So many publications or sites do top 10 lists or even notable 100 for books published in the calendar year. But the folks at Phinney Books in Seattle have a fun year-end summary that I’m very excited about: the unread list.
Here’s what Phinney’s owner, Tom Nissley, had to say about it in the store’s newsletter:
Regular readers might recall that we like to celebrate the end of the year with an acknowledgment of the fact, both hopeful and melancholy, that the more books you read, the more books you’re aware you haven’t read and desperately want to. So in a spirit of human imperfection and weary optimism, we like to share our lists of books we didn’t read this year but still hope to. Based on their previous experience, Kim and Liz’s lists are sensible plans for further reading: in past years I know they have ended up getting to many of the books that they didn’t the year before, and likely Lauren will as well. But mine I look at as more of a lament, a eulogy for lost chances: as much as I’d like to swim back against the tide and catch up with some of the books on my list (and I did read two on last year’s!), I glance ahead at all the books coming out in 2018 (I already have advance copies lined up from some of my very favorite writers: Helen DeWitt (!), Alan Hollinghurst (!!), and Denis Johnson (!!!), not to mention new books on the way from William Gibson, Ijeoma Oluo, Charles C. Mann, Michael Ondaatje…), and I know it won’t be easy. But perhaps I can live vicariously by hearing what you think if you read them.
Click here to go to the newsletter to see the links for the Phinney staff’s unread lists.
Unfortunately my unread list– ones I’ve even bought and have waiting by the couch and bedside– is longer than all of these combined, but thinking about it is making me feel more excited about all I still have to look forward to next year. I overlap with Tom on Bunk (after that great Jonathan Lethem review in the New York Times!), Liz on American War, and Kim on Pachinko and Killers of the Flower Moon— both currently on backorder at the store where I work because of the demand. I can’t believe I still haven’t treated myself to Akata Warrior yet, either. And then there are the other 20 stacked up within arm’s reach…
What’s at the top of your unread list for 2017?