Jess Walter


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I heartily recommend the following books:
(N-Novel; SS-Short Stories; NF-Nonfiction; P-Poetry)

2013
SS--The Fun Parts, Sam Lipsyte (Twisted in the best way)
SS--She Loves Me Not, Ron Hansen (Masterful story writer)
SS--Godforsaken Idaho, Shawn Vestal (Diverse "new-west" collection)
N--&Sons, David Gilbert (Deconstructing literary myth)
N--The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, Teddy Wayne (Moving satire)
N--Malarky, Anakana Schofield (Jaysus, that voice!)
N--Little Known Facts, Christine Sneed (Dead-on Hollywood)
N--American Pastoral, Philip Roth (Don't retire Phil)
SS--Tenth of December, George Saunders (Yep. That good)

2012
N--The Land of Plenty, Robert Cantwell (Northwest '30s proletarian)
N--Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Epistolary Seattle satire)
N--The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Jonathan Evison (corner of moving and funny)
NF--Elsewhere, Richard Russo (Moving, intelligent memoir)
NF--Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo (Powerful powerful powerful)
N--Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner (Meditative in the best way)
N--What Happened To Sophie Wilder, Christopher Beha (Life/​art/​love)
N--How Should a Person Be, Sheila Heti (Generational touchstone?)
SS--God Bless America, Steve Almond (Wonderfully funny and smart collection)
SS--Celebrity Chekhov, Ben Greenman (Wry and surprisingly poignant)
SS--Interventions, Richard Russo (Brilliant, with lovely paintings by Kate Russo)
N--Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon (Fireworks show)
N--Lionel Asbo: State of England, Martin Amis (Acidly funny, classic Amis)
N--Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain (Perfect satire, lucid, powerful)
N--In the Kingdom of Men, Kim Barnes (Beautifully written epic adventure)
N--Truth Like the Sun, Jim Lynch (Propulsive story of the dawn of modern Seattle)
N--They Eat Dogs, Don't They, Christopher Buckley. (Mostly funny lobbyist lit)
N--A Land More Kind than Home, Wiley Cash. (Tight, restrained, suspenseful, beautifully-written debut by a talented young novelist)
N--Money, Martin Amis. (Reread to remind myself: damn)
SS--Favorite Monsters, Sharma Shields. (Lovely, twisted, wry short stories that entertain and disturb)
N--The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach. (Likeable, lyrical, lovely, everything you've been promised in an 18th century/​baseball novel)
N--The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (Shouldn't you go back and read your top ten books every once in a while? Or maybe listen to them while you drive, as I did)
SS--Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (Audio, incredible dexterity and range)

2011

NF--Empire of the Summer Moon, SC Gwynne (Big history of Comanches)
NF--Half Life, Darin Strauss (Wrenching sudden memoir)
N--Empty the Sun, Joseph Mattson (Hard-boiled LA goodness)
N--Lark and Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips (Epic and incantatory)
N--Damned, Chuck Palahniuk (Great depiction of hell)
SS--Don't Cry, Mary Gaitskill (Cold hard brilliant)
N--Fathermucker, Greg Olear (Great: funny and sweet)
NF--The Tiger, John Vaillant (Great nature channel read)
SS--The Angel Esmerelda, Don DeLillo (Lesser stuff, still ...)
N--Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
N--The Oregon Experiment, Keith Scribner
N--The Many Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell
NF--The Savage City, T.J. English
N--There is No Year, Blake Butler
NF-!-The Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera
N--Short, Cortright McMeel
N-!-2666, Roberto Bolano
P--House of Words, Jonathan Potter
N--A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism, Peter Mountford
SS--While Mortals Sleep, Kurt Vonnegut
N--A Visit from the Good Squad, Jennifer Egan

