Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Janet Potter

By posted at 3:00 pm on December 5, 2015 2

Books I Read in One Day (or in One or Two Multi-Hundred Page Chunks)

covercovercoverSilver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt
Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
The Martian by Andy Weir
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Best Depiction of Rural Indiana

coverMarvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno
Joe Meno’s latest novel is an incredible modern myth involving horses, a dying agrarian economy, and the idea of American masculinity, and it also happens to be the most spot-on depiction of north central Indiana in the mid-’90s I’ve ever read. See, I myself grew up in north central Indiana in the mid-’90s, and it’s not like I’ve spent the intervening years clamoring for its place in literature. “Will no one plumb the depths of Steuben County during the Clinton years?” was never the cry of my heart. But when I found it in the pages of this book, I was surprised by how deeply it affected me. Is this how New Yorkers feel every day of their lives? I met Joe Meno at a reading and we talked about Indiana, found out where the other person was from, and then said nice things to each other for five minutes because Hoosiers are raised to be pleasant.

Favorite Learned Tidbit of Presidential History

Woodrow Wilson had chronic digestive problems, which he referred to as “trouble in Central America.”

Convincing Proof that I’m the Center of the Universe

Sarah Vowell and David Mitchell are my two favorite living authors. Guns N’ Roses are my favorite band. Both Vowell and Mitchell published new books in October 2015. Both of those books mention Guns N’ Roses.

Annual Reminder that Geoff Dyer Is a Genius

coverIt’s no secret around these parts that I love Geoff Dyer. Here’s a passage from But Beautiful that provided my most breathless two minutes of reading in 2015:

The city quiet as a beach, the noise of traffic like a tide. Neon sleeping in puddles. Places shutting and staying open. People saying goodbye outside bars, walking home alone. Work till going on, the city repairing itself.

At some time all cities have this feel: in London it’s at five or six on a winter evening. Paris has it too, late, when the cafes are closing up. In New York it can happen anytime: early in the morning as the light climbs over the canyon streets and the avenues stretch so far into the distance that it seems the whole world is city; or now, as the chimes of midnight hang in the rain and all the city’s longings acquire the clarity and certainty of sudden understanding. The day coming to an end and people unable to evade any longer the nagging sense of futility that has been growing stronger through the day, knowing that they will feel better when they wake up and it is daylight again but knowing also that each day leads to this sense of quiet isolation.

More from A Year in Reading 2015

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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2 Responses to “A Year in Reading: Janet Potter”

  1. Judy Krueger
    at 2:25 pm on December 6, 2015

    Ah, excellent. You weren’t sure that you are the center of the universe? You needed proof? But I miss you at At Times Dull. This coming year I will read the LBJ trilogy. How about you? Also, did I ever mention that Joyce Carol Oates’s The Accursed includes a hilarious portrait of good old Wilson?

  2. Special K
    at 4:42 pm on December 7, 2015

    Well, that’s it, you’ve convinced me to read Meno’s book asap.
    – a fellow Hoosier

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