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.
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!