2010 Recommended Reads

P--BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, Robert Wrigley
N--THE VAULTS, Toby Ball
N--EARTHQUAKE ID, John Domini
NF--A COMMON PORNOGRAPHY, Kevin Sampsell
N--MOOCH, Dan Fante
N--GOD'S OWN COUNTRY (Out Backward in the US), Ross Raisin
N--KAMBY BOLONGO MEAN RIVER, Robert Lopez
N--FREEDOM, Jonathan Franzen
N-!-SKIPPY DIES, Paul Murray
N--MAILMAN, J. Robert Lennon
N--SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, Gary Shteyngart
N--THE FROZEN RABBI, Steve Stern
N--THE ASK, Sam Lipsyte
SS--WHAT HE'S POISED TO DO, Ben Greenman
NF--KRAKATOA, Simon Winchester
NF--CHANGING MY MIND, Zadie Smith
N-!-DAY OF THE LOCUST, Nathanael West
NF-REALITY HUNGER, David Shields
N-36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, Rebecca Goldstein
N-THE MANY DEATHS OF THE FIREFLY BROTHERS, Thomas Mullen
SS-CHILDHOOD AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS, Stuart Dybek

GREAT '09 BOOKS
N-AWAIT YOUR REPLY, Dan Chaon.
N-JULIET, NAKED, Nick Hornby.
P-TIME AND MATERIALS, Robert Hass.
SS-WAR DANCES, Sherman Alexie.
N-A GENEROSITY, Richard Powers.
N-GIVE + TAKE, Stona Fitch.
NF-THE BIG BURN, Tim Egan.
N-HOMER AND LANGLEY, E. L. Doctorow.
N-THAT OLD CAPE MAGIC, Richard Russo.
N-FAMILY MAN, Elinor Lipman.
N-TWISTED TREE, Kent Meyers.
N-BORDER SONGS, Jim Lynch.
NF-CREATIONISTS, E.L. Doctorow.
SS-THE LITTLEST HITLER, Ryan Boudinot.
SS-!-JESUS' SON, Denis Johnson.
N--NOBODY MOVE, Denis Johnson.
N--TREE OF SMOKE, Denis Johnson.
P--THE TANGLED LINE, Tod Marshall.
N--BILLY BATHGATE, E.L. Doctorow.
N--THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, Ron Hansen.
SS--THE RED CONVERTIBLE, Louise Erdrich.
SS--DRIFT AND SWERVE, Samuel Ligon.
NF--HIDING MAN, Tracy Daugherty.
N--THE RUSSIAN DEBUTANTE'S HANDBOOK, Gary Shteyngart.
N--REMAINDER, Tom McCarthy.

GREAT '08 READS
N--THE END, Salvatore Scibona
N--HOME, Marilynn Robinson
N-!-SHADOW COUNTRY, Peter Matthiessen
N--THE LAZARUS PROJECT, Aleksandar Hemon
N--TELEX FROM CUBA, Rachel Kushner
SS-!-OUR STORY BEGINS, Tobias Wolff
SS--OLIVE KITTERIDGE, Elizabeth Strout
SS-!-UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, Jhumpa Lahiri
N--LUSH LIFE, Richard Price
N--A MERCY, Toni Morrison
N--THE PLAGUE OF DOVES, Louise Erdrich
N--PEACE, Richard Bausch
SS--A BETTER ANGEL, Chris Adrian
SS--THE NIGHTENGALES OF TROY, Alice Fulton
SS--ALL THE SAD YOUNG LITERARY MEN, Keith Gessen
SS--TWO MARRIAGES, Phillip Lopate (novellas)
SS--ONE MORE YEAR, Sana Krasikov
SS--DANGEROUS LAUGHTER, Steven Millhauser
SS--FINE JUST THE WAY IT IS, Annie Proulx
N--INDIGNATION, Philip Roth
N--THE SOUL THIEF, Charles Baxter
N--HOW THE DEAD DREAM, Lydia Millet
N--NETHERLAND, Joseph O'Neill
N--THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED, Wally Lamb
N--A PERSON OF INTEREST, Susan Choi
N--PERSONAL DAYS, Ed Park
N--ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES, Rivka Galchen
P--THE RADIUM WATCH DIAL PAINTERS, Dan Butterworth
N--GONE TOMORROW, P.F. Kluge
N--TESTIMONY, Anita Shreeve
N--THE GOD OF WAR, Marissa Silver
N--A COUNTRY CALLED HOME, Kim Barnes
N--SONG YET SUNG, James McBride
N--THE STORY OF A MARRIAGE, Andrew Sean Greer
N--THE ENGLISH MAJOR, Jim Harrison
N--THE 19TH WIFE, David Ebershoff
N--SONGS FOR THE MISSING, Stewart O'Nan
N--GOLDENGROVE, Francine Prose
N--COVENTRY, Joseph Bathanti
N--VACATION, Deb Olin Unferth
N--MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU, Darin Strauss
N--THE GIVEN DAY, Dennis Lehane
N--EXILES, Ron Hansen
N--CITY OF THIEVES, David Benioff
N--GO WITH ME, Castle Freeman Jr.
N--MUDBOUND, Hillary Jordan
N--THE END OF THE JEWS, Adam Mansbach
N--DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES, Jonathan Miles
N--HARRY, REVISITED, Mark Sarvas
N--THE GOOD THIEF, Hannah Tinti
N--CRUST, Lawrence Shainberg
N--THE CONDITION, Jennifer Haigh
N--MONSTER, 1959, David Maine
N--MAN IN THE DARK, Paul Auster
N--CITY OF REFUGE, Tom Piazza
N--GUERNICA, Dave Boling

