Books I’ve Read

I began this yearly reading exercise back in 1997. My goal’s been reading 36 books each year. I’m bumping it up from three books a month on average to just over four a month here in 2018. I’m shooting for 50 and I’m confident I’ll make it.

How many books will you read in 2018?

2018 Booklist-


Alison Smith – Name All The Animals: A Memoir

Michael Connelly – The Closers

Therese A. Rando – Grieving: How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies

Michael Wolff – Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Tali Sharot – The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others

Cindy Milstein (editor) – Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief

Brené Brown – Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone


David Roedinger – Class, Race, and Marxism

David Neiwert – Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in The Age Of Trump

2017 Booklist-


Deepa Iyer – We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz – An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

James Carroll – An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us


Linda Andrews – Please Bring Soup To Comfort Me While I Grieve

Judy Brizendine – Stunned by Grief: Remapping Your Life When Loss Changes Everything

Mark Baumer – the money i can’t use in my bank account (50 books in 50 weeks series)

Mark Baumer – I am a Road (second reading)

Joanna Howard – Foreign Correspondent


bell hooks – The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love

Daniel Borzutzky – The Performance of Becoming Human

Claire Donato – Burial

Crystal Zevon – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon

Max Porter – Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

David Shield – War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict


Harold S. Kushner – When Bad Things Happen To Good People

bell hooks – All About Love: New Visions

Aidan Levy – Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed

Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking

Mary Karr – Now Go Out There (and get curious)


Tracy Daugherty – The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

John Doe & Tom DeSavia (and friends) – Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk

Rick Ankiel (and Tim Brown) – The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life

Angela Y. Davis – Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

Charles Bukowski – On Writing (edited by Abel Debritto)

Roger Rosenblatt – Making Toast: A Family Story


David Foster Wallace – String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant – Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Roxanne Gay – Bad Feminist


Richard Brautigan – Revenge of the Lawn

Barry R. Norman – Flipping Point: Thoughts on “Why Bother?”

Rebecca Solnit – Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Paula Bomer – Mystery and Mortality: Essays on the Sad, Short Gift of Life

Evelyn Hampton – The Aleatory Abyss


William D. Milller – A Harsh and Dreadful Love: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement

Rebecca Solnit – Men Explain Things to Me

Kate Hennessy – Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty

Ernest Becker – The Denial of Death

Mark Bray – Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

Mel Piehl – Breaking Bread: The Catholic Worker and the Origin of Catholic Radicalism in America

Mary Karr – The Art of Memoir


Anne Gisleson –The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading

Melanie Joy – Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism

John Cheever – The Stories of John Cheever


Melanie Brooks – Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art From Trauma

Ibram X. Kendi – Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Tom Rath – Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys To Energizing Your Work and Life

John C. Maxwell –  How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

Angela Davis – Angela Davis: An Autobiography


Stephen Burt – the poem is you: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them

Dominic Johnson – The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art

Claudia Rankine – Citizen: An American Lyric

C.D. Wright – One With Others

C.D. Wright – Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil

Donald M. Murray – The Lively Shadow: Living With the Death of a Child


Marjorie Perloff – Poetics in a New Key: Interviews and Essays (edited by Jonathan Y. Bayot)

C.D. Wright – Steal Away (selected and new poems)

Adam Kirsch – The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry

Monica Wood – The One-in-a-Million Boy

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (edited by Jesmyn Ward)

Kate Christensen – The Epicure’s Lament

Maggie Nelson – The Argonauts

Meghan O’Rourke – The Long Goodbye

[I picked up keeping (and documenting) a yearly reading list from Mark Baumer. I miss so many things about Mark, but one of the things I miss the most is being able to share and talk about we were both reading. His last year on Earth, he read 53 books in a year when he spent the the last three months walking. The year prior (2015), he read 83 books.-jb]

2016 Booklist-


Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener – The Upside of Your Darkside: Why Being Your Whole Self—Not Just Your “Good” Self—Drives Success and Fulfillment

Mark Binelli – Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis

Sherry Turkle Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Charles Murray – Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010


Chris Guillebeau – The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Clifford R. Murphy – Yankee Twang: Country and Western Music in New England


Jonathan Franzen – Purity

Kate McCarty – Distilled In Maine: A History of Libations, Temperance & Craft Spirits

