Showing posts from December, 2017

What I Read This Year

The vast majority of books I read this year were not published this year, but I did read several 2017 releases.  You'll notice that hardly any of the books I absolutely loved received major awards attention or adulation this year.  The hype surrounding most of the books at the tops of the critics lists were largely lost on me.  I tried reading a few of them--and I won't say which ones, as it would be bad manners to publicly put down other novelists (now if we were in private conversation that'd be another thing altogether...)--but I found them mostly unreadable, pretentious, dull, overhyped, or, most often, a combination of all four factors. So, I am only mentioning here the books I read in 2017 that I loved.   My reading list this year was largely shaped by the fact that I taught in Edinburgh for two weeks this summer, so I immersed myself in Scottish literature as much as I was able.  And it is an incredibly rich literature. The other twenty-two books I read this year ca…

Best Music of 2017

This has been a great year for music.  So much, in fact, that it's almost impossible to narrow it down to just a handful of great albums and songs.  That's why I've prepared a playlist with 75 songs--more than four and a half hours of music--over on my Spotify account for your listening pleasure. It runs the gamut from country to rock to hip hop to Americana and even some pop that might surprise you (a couple really surprised me, but they're really fine songs), but I've chosen the songs by being honest about what tunes stuck in my head, resonated with me, or moved me, whether that be by bringing a tear to my eye or making me want to dance.  They're in no particular order so I suggest putting it on shuffle and just letting the songs play. I hope you'll let me know anything that you discover on there that you end up loving.

But that list is made up of favorite songs and as we all know, albums are very different animals.  Albums are like novels.  A great albu…