In 2015, I simultaneously managed to read more and less than I have in the past decade. I ran a Twitter project called Short Story of the Day where I scoured literary journals and shared hundreds of short stories by underrepresented writers. I squeezed in a few novels and nonfiction books in an effort to stay balanced. I inhaled Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, which rested at the intersection of grief and obsession while I grappled with my own. At the start of the year I read Carola Dibbell’s novel The Only Ones; if one book has stayed with me through the year’s constant zagging, it is hers. I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and grew and learned and seethed and saw myself reflected and was all the better for it. I hunted for black voices reading black words. I downloaded the audiobook of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man because someone had the good idea to ask Joe Morton to narrate it. I discovered, somewhat late, that Toni Morrison reads all of her own audiobooks; I enjoyed a tremendous two weeks with God.
The rest was mostly comics, many on Image, almost all of them featuring people of color saving my mental health. Material, Bitch Planet, and Ms. Marvel continued to create incredible fissures in the parts of my life I thought had been permanently caulked with resignation and despair. I read Injection, Trees, ODY-C, and Descender and found air while otherwise floating in the vacuum of the internet.
The final batch of books I read this year was in preparation for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike attempt next March. They had sexy titles such as Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments for Athletes, Underfoot: A Geologic Guide to the Appalachian Trail, and Backcountry Bear Basics: The Definitive Guide to Avoiding Unpleasant Encounters. I am trying my hardest to minimize failure and death this coming year. I look forward to being a voracious reader again in 2017 in whatever remains of the country.
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