Happy New Year!
I got through 28 books this year. My Goodreads goal was 20, and I achieved that with the help of several graphic novels. I got into the public anthropology program mentioned in last year’s post and spent lots of time reading journal articles. There was another art book, whose essays took me months to get through. New this year was an audio book, Ann Helen Petersen’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. Petersen is the one reading her book to you. We listened to chapters as we drove between D.C. and St. Louis for the eclipse, a trip inspired by Annie Dillard’s The Abundance, one of my 2016 books.
Unread books piled up around the apartment and my cubicle throughout the year. Ones I have yet to tackle include Yaa Gyaasi’s Homegoing, Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo, After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter by Gwendolyn Knapp, and Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places, edited by Richard Wilk and Lívia Barbosa. I want to read the last one because it represents a large part of my weekly diet. Maybe this will be the year I get to Arthur Kleinman’s What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life Amidst Uncertainty and Danger.
My only reading goal this year was to finish the third LBJ book, Master of the Senate. I’ve listed it here prematurely, because I still have about 20 pages to go. But there are four hours left to the year, and I believe in myself.
What books did you love in 2017? What are you looking forward to next year? Any favorite graphic novels I should check out?
Here’s my 2017 list, with stars for the books I recommend.
1. Black & Blue: The Origin and Consequences of Medical Racism, John Hoberman
2. The Kindness of Children, Vivian Gussin Paley
3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi**
4. Persepolis 2, Marjane Satrapi** - I've wanted to read these books for years. I walked by them repeatedly in the library and finally checked them out and tore through them. This panel made me laugh out loud.
5. My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante** - Two women I admire loved and recommended this series. After I finished My Brilliant Friend, I was ambivalent. “Well… if they both like them, there must be some reason,” I thought and picked up the next book.
6. The Story of a New Name, Elena Ferrante** - I devoured the second book, while despising the two main characters and their awful decisions. I really needed to know what happened to them, though, but as the semester was beginning, I put the series aside to focus on reading about Marx.
7. Karl Marx, Anthropologist, Thomas Patterson
8. The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, Michael Taussig
9. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery - Reread and cried again.
10. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connections, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
11. The Infinite Wait and Other Stories, Julia Wertz
12. Difficult Women, Roxane Gay**
13. Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing, Didier Fassin**
14. Eating the Ocean, Elspeth Probyn
15. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, Elena Ferrante** - The semester ended, and I was back to the Neapolitan novels.
16. The Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante** - By the time I finished this book, I’d convinced at least two other people to start the series. Names and relationships were confusing, and, as mentioned, I really hated the two main characters at times, but overall, I’m glad I stuck with it.
17. Becoming Unbecoming, Una - I didn’t know what this book was going to be and picked it because I liked the cover image. It was a about a British woman growing up when the Yorkshire Ripper was in the news. It’s about surviving rape and abuse, slut-shaming, misogyny, and the struggle of becoming a woman in a society that hates women. It was heartbreaking, enraging, inspiring, and way more than I expected from a graphic a novel.
18. The Black Penguin, Andrew Evans**
19. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rose and Reign of Unruly Women, Ann Helen Petersen**
20. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, Tracy Kidder - I reread this for class, then told my professor I was thinking of leaving the program to become a nurse. I did not carry through.
21. The Land of Open Graves, Jason De León
22. Anthropology: A Student’s Guide to Theory and Method, Stanley R. Barrett
23. Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter** - this was one I stayed in bed to finish on a Sunday morning.
24. Niki de Saint Phaille and the Tarot Garden - Jill Johnston, Marella Caracciolo Chia, Giulio Pietromarchi - This was the art book whose text took me months to read. Niki de Saint Phaille was married to Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, and she created this wonderful sculpture garden in Italy that we will get to one day.
25. Lumberjanes vol 3: A Terrible Plan Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen
26. Lumberjanes vol 4: Out of Time Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen
27. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, Dorothy Roberts
28. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, Robert Caro**