2015 in Books

‘Tis the season for pointless year-end lists, so here’s another one – books read & mostly delighted in by one Haven member, w/ statistics & commentary.
Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy
The Search by Geoff Dyer
Why We Don’t Talk About Sugar by Aubrey Hirsch (h/t Jess)
Apartment Building by Joseph Musso Jr. (draft, 2015)
Echopraxia by Peter Watts
All Flesh Is Grass by Clifford D. Simak
The Cost of Lunch, Etc. by Marge Piercy
Bark by Lorrie Moore
Mastodonia by Clifford D. Simak
Tenth of December by George Saunders
A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick (h/t Wentworth)
Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It by Geoff Dyer
Project Pope by Clifford D. Simak
The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel
Not Less Than Gods by Kage Baker (h/t Robert)
Eherengard by Isak Dinesen
Emma by Jane Austen
The Doorposts of Your House and On Your Gates by Jacob Bacharach (draft)
Spurious by Lars Iyer (h/t Hank)
Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
Gloom Hearts & Opioids by John Thomas Menesini (draft)
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (h/t Bacharach)
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, tr. Ken Liu
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel (h/t Rachel S.)
Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (h/t Alex)
Please Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight by Dave Newman
The Peripheral by William Gibson
Valparaiso, Round the Horn by Madeline ffitch
Queens of the Emerald Palace by Elwin Cotman (draft)
The First Bad Man by Miranda July (2015)
Permutation City by Greg Egan (h/t Alex)
Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World  by David Abram
Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov
Waiting for the Boat: On Television by Dennis Potter
Patternmaster by Octavia Butler
The Science of Herself Plus… by Karen Joy Fowler
The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
Magenta’s Adventures Underground by Carol Lewis
A Hall of Mirrors by Robert Stone
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Between Time and Timbuktu/Prometheus-5 teleplay by David Odell, Kurt Vonnegut, etc. (h/t Silsbe)
Of Tire & Anonymity by Che Elias (2015)
The Business by Iain Banks
Three Early Stories by J.D. Salinger (h/t Che)
The Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch
How to Be an American by Ally Malinenko (draft, 2015)
Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont
The Prisoner by Thomas Disch
The Innocent by Ian McEwan (h/t Alex)
Love Songs from Flood City by Adam Matcho (draft, 2015)
Six Names of Beauty by Crispin Sartwell
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
24/7 by Jonathan Crary
White Light by Rudy Rucker
Glass City by John Grochalski
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (h/t Nick & Kyle)
Gene Mapper by Taiyo Fujii, tr. Jim Hubbert (English tr. 2015)
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (2015)
I Am Barbarella by Beth Gilstrap (2015)
The Mysterious Tongue of Doctor Vermilion by Robert Isenberg (draft, 2015)
Four Past Midnight by Stephen King (h/t Jess)
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (h/t Bender)
Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg (2015)
Poems for Jerry: A Tribute to Gerald Stern edited by John Schulman (draft, 2015)
Hot Head by Simon Ings
Two Gentlemen of Lebowski by Adam Bertocci
The Transposed Heads by Thomas Mann
The Spectral Link by Thomas Ligotti
City of the Iron Fish by Simon Ings
The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, tr. Joel Martinsen (English tr. 2015)
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
Wolves by Simon Ings
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Vathek by William Beckford (h/t Scott)
Under the Skin by Michel Faber (h/t Jess)
Case and the Dreamer by Theodore Sturgeon (h/t Kyle)
Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
Rain on the River by Jim Dodge (h/t Damien)
The Unknown Masterpiece w/ Gambara by Honore de Balzac, tr. Richard Howard
Confluence by Dan Parme (draft)
Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny (h/t Disco Ken)
Manchild by Alan Olifson (draft)
DMT & the Soul of Prophecy by Rick Strassman
Where by Kit Reed (2015)
Cloud, Castle, Lake by Vladimir Nabokov (Pocket Penguin, 3/5 reread)
Veniss Underground by Jeff Vandermeer (h/t Alex)
Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham
The Green Season by Robert Isenberg (2015)
Hard Words by Ursula K. Le Guin
Vanishing Point by David Markson (h/t Hank)
A Brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas, tr. Anne McLean & Thomas Bunstead (English tr. 2015, h/t Hank)

I also tried to read Existence by David Brin & gave up after 4 chapters of it getting on my nerves for some reason.

