I thought it would be an interesting addition to my favorite reads of 2015 to make a list of some of the books I’ve had the most memorable conversations about.
Sometimes even if a book doesn’t work as a whole, there can be a very memorable, impacting section in it, or even just a single extraordinarily pregnant image, which can often be easier to process in a conversation than an entire book. Other times books have just so overwhelmed you as an entire experience that it gives rise to remarkable encounters with fellow human beings, even though you can’t possible hope to bring the entire experience of the book into a single conversation. And sometimes a book opens up within you a space for a conversation you needed to have, either with or without knowing it. In all cases—and many others—this shows the great impact a book has had on your life and, for an hour or two, the life of another.
So here are a few books I read in 2015 that gave rise to very memorable conversations. Some of these are dramas I saw enacted on the stage that I’m counting as books read. And needless to say this is not an exhaustive list, just the ones that have come to mind. I purposely chose not to duplicate any from my “favorite reads of 2015” list, although obviously many of those would be applicable here.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon (tr. Don Mee Choi)
Reconsolidation by Janice Lee
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin
The Illogic of Kassel by Enrique Vila-Matas (tr. Anne McLean, Anna Milsom)
The Musical Brain: And Other Stories by César Aira (tr. Chris Andrews)
Vertigo by W.G. Sebald (tr. Michael Hulse)
Vertical Motion by Can Xue (tr. Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping)
Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists by Joan Copjec
The Strangest by Michael J. Seidlinger
Jacob the Mutant by Mario Bellatin (tr. and contribution by Jacob Steinberg)
The Book of J by Harold Bloom and David Rosenberg
Boredom and Art: Passions Of The Will To Boredom by Julian Jason Haladyn