Books of 2017


  • Elizabeth Bishop, Poems  
  • Sharon Olds, Satan Says  —  Poems. “Satan Says” was amazing.
  • H.D., The Gift  —  Quick read. A memoir by a writer known for her poetry.
  • Tove Jansson, The Summer Book  —  This read like a fable. Gorgeous atmosphere.
  • Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 
  • Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda


Not Great:

  • Bill Broun, Night of the Animals   —  I need to learn to trust Amazon reviews. This book needed an editor.
  • Anne Rice, Prince Lestat  —  Got this for my birthday for the nostalgia factor. This was so, so bad.
  • Louise Glück, A Village Life  —  Poems.
  • Derek Walcott, The Prodigal  —  Poems. In the year of #metoo some of these didn’t sit right.


Mostly Great:

  • Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems
  • Anne Carson, Float  —  Poems in a neat format: several mini-booklets kept in a plastic container.
  • Aracelis Girmay, The Black Maria —  Poems.
  • John McPhee, Annals of the Former World  —  I had super-high hopes for this one as someone who thinks she loves geology.
  • John McPhee, Coming into the Country  —  All about Alaska.
  • Mark Strand & Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem
  • Jan Morris, Hav  —  Neat book about an imaginary city.
  • Michael Ondaatje, Secular Love  —  Poems.
  • Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower
  • Octavia E. Butler, Dawn
  • Laura Kasischke, Space, in Chains  —  Poems.
  • Jane Hirshfield, After  —  Poems.
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric  —  Poems.
  • Claudia Rankine: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric  —  Poems.
  • Louise Glück, Descending Figure  —  Poems.
  • Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  • Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
  • Kassia St. Clair, The Secret Lives of Color



  • Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe  —  Attempt at mashing together Kurt Vonnegut, George Saunders, Stephen Hawking, etc. Read like something from an undergraduate fiction-writing course.
  • Dominic Smith, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos  —  I can’t stand these books, where all the characters live in gorgeous New York apartments, have access to infinite amounts of money, and 40% of the book is spent detailing every last expensive sumptuous detail. Telling us how amazingly decorated someone’s house or body is doesn’t move the story forward.


That’s 2017 — on to 2018!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s