Certain themes keep popping up in the fiction that impressed us most this year: the potential horrors of ambiguity, the nature of immigration, the threat of state violence, mysteries that can’t be solved, and the malleability of memory. That’s not too surprising, given the year we’ve had. Here’s a look at some of our favorite fiction from the year that was.
Beginning this week, we’ll be looking back at some of the books that we enjoyed most in 2017. First up: nonfiction. Whether they were providing us with a greater understanding of the world around us, taking us on a deep dive into the mind of their authors, or offering a wry take on everyday life, these books gave us something to savor this year.
I always get something wrong in these. There’s generally one book that I utterly forget to include, remember two days later, and curse myself for leaving out. And this year, I’m throwing in some thoughts on music, so that should offer even more opportunities for retrospective regret. I’m getting in just under the wire with this one, yes indeed.
It was cold the morning after it was announced David Bowie had died. Not surprising since I live in New York City and it happened in January. Yet I found myself standing outside my apartment around six in the morning, gym clothes on, not really dressed to be idling around. I put on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, which I’ve listened to countless times since I was about 13, and simply referred to […]
I needed this. Since the election—no, this whole shitshow of a year—I’ve been cycling between fear and fury. It was good to sit for a second, and breathe, and remember that there’s beauty in the midst of so much mess. What made me laugh. What pushed me to fight. What challenged me to be better; better writer, better teacher, better parent, better partner, better human being on this planet.
What were the bright spots in a year like 2016? It was hard, certainly last month, to think of any. I kept thinking back to my conversations in May and March with the same anxiety and trepidation I have when watching some teenager walk through the night alone in a horror film. Don’t you know what’s coming? I yell at the screen, but of course, they can’t hear me. That’s the whole blessing and frustration of human lives, not being […]
One of my students—she gave permission to share her style but not her name—writes with both hands at once. She makes two-column poems that fold into and out of each other like wings flapping. Textually, both columns move towards the center, so the right is in mirror-language and as she writes she smears ink on the sides of both hands. Sometimes the columns are in dialogue, and sometimes they are completely separate. When she shares the finished poem with our […]
The following is a list of the best books, albums, podcasts, gyms of the year. 12. The Planet Fitness Near My Apartment In the past, I’ve had to go to a gym near my office, which isn’t ideal because then you’re either arriving at work very early (tired) or sticking around midtown super late (not a lot of fun). The Planet Fitness near my apartment is awesome because it’s just a few blocks from where I live. The machines are […]