary by Lily Hoang
I internalized her words as fact.

16.
Easy to Kill by Agatha Christie
“A man who is a child is the most frightening thing in the world.”

15.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

14.
Pain Woman Takes Your Keys by Sonya Huber
I had nothing to do but go back to the pain, my constant companion.

13.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Instead of speaking, I remained silent. Words cannot fill the faithless with faith.

12.
Sycamore by Kathy Fagan
The world was already rising around us; all we had to do was wait.

11.
Prehistoric by John Paul Stadler
At the bottom of the well, Joseph soothes his peeled palms in the corrugating pool.

10.
You On Mars: Failed Sci-Fi Stories by Jennifer A. Howard
You are very far away, and I can only see the shake of your hair and your belly heavy with excited breath on my screen, here at mission control, but hang on. I’m coming for you.

9.
Surviving in Drought by Brad Aaron Modlin
Our neighbors intend to vote about wedding cake and who deserves them. They shove a sign into their front yard to prove it.

8. patient. by Bettina Judd
In 2006 I had an ordeal with medicine. To recover, I learn why ghosts come to me. The research question is: Why am I patient?

7.
Skin Divers by Anne Michaels
The truth likes to hide
out in the open.

6.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
“I thought you were one of the smart ones,” Valentine said. “Don’t you know? White man ain’t going to do it. We have to do it ourselves.”

5.
Miner’s Pond by Anne Michaels
What I learned then sustains me
through every sorrow:
it’s the believer who keeps looking for proof.

4.
The Weight of Oranges by Anne Michaels
Grief strikes where love struck first.

3.
Correspondences by Anne Michaels and Bernice Eisenstein
after all, after all
there was no longer paranoia,
no such category as too much
fear

2.
Blackacre by Monica Youn
She knew herself, still, to be a creature bounded by gravity.

1.
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
So powerful are race- and status-based disgusts that explorers have starved to death rather than eat like the locals.