William F. Buckley – Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations 

Jim Goad – The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America’s Scapegoats

Philip Weinstein – Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage

Barbara Ueland – If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit


Lois Weis – Class Reunion: The Remaking of the American White Working Class

John Maxwell – Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know

Jon Fine – Your Band Sucks: What I Saw At Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)

Ann Coulter – Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn America Into a Third World Hellhole 

John Ed Pearce – The Colonel: The Captivating Biography of the Dynamic Founder of a Fast Food Empire


Greg Gutfield – Not Cool: The Hipster Elite And Their War On You

Sandra E. Lamb – Writing Well for Business Success: A Complete Guide to Style, Grammar, and Usage at Work

Robert Pike – Tall Trees, Tough Men


Jeffrey P. Greenman, Read Mercer Schuchardt, Noah J. Toly – Understanding Jacques Ellul

Neil Postman – Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology


Jay Parini – Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal

Jeff Passan – The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports

Theodore Dalrymple – Our Culture, What’s Left Of It: The Mandarins and the Masses


Tom Vanderbilt – Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Shawn Green (w/ Gordon McAlpine) – The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH


Atul Gawande – Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

George Monbiot – How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, Equality, Nature


Daphne A. Brooks – Jeff Buckley’s Grace (33 1/3 Series)

Isa Chandra Moskowitz – Appetite for Reduction

Vine Deloria, Jr. – We Talk, You Listen

Mark Baumer – I am a Road

Neal Barnard – Breaking the Food Seduction

Michael Greger (w/ Gene Stone) – How Not To Die


Paul Buhle – Marxism in the United States: A History of the American Left

Noam Chomsky – On Anarchism

Ernest Mandel and George Novak – The Marxist Theory of Alienation (Three Essays)

Robert Paul Wolf – In Defense of Anarchism

Deepa Kumar – Islamaphobia and the Politics of Empire

Eula Biss – On Immunity: An Inoculation


Daniel T. Rogers – Age of Fracture

Sarah Kendzior – The View from Flyover Country: Essays


2015 Booklist-


Rick Perlstein – Nixonland: The Rise Of A President And The Fracturing Of America

Anthony Gierzynski w/ Kathryn Eddy – Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation

Beth Macy – Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town

John Gould – Farmer Takes A Wife


E.B. White – Writings From The New Yorker 1927-1976

Scott Elledge – E.B. White: A Biography

Cynthia M. Duncan – Worlds Apart: Poverty and Politics in Rural America (2nd edition)

John Marshall – Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around The World Changed One Family’s Lives Forever


Nicholas Carr – The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails (edited by Stephen Graham)

Barry B. LePatner – Too Big To Fall: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward

Russ Baker – Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America

Ivan Turgenev – Fathers and Sons

Bob Herbert – Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America


Catherine Tumber – Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World

Gore Vidal – The Last Empire: Essays, 1992-2000

Tom Perrotta – Election

Walker Percy – Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Susan Jacoby – Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of The New Old Age

Nicholas Butler – Shotgun Lovesongs


David Graeber – The Democracy Project: A History, A Crisis, A Movement

Linda Tirado – Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

James Howard Kunstler – World Made By Hand

James Howard Kunstler – The Witch of Hebron (World Made By Hand Series)


James Howard Kunstler – A History of the Future (World Made By Hand Series)

Gore Vidal – 1876 (a novel)

John Coski – The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem


Dwight Jon Zimmerman (art by Greg Scott) – Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool

James M. McPherson – For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War

Jonathan Franzen – Farther Away

Patrick Martins with Mike Edison – The Carnivore’s Manifesto: Easting Well, Eating Responsibly, and Eating Meat


John Durant – The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

Ann Coulter – ¡Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan To Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hell Hole

Bruce Catton – Waiting for the Morning Train

Fernando Ferfal – The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse

Michael Savage – The Savage Nation: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Borders, Language, and Culture


Matt Taibbi – The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

Daniel J. Flynn – A Conservative History of the American Left

Derek and Dylan Volk – Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum

David Horowitz – The Black Book of the American Left, Volume I: My Life and Times


Muriel Gillick – The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies

Roberta M. Gilbert – Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions

David Horowitz – Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey

Wes McNair – Mapping the Heart: Reflections on Place and Poetry


Donald J. Palmisano – On Leadership: Essential Principles for Success

Michel Houellebecq – Platform

Sam Harris – Letter to a Christian Nation


Mark Bowden – Black Hawk Down: A Story Of Modern War

Robert Spencer – The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)

Kenneth Roberts – Don’t say that about MAINE!