GREAT '07 READS
N--THE BEAUTIFUL MISCELLANEOUS,Dominic Smith
SS--DISTURBANCE-LOVING SPECIES, Peter Chilson
SS--THE MOTHER GARDEN, Robin Romm
SS--HUMAN RESOURCES, Josh Goldfarb
N--THE LAST TOWN ON EARTH, Thomas Mullen
SS--THE GATEWAY, T.M. McNalley
SS--YES, YES, CHERRY, Mary Otis
N-!-SACRED GAMES by Vikram Chandra
NF-!-THIS BOY'S LIFE, Tobias Wolff
N--VERONICA, Mary Gaitskill
SS--OUR FORMER LIVES IN ART, Jennifer Davis
SS--NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU, Miranda July
N--THE PINBALL THEORY OF APOCALYPSE, Jonathan Selwood
N--A PUSH AND A SHOVE, Chrisotpher Kelly
N--THE WATER CURE, Percival Everett.
N--LET THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME, Vendela Vida
N--THE BABY LOTTERY, Kathryn Trueblood
SS--THE MIDDLEMAN AND OTHER STORIES, Bharati Mukherjee
N-!-REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, Richard Yates
NF--A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I'LL NEVER DO AGAIN, David Foster Wallace
N--ABSURDISTAN, Gary Shteyngart
N-!-THEN WE CAME TO THE END, Joshua Ferris
N--HOMELAND, Sam Lipsyte
NF--IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY, Rajiv Chandrasekaran
N--BRIDGE OF SIGHS, Richard Russo
N--HOLDER OF THE WORLD, Bharati Mukherjee
N--EAT THE DOCUMENT, Dana Spiotta
SS--PU-239 AND OTHER STORIES, Ken Kalfus
NF--KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE, Chuck Klosterman
SS--THE KING OF LIMBO, Adrianne Harun
N--BRIGHTON ROCK, Graham Greene
SS--SHORT SHORTS, An Anthology of the Shortest Stories, edited by Irving Howe
NF--THE ART AND CRAFT OF THE SHORT STORY, Rick DeMarinis
N--BELOVED, Toni Morrison
N-!-BLINDNESS, Jose Saramago
NF--MYSTERY AND MANNERS, Flannery O'Connor
P--BOOK OF SKELETONS, Rachel Vigier
NF--LIVING BY FICTION, Annie Dillard
N--KOCKROACH, Tyler Knox
P--DELIGHTS & SHADOWS, Ted Kooser
N--YOU DON'T LOVE ME YET, Jonathan Lethem
NF--THE COLONY, John Tayman
F--THE INTERLOPER, Antoine Wilson
NF--THE WORST HARD TIME, Timothy Egan
N--THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS, Dinaw Mengestu
N--FALLING MAN, Don DeLillo
N--FLIGHT, Sherman Alexie
NF-!-THE DISAPPOINTMENT ARTIST, Jonathan Lethem
NF--MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY, Kurt Vonnegut
SS--DEAD BOYS, Richard Lange
N--HOUSE OF MEETINGS, Martin Amis
N--THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION, Michael Chabon
NF--THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, Robert Evans

