In no particular order and merely to get in on the game, here is a list of my top ten reads from 2015 (not the the top ten published in 2015, because I’m still catching up on the nineteenth century [I think I already made that joke earlier]).

Machi Tawara’s Salad Anniversary was just so darn enjoyable to read that it’s got to be on this list.

The Golden Lotus… it took me a while to finish it, but in addition to being an enjoyable read (somehow, the seemingly repetitive venalities of Ximen Qing never got old), I also felt that I learned a lot by immersing myself in the pages of a book about a very, very different milieu than my own. Even little stuff, like figuring out what they were actually drinking when it mentioned ‘wine’ (most likely a malted beverage, similar to sake) and, yes, reading about medieval Chinese sex toys.

Shen Congwen’s Border Town did not stay with me long, but good Lord, was it heartbreaking. I suspect that my mind is trying not to remember it, because it was so darn sad.

Jenny Zhang’s Dear Jenny, We Are All Find was not only a good read, but I felt downright prescient when, while reading it, she became minorly famous for her response to… let’s call it ‘Poetry-gate.’

You know there’s going to be some fantasy on this list, right? Nothing new, but I re-read the gentle, melancholy Riddle- Master of Hed this year, for the first time in decades.

While re-reading Proust, it was in the third book, Guermantes Way, that my efforts bore fruit and I was understanding him in a way that I had not before.

I finished Powell’s magisterial-comic epic, Dance to the Music of Time. Unfortunately, the volumes I read in 2014 were the best, but Books Do Furnish a Room was very good and I finished it in January of 2015, so it counts.

The Red Lily… a sexy, nineteenth century bit of a novel about artists, aristocrats, love affairs and what not… what’s not to like?

Seeing Antogonick performed on the stage in Chicago singlehandedly got me back into Anne Carson, who I had fallen out of love with. I picked up an inexpensive copy and read it after seeing the play and, yeah, it’s still damn good.

Epinician Odes and Dithyrambs of Bacchylides was a freaking wonderful find! Who knew occasional poetry could be so awesome!


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