Groucho Marx famously said that “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
Well, much of my reading this year was done next to dogs. In particular, these dogs:
I completed 21 books in 2022. The five I’d recommend most highly are:
- “An Immense World” by Ed Yong: This was an easy-to-understand look at how animals sense the world, which is shockingly different than how humans do. This book introduced me to the idea of Umwelt, which is essentially how each organism experiences everything around them. “Our Umwelt is still limited; it just doesn’t feel that way. To us, it feels all-encompassing. It is all that we know, and so we easily mistake it for all there is to know,” he writes. “This is an illusion, and one that every animal shares.”
- “To Paradise” by Tanya Yanagihara: Not quite sci-fi, not quite alternative fiction, this lengthy book reimagines flawed characters from the past and future through a queer lens. The names remain the same, but the situations and personalities don’t.
- “People Love Dead Jews: Reports From a Haunted Present” by Dara Horn: This is one of the most compelling books on anti-semitism I have ever read. “I had mistaken the enormous public interest in past Jewish suffering for a sign of respect for living Jews,” she writes. “I was very wrong.”
- “The Kaiju Preservation Society” by John Scalzi: Monsters and monsters and monsters, oh my!
- “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I wish books like this, a beautiful account of young gay love, existed when I was younger.
The other books were:
- “Weapons of Mass Delusion” by Robert Draper
- “Fairy Tale” by Stephen King
- “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” by Becky Chambers
- “Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- “Death’s End” by Cixin Liu
- “Salt Sugar Fat” by Michael Moss
- “Vows of Empire” by Emily Skrutskie
- “Don’t Panic” by Neil Gaiman
- “The Dark Forest” by Cixin Liu
- “Liarmouth” by John Waters
- “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldblatt
- “Jews Don’t Count” by Daniel Baddiel
- “What If? 2” by Randall Monroe
- “Playing With Myself” by Randy Rainbow
- “Refuse to Choose!” by Barbara Sher
- “All About Me!” by Mel Brooks
I’m currently about two-thirds through “Gay Like Me” by Richie Jackson. Here’s what’s already sitting on my nightstand for 2023:
- “Less is Lost” by Andrew Sean Greer
- “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
- “Profiles in Ignorance” by Andy Borowitz