Before it came out, I read a blurb about, “Night Boat to Tangier,” something like, “two past their prime Irish drug smugglers ponder their life and times while stuck waiting in a Spanish ferry terminal.” I was sold. Humbled gangsters? Tough guys out of their element? I’m in. I pre-ordered the book. I’d never read Kevin Barry before.
A few months later the book came. After a chapter or two, I put it down and said to myself, “this is one of those smart Irish guy books.”
It actually feels like a year has gone by – maybe even longer – but I figure that’s what you are supposed to write in year in review posts right? Time flies, it’s crazy!
I’ll try and keep this short and sweet. I mostly gave up reading the New Yorker so fastidiously, which really upped my book learning this year. I also got pretty hardcore about listening to books as opposed to podcasts (for the most part) when I’m in the car and at the gym. The result was I was able to complete 44 books this year. That’s versus 24 last year. Yay. I have not, however, managed to cut out the newspaper reading and I’m not sure if I want to. I hope to get at least 52 books next year (on account of that’s how many weeks in a year there are!).
I’ve also kept pretty rigorous account of what I thought of all those books. Here I’ll list a few of my favorites. The ones I gave a 10 out of 10 rating.
My favorite book of the year, bar none, was “Eilleen” by Ottessa Moshfegh.
Apparently, if you are lucky enough to attain a certain age, things that existed in your youth come to appear absurd in the cold light of the present. Such is the case with me, and the phenomenon of skinheads in the Boston hardcore “scene.” It sounds strange to say, but in the mid 80’s, for those of us of a certain temperament, skinheads were a problem, like a real personal safety-style problem. Back in those days in Boston (and New York and D.C.) there was a very real danger of getting your ass kicked by skinheads for myriad offenses, things like having “stupid hair.”
I’ve gone back and forth internally about posting my reading list for 2015. The most persuasive argument thus far being “Who the fuck cares what I read?” That, however is the central dilemma, native to all writing having to do with one’s self. Where do you get the nerve to think that’s worth writing down? I’ve worked hard to ignore that thought though, because in the end, all writing is an act of narcissistic courage. Look what I have to say! I exist!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer – a book review
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – David Shafer – (actual words on parchment) 7/10 – I had read some endorsements of this book on facebook and asked for/received the book for my birthday back in August. It sat on my nightstand for 5 months until I finally cracked it and read it in less than 2 weeks.