GREAT '06 READS
NF--20 JULY, Constantine FitzGibbon
N-!-BLACK SWAN GREEN, David Mitchell
NF--READING LIKE A WRITER, Francine Prose
N-!-THE ECHO MAKER, Richard Powers
N--A DISORDER PECULIAR TO THE COUNTRY, Ken Kalfus
N--THE FLANDERS PANEL, Aturo Perez-Reverte
N--LOST CITY RADIO, Daniel Alarcon
N--NOBODY'S ANGEL, Tom McGuane
NF--HOUSEKEEPING VS. THE DIRT, Nick Hornby
SS--PASTORALIA, George Saunders
SS-!-THE TURNING, Tim Winton
N--SATURDAY, Ian McEwan
N--THE NEW YORK TRILOGY, Paul Auster
N--THE LAY OF THE LAND, Richard Ford
SS--THE DOG OF THE MARRIAGE, Amy Hempel
SS--TUMBLE HOME, Amy Hempel
N--THE DRAMATIST, Ken Bruen
SS-!-I SAILED WITH MAGELLAN, Stuart Dybek
N--THE BROOKLYN FOLLIES, Paul Auster
N--ON THE ROAD, Jack Kerouac
NF--LUCKIEST MAN, Jonathan Eig
N--TISHOMINGO BLUES, Elmore Leonard
N-!-THE KNOWN WORLD, Edward P. Jones
N--CONCRETE ISLAND, J.G. Ballard
N--LUNAR PARK, Bret Easton Ellis
N--THE LAST DAYS OF IL DUCE, Domenic Stansberry
NF--ORPHANS, Charles d'Ambrosio
N--THE SEA, John Banville
N--THE LINCOLN LAWYER, Michael Connelly
N--DRAMA CITY, George Pelecanos
N--THE CONSTANT GARDNER, John LeCarre
N--SPECIMEN DAYS, Michael Cunningham
N--THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, Philip Roth
SS-!-JESUS' SON, Denis Johnson
N--NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Cormac McCarthy
SS--THE BRIGADIER AND THE GOLF WIDOW, John Cheever
NF--BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, Dee Brown
NF--DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, Erik Larson
SS--THE EARLY STORIES, John Updike
SS--LOST IN THE CITY, Edward P. Jones

GREAT '05 READS
SS--THE STORIES OF JOHN CHEEVER
NF--CHRONICLES (VOL. 1), Bob Dylan
NF--THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, Joan Didion
N--SHOPGIRL, Steve Martin
N-!-GILEAD, Marilynne Robinson
N--THE DIAGNOSIS, Alan Lightman
NF--A MOVEABLE FEAST, Ernest Hemingway
N--PLEASE DON'T COME BACK FROM THE MOON, Dean Bakopoulos
NF-!-JOE GOULD'S SECRET, Joseph Mitchell.
N--THE HIGHEST TIDE, Jim Lynch
N-!-JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT, Celine
N--HENDERSON THE RAIN KING, Saul Bellow
NF--RAYMOND CARVER, AN ORAL BIOGRAPHY, Sam Halpert
N--THE HONEYMOONERS, Chuck Kinder
N-!-CLOUD ATLAS, David Mitchell
N--HARRY POTTER II and III, J.K. Rowling
N--A LONG WAY DOWN, Nick Hornby
N--TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, Peter Carey
N--THE MUSIC OF CHANCE, Paul Auster
NF--JOE DIMAGGIO, Richard Ben Cramer
N-!-THE HOURS, Michael Cunningham
N-!-RABBIT, RUN, John Updike
NF--THE BELIEVER (magazine) and THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE, Nick Hornby
N--HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, J.K. Rowling
N--BEING DEAD, Jim Crace
N-!-TIME'S ARROW, Martin Amis
N--THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI, Andrew Sean Greer
N-!-HERZOG, Saul Bellow
N-!-THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH, Saul Bellow
NF--THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM, Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
NF--CONSPIRACY OF FOOLS, Kurt Eichenwald
P--FIRST HAND, Linda Bierds
N-!-MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN, Salman Rushdie
NF--STEP ACROSS THIS LINE, Salman Rushdie
N--MEMOIR FROM ANT-PROOF CASE, Mark Helprin
N--SAFE IN HEAVEN DEAD, Sam Ligon
N--THE WILT ALTERNATIVE, Tom Sharpe
N--THE BLITZ, Ken Bruen
P-!-MAKING CERTAIN IT GOES ON, collected poems of Richard Hugo
NF--HIGH BROW LOW BROW, Lawrence Levine
NF--102 MINUTES, by Kevin Flynn and Jim Dwyer.

