Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gianna's Top Twenty of 2014, Day 3

Non Fiction

I read a ton of non fiction this year; I don’t know if it was by coincidence, or the just fact that the year produced so many outstanding books. Either way it was a really rich year and I learned a lot.  I also got pissed off a lot, which is always excellent.

 We’ve all read books that we credit with changing our lives, putting us on a different course. For me, two of the books came to me very close together; Dead Man Walking and Actual Innocence. I am now embarrassed with how fervently I once defended the death penalty, that it was only after reading Sister Helen Prejean that I had the courage to dig a little deeper. It also sent me on a life long quest to become Sister Helen’s best friend, but that’s another story (and possibly a more disturbing one).

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson is a book for a new generation, a reminder that in many ways, we are still in the early stages of rebuilding a legal system that is so clearly in need of an overhaul.

Bark  was the book I was most looking forward to reading in 2014, the first collection of stories from Lorrie Moore in 16 years (that's 832 weeks!). Moore is dark, she's funny, she's is so fucking spot on that it's almost hard to believe. Was I disappointed that there were only a handful of stories here? Yes, I'm greedy and thankless. 

Here's the thing though: two of the eight stories are so devastatingly good and satisfying that I actually forgot that only eight stories made up the book. I also parsed that shit out, I'm not an idiot, she hasn't published a collection in 16 years, I refused to gobble it up in one sitting. One a day for a week. You know what that means? That's right, now I only have to wait 831 weeks for her next collection. Shaved off a week. It's called planning ahead, kids. #schoolin'

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