This comes about a month too late, but I just got the hankering to put together a list of the books I read last year. It’s an interesting way to reflect on a year past. I definitely went through a female-authored “novel-from-life” phase — but so does/should everyone who reads Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be. I would say the best book on the list is Grapes of Wrath; Steinbeck is phenomenal and the themes of the book (the division and control of wealth, agri-business, racism, the American dream, ect.) are still incredibly relevant today. I also fell in love with Edith Wharton a little after reading Age of Innocence and will definitely be reading more of her (House of Mirth is next). The title sounds like a book you would be forced to read in high school (and the Bantham Classic edition I got from the library didn’t make it any more visually appealing), but her portrayal of 1870s New York City is dramatic, feminist and totally well-written. Health O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals was also a favourite; I bought at least two copies as gifts after reading it.

So thus begins my list. It’s not very long, but I may have forgotten a book or two and I also run a business and drink a lot.

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
Lullabies for Little Criminals – Heather O’Neill
How Should a Person Be – Sheila Heti
The Middle Stories – Sheila Heti
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami (I only read half of this one… No one tell me what happens to Kafka)
The Easter Parade – Richard Yates
Bossy Pants – Tina Fey
How Happy to Be – Katrina Onstaad
The Devil – Leo Tolstoy
Come Thou Tortoise – Jessica Grant

I am currently reading Cloud Atlas because someone gave it to me for Christmas. Sadly, the cover has Tom Hanks on it, which is just not who I want to think about when I think about fiction, ever.

Also of note, 2012 is the year I determined that Jonathan Safran Foer is my nemesis (this is likely in a one-sided relationship). The fact that he published Everything is Illuminated at 25 and that for me reading at the age of 26 was a huge struggle proves that he is smarter than me and thus, I shall be forced to battle through whatever he comes up with next… except for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I watched the movie instead.

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