STATISTICS & COMMENTARY

Out of 93 books (read, by & large, as I wilted)…
72 were by doods, 21 by womyn.
86 were by whitey, 7 by POC.
All authors were/are cis, far as I know; & I don’t know which way(s) most of them swing or swung sexually, but presume het for the majority. Anyway, I own that’s no good inclusivitywise & resolve to do better next year.
33 were science fiction. My coolest new discoveries there were Jennifer Marie Brissett, Cixin Liu, Simon Ings, & Michel Faber.
7 were nonfiction. Stand-outs here were The Spell of the Sensuous, Six Names of Beauty, & 24/7, all unreservedly recommended.
7 were poetry (or primarily poetry in the case of the Dodge) collections, 5 of which I helped manifest in some capacity, 2 of which (the Dodge & Le Guin) I didn’t, all of which I enjoyed. Yeesh, I will read more poetry collections in 2016 too.
13 were story collections. Exceptional among these, Madeline ffitch’s debut collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn, Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others, & Cloud, Castle, Lake, which was a reread except for 2 stories.
3 were plays or teleplays – the Vonnegut mashup & Potter collection were solid, but Two Gentlemen of Lebowski had me rolling, so it wins this category.
16 were published, or published for the first time in English, in 2015. Of these, the most impressive (that I was uninvolved w/ the production of) were The First Bad Man, The Dark Forest, & A Brief History of Portable Literature. Of the ones I worked on in whatever sense, & read (& reread) as drafts, Apartment Building, How to Be an American, Love Songs from Flood City, Glass City (along w/ the other Low Ghost 2nd editions), The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermilion, Poems for Jerry, & The Green Season are currently available from Amazon & less ethically dubious retailers (least ethically dubious of which, the authors themselves). Obviously I think they’re all fine, upstanding books, but I say that of all my children & am fain to praise them all to the heavens equally. Do check them out though!
42 were by authors I hadn’t read books by before (although in 8 of those cases I was already a fan of their blogs, plays, films, etc) vs. 51 in my area of comfort, i.e. authors whose other books I’ve read & enjoyed. Finally getting around to Austen, Faulkner, Mann, & Balzac was great, & I plan to read more books by each of them next year.
Thanks to everyone who rec’d or pushed books on me: Don, Robert, Jake, Rachel, Alex, Che, Scott, Nick, Kyle, Bender, Damien, Ken, Jess, & anyone I forgot. Stand-outs among those recommendations were The Secret Agent, Permutation City, The Innocent, A Fire Upon the Deep, Vathek, Under the Skin, Rain on the River, & Doorways in the Sand. & special distinction goes to Haven irregular Hank Morris (& Kris Collins at Desolation Row/Caliban Books) for turning me on to Lars Iyer, David Markson, & Enrique Vila-Matas.
Most-read authors: Simon Ings (3), Clifford D. Simak (3), Geoff Dyer (2), Robert Isenberg (2), Cixin Liu (2), Vladimir Nabokov (2), Roger Zelazny (2).
Thanks to Desolation Row/Caliban, East End Book Exchange, Big Idea, Carnegie Library, the Frisbee Birdhouse, & everyone who gave or loaned me books.

ALSO, here are far from complete lists of short stories & comics I enjoyed this year, w/ links.

Stories:
The Slave’s Hour by Elwin Cotman (Xmas card)
The Honking Tunnel by Liz Abeling (draft)
The Petals Abide by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
a bunch of other Ethan Robinson recs
a bunch of stories on Strange Horizons
McBurglar and the Man o’ War by Jess Simms (draft)
Bad Day at Black Bloc by Nick Mamatas
a bunch of drafts by Christine Stoddard
One Story‘s monthly stories (h/t Jess)
Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (reread)
Triggered by Elwin Cotman (draft)
Stick a Pin in Me by Vajra Chandrasekera
The Glad Hosts by Rebecca Campbell
The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti
If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky
Mangled Up in Tangled Up Knots by Jess Simms (draft)
Retrotopia serial 1-12 by John Michael Greer
Lars Breaxface: Werewolf in Space serial 1-17 by Brandon Getz
Genius Loci by Clark Ashton Smith
all the stuff in the Summer/Fall 2015 The New Yinzer
Daughter of the Deep by Robert Isenberg (draft)
Don’t Count on It by Jess Simms (draft)
Anima by Taylor Grieshober
Aye, and Gomorrah by Samuel R. Delaney (reread)
Rust Belt Heroin Chic by Ben Gwin
Unicorn Tears & Outside Wheeling by Brandon Getz

other drafts of stories by Haven members & pals

all the cool stuff I heard performed at readings

COMICS
Top of the Line by Daniel McCloskey
Free Money 1-3 by Daniel McCloskey (drafts)
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
The Claws Come Out by Pat Lewis
Sinfest (webcomic, 2015 strips) by Tatsuya Ishida
You Can Did It 1-2 by Nils Balls & Mike Carretta

That’s it. Happy reading in 2016!

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