GREAT '04 READS
NF--DISNEYWAR, James Stewart
N--RABBIT REDUX, John Updike
P--LIGHT'S LADDER, Christopher Howell
P--MEMOIR OF THE HAWK, James Tate
N--A CHANGED MAN, Francine Prose
NF--AN INTIMATE HISTORY OF HUMANITY, Theodore Zeldin
N-!-FOOL'S CROW, James Welch
P--RIDING THE EARTHBOY 20, James Welch
N--THE HEARTSONG OF CHARGING ELK, James Welch
SS--THE GARDEN OF NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS, Tobias Wolff
N--HOUSE OF LEAVES, Mark Danielewski
N--BLUE ANGEL, Francine Prose
N--WILT, Tom Sharpe
N--BILLY PHELAN'S GREATEST GAME, William Kennedy
N-!-IRONWEED, William Kennedy
N-!-THE UNIVERSAL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION, J. HENRY WAUGH PROPRIETOR, Robert Coover
N--THE FLAMING CORSAGE, William Kennedy
N--ROSCOE, William Kennedy
NF--LIVING TO TELL THE TALE, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
N--FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, Jonathan Lethem
N--GUN WITH OCCASIONAL MUSIC, Jonathan Lethem
N-!-ERASURE, Percival Everett
N-!-THREE FARMERS ON THEIR WAY TO A DANCE, Richard Powers
N-!-MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, Jonathan Lethem

Books

Story Collection
Seattle Times: "So freakishly, fiendishly good it isn't fair." --Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. --Long List Story Prize and Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize.
Novels
New York Times Book Review: "A high-wire feat of bravura storytelling." --#1 Bestseller --Esquire Book of the Year --NPR Fresh Air Novel of the Year --New York Times Notable.
Esquire: "Brilliant--and brilliantly funny." --Time #2 Book of the Year
Kirkus: "A brilliant tour de force." --National Book Award Finalist --PEN/USA Literary Fiction Finalist --LA Times Book Prize Finalist --Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award
Chicago Tribute: "Immensely entertaining." --Edgar Allan Poe Award best novel --Finalist ITW Thriller Award
"Funny, philosophical and original." The London Times
"Riveting ... outstanding ... tremendous emotional impact." Washington Post Book World
Nonfiction
"A stunning job of reporting." -- New York Times Book Review

READ

--"Beautiful Ruins" is a finalist for the ALA's Andrew Carnegie Medal
--"We Live in Water" is on the longlist for the Frank O'Connor Short Story prize
--"Beautiful Ruins" is a finalist for the independent booksellers' Indie Choice Awards
--The audio version of "Beautiful Ruins," performed by Edoardo Ballerini is a finalist for the Audies as audio book of the year and best work of fiction.


"Anything Helps" from McSweeney's 39 is in Best American Short Stories 2012, along with amazing stories by Jennifer Haigh, Roxanne Gay, Nathan Englander, Karen Russell, George Saunders and many others.

"Don't Eat Cat" from Byliner is in Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2012.