Anne Carson, Nox
“NOX’s intelligence, sadness, and wry humor alone might be enough, but its form takes me even more. To read NOX is sensual. You handle the folds, opening one winged pair at a time or in quick, Slinky unfurlings. And this read is not linear, with pages dissolving behind you as you turn, but spatial, more like letting your eyes wander a room.”
- Jane Alison, who chose NOX for her Year in Reading piece last year.
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you all so much for following along with our annual Year in Reading feature.
There’s nothing quite like a solid, personal recommendation, as Nick Moran writes in his wrap up:
We also recognize that it’s becoming easier than ever to rely on algorithms and lists for one’s book recommendations – and while there are some treasures to be found through such means, there is nothing quite like the warmth of an actual human being’s testimony to vouchsafe your next reading choice. We hope that these articles have turned you on to new writers – authors of books selected by others, or authors of the articles themselves.
Click through to see which books appeared mot frequently across the 72 articles, the average author age of the 214 recommended books, and other noteworthy bits of data Nick has pseudo-scientifically collected from the series.
And as always, happy reading!
For the most part I establish a loose plan for the year that dips into unread classics, keeps tabs on new releases, and delves deeper into favorite authors.
The LA Times called her “The finest British writer alive.” Julian Barnes called her “the best English novelist of her time.” Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) began publishing at the age of fifty-eight and produced nine novels, three biographies, and a book of short stories by the time she died at eighty-three. Her third novel, Offshore, won the Booker Prize in 1979, while her final novel,The Blue Flower, was named Book of the Year by nineteen British newspapers in 1995 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1997.
I was given a copy of the British philosopher Gillian Rose’s memoir Love’s Work by a journalist who interviewed me when my novel came out this summer; he said that my book somehow reminded him of hers. This would be an incredibly vainglorious way for me to begin here, and I suppose it will remain so no matter what I say, but I promise you, that’s not what I meant.
Why do we read?” That was the journal prompt given one day to seniors at the International High School at Prospect Heights, a Brooklyn public school that teaches English to newly arrived immigrants and refugees from around the world. I spent a year at the school reporting my first book, The New Kids. During that time I heard many, many journal prompts, but this one made a lasting impression, in part because of one student’s answer. “We read to survive in the world,” wrote Hasanatu, who had grown up in Sierra Leone during the war, “because when we know how to read, we can have job.
“If you took the short forms and odd structural techniques of Lydia Davis and wedded them to the fantastic impulses of Ray Bradbury, you would get something like these books, which together contain some two hundred strange, pliant, elliptical, yet surprisingly tender treatments of angels, rain, lullabies, minotaurs, moons, zen masters, literature, and time travel.”
— Kevin Brockmeier’s Year In Reading
Imagine Ibsen’s Peer Gynt rewritten four-handedly by a bisexual Joyce and a mystical Musil, and you’re about halfway there.