My Favorite Books of 2017

The best books I read in 2017:

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. Written by the doctor who pioneered the diagnosis of complex-post traumatic stress disorder, this compassionate book is about the lingering effects of trauma and the need for a new paradigm of treatment. A must read for survivors of child abuse.

“Walking Inside Out” by Tina Richardson. This enjoyable collection of essays is an insightful and well-rounded look at contemporary British psychogeography.

“Green Girl” by Kate Zambreno. A claustropobhic, infuriating, perfectly wrought portrait of a flailing young woman, this novel is poetic and intoxicating.

“Calling a Wolf a Wolf” by Kaveh Akbar. Quite simply the best book of poetry that I’ve read in years. Addiction, spirituality, and heritage intertwine in this unbelievably beautiful collection.

“Pink Elephant” by Rachel McKibbens. Reading this collection of poems is a full body experience; grief, rage, joy, hope, agony, burst from the pages. McKibbens writes about childhood trauma, sexual abuse, and motherhood with a visceral, unflinching elegance.

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. In this sprawling novel about a family who has immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic, Diaz’s prose is audacious, his characters compelling, and the story unforgettable.

“The Beach Beneath the Street” by McKenzie Wark. A fascinating and tremendously well-written look at the Situationist International. Unlike any other book on the subject and great fun to read.

“Love” by Toni Morrison. Nobel Prize winner Morrison weaves a haunting tale of family trauma that explores racism and sexism within American society. Masterful.

“Madness” by Sam Sax. This collection of poetry wrestles with notions of mental illness, sexuality, the medical industrial complex, and identity in dexterous, brilliant ways.

“Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor. A lush, gorgeous novel that introduces an intriguing fantasy world filled with a cast of characters you will miss as soon as you finish. Taylor is the queen of purple prose and I just love it.

“Coming Through Slaughter” by Michael Ondaatje. The kind of book you begin anew as soon as you finish. A feverish portrait of a mysterious jazz musician, this book is surrealistic and intense.

“A Chronology of Water” by Lidia Yuknavich. The best memoir I have ever read. Yuknavich does things with prose that I didn’t know were possible. Simply breathtaking.

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