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Good Reading 2017

Here is my latest installment of the best books I read this year. As always, it's books I read in 2017, and not necessarily books that were published in 2017.

1. Suzanne Mars (editor): What There Is To Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell
2. Joseph Mitchell: Joe Gould's Secret
3. Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale
4. H.G. Wells: The Time Machine
5. Tim Krabbe: The Rider
6. Ben Tanzer: Be Cool
7. Eudora Welty: The Ponder Heart
8. H.G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau
9. Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Gambler
10. Giano Cromley: The Last Good Halloween

Honorable Mention: Robert Ferguson: Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun; Edward McClelland: How to Speak Midwestern; Kingsley Amis: Girl, 20; Rosie Schaap: Drinking With Men: A Memoir; Martha Bayne (editor): Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology

Re-readings: Nelson Algren: The Neon Wilderness; Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

Thoughts: The Welty-Maxwell letters were an absolute delight - two great writers from extremely different worlds who were drawn together into a warm friendship by a shared love of literature - although maybe not of great interest to anyone who isn't already a fan of either writer...I finally read Joe Gould's Secret at the instigation of my friend Joe Peterson, who saw parallels between the book and Wheatyard, and he's right - and I totally see that too...My “Summer of H.G. Wells” was very up and down, but the two books listed above were great...Welty and Maxwell talked a lot about The Ponder Heart (which first appeared in The New Yorker, with Maxwell as editor), so it was cool to read the novel after experiencing their thoughts on its creation...Three "writers I know" books are on this year's list - Ben Tanzer, Giano Cromley, Ted McClelland - and all are quite good...When I re-read a book, I automatically disqualify it from my Top Ten, due to the built-in bias (I wouldn't re-read a book that I didn't already love) but if I had read The Neon Wilderness for the first time this year, it would have been #1 - the book is a sweet reminder of the greatness of Algren's early career, made somewhat bitter by how utterly he let himself languish for his last twenty-five years.

December 26, 2017 in Books | Permalink