"“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” - James Baldwin"
— Tiferet Journal
"Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia."
— Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say - The Washington Post
"A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.
“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”"
Study: Reading Fiction Makes People Comfortable With Ambiguity
In reverse chronological order, below, find 33 novels/story collections and two nonfiction memoirs/manifestos.
In retrospect, this list leans heavily towards contemporary “literary fiction” by women. It’s in reverse, so if you study it carefully from the bottom up you can see I went through a “contemporary Jewish women’s lit” phase with an embedded “Israel extremist tales of woe” subset, a “hot books you must.read.now” phase and my early year “fuck white men” phase, inspired by reading Jeffrey Eugenides during the holiday season of 2011.
And also of course there are a few more frothy selections—not guilty, just pleasures—in there.
Not my best year ever, but a decent showing! I also read a very healthy handful of selections from the Pen/O’Henry stories and the Best American stories. Speaking of short stories, one thing I started doing this year which is cool is using instapaper to save stories from litmags like Hunger Mountain, the Paris Review, Joyland, Electric Literature, Tablet and elsewhere, and read them during odd moments. So though it’s not reflected here, my short story quotient I think went way up in 2012.
- Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures / Straub, Emma
- The Middlesteins/ Attenberg, Jami
- A White Wind Blew /Markert, James
- The Hobbit/ Tolkien, J.R.R. (re-read)
- The Movement of Stars: A Novel/ Brill, Amy
- Who by Fire: A Novel by Diana Spechler
- Wherever You Go: A Novel / Leegant, Joan
- The Gods of Heavenly Punishment: A Novel / Epstein, Jennifer Cody
- Moving Waters /Rosett, Racelle
- A Wedding in Great Neck /McDonough, Yona Zeldis
- The Fun Parts/ Lipsyte, Sam
- The Casual Vacancy /Rowling, J.K.
- Nicholas Nickleby / Dickens, Charles
- Penelope /Harrington, Rebecca
- How to Be a Woman /Moran, Caitlin
- Silver Sparrow /Jones, Tayari
- How Should a Person Be? /Heti, Sheila
- The Custom of the Country /Wharton, Edith
- Seating Arrangements/ Shipstead, Maggie
- Gone Girl /Flynn, Gillian
- Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1) /Young, Moira
- Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall, #1) /Mantel, Hilary
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail /Strayed, Cheryl
- Blueprints for Building Better Girls: Fiction /Schappell, Elissa
- Daughters-in-Law /Trollope, Joanna
- Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12) /Harris, Charlaine
- Shadow Tag /Erdrich, Louise
- Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)/ James, E.L.
- The Temple Of My Familiar /Walker, Alice
- The Wife /Wolitzer, Meg
- Cat’s Eye/ Atwood, Margaret
- Love Marriage: A Novel /Ganeshananthan, V.V.
- The Master Blaster/ Kluge, P.F.
- Death Comes to Pemberley/ James, P.D.
- The Girl Who Fell from the Sky /Durrow, Heidi W.
mother-ash-dirt said: I love your idea of a "diet" from books written by white men. It really does take a conscious effort to read outside of the white male canon. I think you have just influenced my next few book choices. Thanks! I'll be looking through your list for inspiration.
That is so awesome! Definitely let me know how your reading adventures go. I’ve been meaning to write more about this “diet” and now you’ve inspired me to craft a piece about it. Tumblr rules!