The Weirdness: A Novel

New Price: $4.23
Used Price: $4.23

Mentioned in:

A Year in Reading: Catie Disabato

While most of my life I’ve been interested in long narratives that I could really live inside, something about the overall vibes of 2015 got me into a mood to dip in and out of multiple stories, and/or to get in and out quick. After years of side-eyeing books of short stories without ever really diving in, I finally spent some real time with them. I fell in love with Amelia Gray’s Gutshot; I started many Sunday mornings trying to work my brain out of a hangover, opening to a random page and reading a very short story very slowly. At AWP, I stopped at the booth for the Austin-based indie press A Strange Object and picked up Nicholas Grider’s Misadventure after hearing Grider had written a piece that was a catalogue of ex-lovers. “Formers (An Index)” is my favorite story in the book.

My brain was also primed for poetry this year and I finally picked up Dorothea Lasky’s Thunderbird, which contains my favorite contemporary poem “Why It Is a Black Life” (the text of which I framed and hung in my closet). I discovered the poem right next to it in Thunderbird, “The World Doesn’t Care,” excites me just as much. I read the two poems out loud to myself dozens of times this year; they always steadied me.

At a few points during 2015, strong voices pulled me in for longer periods of time. Jeremy Bushnell’s The Weirdness was the best straight-up novel I read all year and I loved Leon Neyfakh’s The Next Next Level, an examination of what looking at another person can make us learn about ourselves.

Most of the rest of the books I read this year contributed to my ongoing project of trying to figure out how to live as a difficult woman by reading about difficult women. I’m no closer to answers but I read well: Kate Zambreno’s chapbook Apoplexia, Toxic Shock, and Toilet Bowl: Some Notes On Why I Write, Amelia Morris’s memoir Bon Appétempt: A Coming-of-Age Story, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Chelsea Hodson’s Pity the Animal, reality TV star Courtney Robertson’s I Didn’t Come Here To Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality TV Villain, Lili Anolik’s dark teen girl mystery Dark Rooms, Eve Babitz’s Eve’s Hollywood, and Carrie Brownstein’s new memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.

More from A Year in Reading 2015

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

The good stuff: The Millions’ Notable articles

The motherlode: The Millions’ Books and Reviews

Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.

A Year in Reading: Rachel Cantor

I divide this year’s shortlist into three categories: Tales Well Told, Fun Stuff, and Miracles of Voice.

Tales Well Told includes books with stories that captivated. In some cases I wasn’t sure why I liked the book, but I just wanted to keep reading. More, more! These were the books I left parties early to go home to read (or for which, more likely, I skipped the party), the ones that might have caused me to miss my subway stop had I read them on the subway, but I usually didn’t because I had already read them through the night before. Gripping stories, unexpected turns of plot, I have to know what happens next! More, more, more! Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, which I picked up having been entranced by her reading at last year’s Brooklyn Book Festival; Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, every bit as wonderful as Wolf Hall; two impressive and chilling debut novels: The Kept by James Scott and Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You; Robin Black’s Life Drawing, which I read in one sitting; Elizabeth Kadetsky’s transporting The Poison that Purifies You; Jay Cantor’s Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka, hand-sold to me by a very smart bookseller; and Richard Yates’s The Easter Parade, recommended to me by some wise person on Facebook when I said I was looking for something sad — what that man does with dialogue!

I tend to read a lot of Fun Stuff — by which I mean lively work that makes me laugh, enjoyable books, playful books, entertaining and absurd books. Among the best I read this year were Steve Stern’s The Frozen Rabbi; Jeremy Bushnell’s The Weirdness; Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life; and the brilliant, moving, and otherwise-perfect-in-every-way How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu.

The largest group of loved books this year and probably every year are Miracles of Voice, almost all of which, perhaps because of their eccentricities, are small press books: Alissa Nutting’s riveting collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls; Lore Segal’s witty and sad Half the Kingdom; Jeff Jackson’s startling Mira Corpora; Submergence, J.M. Ledgard’s gorgeous tour de force; Catherine Lacey’s stunning Nobody Is Ever Missing; Kevin Barry’s captivating City of Bohane; and, perhaps above all, Patrick McCabe’s heartbreaking The Butcher Boy, the voice of which stayed in my head for many inconvenient days when I was trying to write my own original pages.

More from A Year in Reading 2014

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

The good stuff: The Millions’ Notable articles

The motherlode: The Millions’ Books and Reviews

Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.

Surprise Me!

BROWSE BY AUTHOR