Katherine C. Grier – Pets in America: A History

David McCullough – Truman

Stephen Harrod Buhner – Vital Man: Natural Health Care for Men at Midlife


2014 Booklist-


Thomas Wolfe – “You Can’t Go Home Again”

Elizabeth Evans – “Thomas Wolfe” (Literature & Life Series)

Edward Said – “The Edward Said Reader”

Joseph Conrad – “Heart of Darkness”

Grace Lee Boggs – “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”


John Kretzmann & John L. McKnight – “Building Communities From the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing A Community’s Assets”

Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson – “Rework”

Maureen Ogle – “Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer”

Jennifer Egan – “A Visit from the Goon Squad”

Kevin Kerrane – “Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting”


Philip Caputo – “The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean”

Kelly James-Enger – “Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success”

Mark LaFlamme – “Worumbo”

Maureen Ogle – “In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America”

Harry G. Frankfurt – “On Bullshit”

Melanie Warner – “Pandora’s Lunchbox: How PROCESSED FOOD Took Over the American Meal”

Kevin Sheridan – “Building a Magnetic Culture”


Charlie LeDuff – “Detroit: An American Autopsy”

Allan “Chip” Teel – “Alone and Invisible: Averting Disaster in Aging America”

Bruce Weber – “As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires”

Josh Christie – “Maine Beer: Brewing in Vacationland”

Ron Currie, Jr. – “Everything Matters!”

Lee Gutkind – “The Best Seat In Baseball, But You Have To Stand!”


Michael Shuman – “Local Dollars, Local Sense”

Robert M. Collins – “More: The Politics of Economic Growth in Postwar America”


Earl Hamner, Jr. – “Spencer’s Mountain”

Marcus Aurelius – “Meditations: Living, Dying and the Good Life” (translated by Gregory Hays)

John Taylor Gatto – “The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher’s Intimate Investigation Into The Problem of Modern Schooling”

Sally Lerman – “Lobster Rolls of New England: Seeking Sweet Summer Delight”

George Smith – “A Life Lived Outdoors: Reflections of a Maine Sportsman”

Kate McCarty – “Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine”

Paul L. Knox and Heike Mayer – “Small Town Sustainability: Economic, Social, and Environmental Innovation”


David D. Joyce – “Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision”

Howard Zinn – “A People’s History of the United States (1492-Present)” Note: This is a re-read.

James Sullivan – “Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon”

John Hope Bryant – “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class”

Gordon L. Weil – “The Good Man: The Civil War’s ‘Christian General’ and His Fight for Racial Equality”


Susan Conley – “The Foremost Good Fortune”

C. Stewart Doty – “The First Franco-Americans: New England Life Histories From the Federal Writers’ Project 1938-1939”

Meg Wheatley – “Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World”

Phillip Lopate – “To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction”


Thomas E. Patterson – “Informing The News: The Need for Knowledge-based Journalism”

Phillip Lopate – “Portrait Inside My Head” {essays}

Ranya Tabari Idliby – “Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America”

Barbara Garson – “Down The Up Escalator: How the 99% Live in the Great Recession”

David Dante Troutt – “The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America”

J. D. Salinger – “The Catcher in the Rye”

Zadie Smith – “White Teeth”


Sasha Abramsky – “American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment”

Steve Almond – “Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto”

Wes Moore – “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates”

Richard Russo – “That Old Cape Magic”

Mike Davis – “Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US City”

Dave Eggers – “The Circle”

Reza Aslan – “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”

Lily King – “Euphoria”

Lauren Clark – “Crafty Bastards: Beer In New England from the Mayflower To Modern Day”


Michael Eric Dyson – “Race Rules: Navigating The Color Line”

Donald Fagen – “Eminent Hipsters”

Joe R. Feagin – “Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations”


David McCullough – “Brave Companions: Portraits in History”

David Shields & Shane Salerno – “Salinger”

Stephanie Schorow – “Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits”

Hunter S. Thompson – “Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976”

Hunter S. Thompson – “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72”

Norman Mailer – “Miami and the Siege of Chicago”


You can also see the books I’ve read during the past two years.



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