Tag Archives: Steven Millhauser

Best Books of 2015

Well, hello, Dear Readers,

It is time now for my list of my favorite books that I read in 2015. I read a good amount of books (*by good, I may mean an extremely large number of books). Some were published in 2015 and some were not. The only books I deemed ineligible were ones which I reread in 2015 but had read for the first time in a previous year. I also decided to only select one book per author in cases where I read multiple books by the same author over the course of the year.

The numerical order is (as always) irrelevant. I just really enjoy putting numbers in front of things.

1.) Lock In by: John Scalzi. This book not only does something brilliant with narrative voice and a reader’s perceptions, but also is a clever and fun mystery that also has an extremely brilliant sci-fi premise.

2.) Trigger Warning by: Neil Gaiman. This isn’t my favorite overall Gaiman story collection, but there are some stunning gems in here and, honestly, even just “good” Gaiman is still pretty awesome.

3.) Voices in the Night by: Steven Millhauser. Now, yes, I love Millhauser. I love Millhauser times one million. But, I REALLY loved this collection. Millhauser might be getting even better as a writer, which is somewhat mind blowing that that is even possible.

4.) Ways of Going Home by: Alejandro Zambra. This is a slim book. Yet, it seems like it was overflowing with pages (in a good way). Nine months after reading it, I’m still thinking about how beautiful this book was.

5.) Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of the Afterlife by: Deborah Blum. Yes, this subject matter is to me what catnip is to a cat. However, Blum’s writing makes this also an excellent and compelling read for anyone.

6.)  The Skeleton Road by: Val McDermid. I’d never read McDermid before and went in expecting a good, but maybe light mystery. What I got was an extremely well-written novel about the weight of guilt and the lasting effects of violence.

7.) Ghosts: A Natural History by: Roger Clarke. Enjoyable and expansive. Just what I was looking for.

8.) Unbecoming by: Rebecca Scherm. I have some qualms with the end of this novel, but up to that point this was a brilliant and unsettling character study.

9.) Baba Yaga by: Toby Barlow. This book is perfect. I need say no more.

10.) Finders Keepers and Bazaar of Bad Dreams by: Stephen King. Neither of these Kings were perfect, or even top-King, but each had some parts that were top-King and, dammit, I love Stephen King. So, I’m including both, because together the excellent parts added up to some quality reading.

11.) There’s Something I Want You to Do by: Charles Baxter. Man. Man. This writing was exquisite. One of my favorite collections I’ve read in a long time.

12.) Wallflowers by: Eliza Robertson. If you haven’t read a story by Robertson, I suggest you do so RIGHT NOW. If she’s not on best young writers lists soon, soon, soon, then I will be appalled.

13.) Three Moments of an Explosion by: China Mieville. Let me count the ways I love Mieville. Or, maybe, I shouldn’t because there are thousands. He is all that is perfect.

14.) Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale by: Marina Warner. It is short, but it’s also dense. And, as always with Warner, the writing and scholarship are excellent.

15.) Windows on the World: 50 Writers, 50 Views by: Matteo Pericoli. Just lovely little snapshots into writers.

16.) Wonders of the Invisible World by: Christopher Barzak. Barzak just keeps on impressing me. His writing is lovely and filled with heart in  a way that many writers can’t accomplish without feeling treacly.

17.) Slade House by: David Mitchell. I’ve had Mitchell issues before. But I loved this one: creepy, evocative, and a read in one sitting book.

18.) Fifteen Dogs by: Andre Alexis. Alexis writes so beautifully that I often feel intensely jealous. And then I just feel happy that I get to read his work. Warning: I’m not someone who cries during reading (except for rare moments. JK Rowling, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID), but I had to put this book down several times because I was actually shaking from how heartbreaking some of it is.

19.) Half an Inch of Water by: Percival Everett. Everett’s writing always shines and in these short stories that shine comes through even more. Lovely.

20.) The Buried Giant by: Kazuo Ishiguro. I debated including this title. It was wonderfully written (which shouldn’t be a surprise with Ishiguro at the helm) but it was by no means my favorite of his works. It’s flawed, in many ways, and yet, months later I continue to go back to some of the ideas and images.


And here’s to a hopefully equally brilliant 2016 in books!



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The Great Summer Reading List (well, some of it)

So, I’ve been preparing my summer reading list (along with a list of things I want to bake/ cook over the summer).  Some of the texts are for my thesis (although, essentially, I would have read these all anyway just, perhaps, not in a bunch), some will be rereads (hello Harry Potter, I am prepared to sob for the umpteenth time), and many will be completely new (and a lot are from this year. This is a phenomenal year for books coming out by authors I love. So, well done 2015, well done).

Here is a small sampling of the some hundred+ (yeah, that’s not a typo. I HAVE TO HAVE MY DREAMS) books on my list. Obviously, this isn’t by any means all the books (and the fun thing about book lists is that, inevitably, I’ll go off list and pick up random books at the library or read a reference to a book that I then just have to read), but it is an eclectic sampling of the BOOKS. (Oh gosh, summer, I’m so looking forward to you).

A Very Incomplete List of Some of the Books I’ll Be Reading

Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by: Samira Kawash

The Buried Giant by: Kazuo Ishiguro

The Tusk that Did the Damage by: Tania James

Phantom Waters by: Jessica Amanda Salmonson

Ghosts of Iceland by: Robert Anderson

The Grace of Kings by: Ken Liu

Lock In by: John Scalzi

Voices in the Night by: Steven Millhauser

Religion and the Decline of Magic by: Keith Thomas

Not in Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America by: Christine Wicker

Ghost Hunters by: Deborah Blum

Girl on the Train by: Paula Hawkins

DNA by: Yrsa Sigurdardottir (if I can get my greedy paws on an international copy, since the US IS VERY BEHIND IN TERMS OF SIGURDARDOTTIR)

Chinese Ghost Stories by: Lafcadio Hearn

A God in Ruins by: Kate Atkinson

Oof and now I need to stop before I decide to just forsake the end of the semester and start reading all of the things. So, dear readers, what’s on your summer reading list? You know, I could always use more book recommendations (it’s a sickness. I’m okay with it).



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Some One Else is Speaking

(This poem was inspired by a favorite passage in a short story by one of my favorite authors, the amazing Steven Millhauser: “You pass through a world so thick with phantoms that there is barely enough room for anything else.”—Steven Millhauser)

I want my ghosts

immediate. There should be

no creaking floors,

no strange footstep

falling. There should only be

you in the darkened room,

doors open wide

to let the night seep

in and tell you something

you never thought you’d know.

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