The Inception of this Blog / 5.15.15

1 Aug

I moved to New York City about six months ago. At that point, I’d read 466 books, and owned a collection of 785.

Since moving to NYC, I’ve read 34 and purchased 45, bringing my library total to 830 and my total number of books read to precisely 500.

In the year before moving to NYC, here’s a list of the books I read:

  • Life of Pi / Yann Martel
  • Beautiful Ruins / Jess Walter
  • Hologram for the King / Dave Eggers
  • This Side of Brightness / Colum McCann
  • The Casual Vacancy / J.K. Rowling
  • The Sisters Brothers / Patrick DeWitt
  • The Bright Continent / Dayo Olopade
  • TransAtlantic / Colum McCann
  • Sacred Games / Vikram Chandra
  • The Flamethrowers / Rachel Kushner
  • The Art of Fielding / Chad Harbach
  • The Dog Stars / Peter Heller
  • The Interestings / Meg Wolitzer

And here’s a list of the books I’ve read in the six months since I moved to NYC:

  • The Good Lord Bird / James McBride
  • The Calcutta Chromosome / Amitav Ghosh
  • The Martian / Andy Weir
  • The Painter / Peter Heller
  • Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel
  • Pym / Mat Johnson
  • Next / James Hynes
  • Chronic City / Jonathan Lethem
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot / David Shafer
  • The Yellow Birds / Kevin Powers
  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia / Mohsin Hamid
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running / Haruki Murakami
  • On Such a Full Sea / Change-rae Lee
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves / Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Chaneysville Incident / David Bradley
  • The Marriage Plot / Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Lush Life / Richard Price
  • California / Edan Lepucki
  • American Dervish / Ayad Akhtar
  • Skios / Michael Frayn
  • Breadfruit / Celestine Vaite
  • The Orphan Master’s Son / Adam Johnson
  • There is Power in a Union / Philip Dray
  • Subtle Bodies / Norman Rush
  • Swamplandia! / Karen Russell
  • Lord of Misrule / Jaimy Gordon
  • Frangipani / Celestine Vaite
  • The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon
  • The Little Friend / Donna Tartt
  • The Round House / Louise Erdrich
  • A Tale for the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki
  • Lonesome Dove / Larry McMurtry
  • The Whites / Richard Price as Harry Brandt
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love / Oscar Hijuelos

Another project I undertook since moving to NYC was to build a database of the winners and shortlisted finalists of what I think are the most important book awards. I selected six major awards.

  • The Pulitzer Prize (for best American novel) (started in 1917)
  • The National Book Award (for best American novel) (started in 1950)
  • The National Book Critics Circle Award (for best novel in English) (started in 1975)
  • The Man Booker Prize (for best novel by a British author, prior to 2014, and for best novel published in the UK by any author, 2014 to present) (started in 1969)
  • PEN/Faulkner Award for best American novel (started in 1981)
  • PEN/Hemingway Award for best American debut novel (started in 1976)

I constructed my database to list every winner and most finalists of each of these awards going back to each award’s inception, and cross-referenced each novel, so that if one novel is a finalist or winner of multiple awards, it is only listed once, but its multiple awards are indicated.

It’s now a mission of mine (a long-term one, to be sure) to read all of the novels on this list, going back to 1917. I’ve already read many of them, but I’m nowhere near close.


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