One of my favorite things to do in public is eavesdrop on what other people are reading. If someone is on a subway or standing at a cafe reading a book, I will do almost anything to see the cover. Drop invisible coins, tie invisible shoe-laces. Pet an invisible dog at my feet.카지노사이트
Somehow, it’s not enough to read. Reading alongside others, even if it’s not the same book, is a comfort.
It is in this spirit that I offer this end of year reading list for 2022, featuring the recommendations of nearly a hundred contributors to Freeman’s over the years.
I asked everyone I still had an address for what their favorite read of the year was—any book, from any language, published in any year originally. Here are their answers: from Charles Darwin to Alice Oswald’s poem “Dart.” From books about Keats to follow-up collections by Solmaz Sharif.
I hope you feel the same sense of pleasure, wandering among the passionate stacks with these poets, essayists, biographers, novelists, and reporters. How wonderful to see the many different ways love of a book is expressed. How reassuring that in a world of pattern recognition there are so patterns here. So few hits and re-hits. But rather a great heaving library of books waiting for you to crack them open, on this holiday, or when you have time next.
–John Freeman, editor, Freeman’s
Claire Vaye Watkins, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness
I read Claire Vaye Watkins’ I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness and really dug it. It has a blood and guts quality, visceral, that I found refreshing. Poetic jags of full tone and big mood. The letters in it from the author/narrator’s deceased mother (written when she was a teenager) took me a bit to get into, but later I decided they were essential, and that the author and the gone mother were collaborating on various uncrackable mysteries to do with women, chance, and Nevada, and making, together, new possibilities for the novel.
–Rachel Kushner, author of The Hard Crowd: Essays
Cormac McCarthy, The Passenger
My fave book this year is The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. A friend gave it to me as a gift and I read it slowly cause it’s been so long since his previous book. I really don’t know if it’s his best, a masterpiece, whathaveyou. Sometimes you love a writer that yes, is great—and he is—not because of just the greatness but something stranger bordering an invisible kinship. McCarthy writes what I love to read in a style that just floors me and yes it can be solemn but gosh, he starts with the image of a young woman hanging from a rope, dead, suicide, and I don’t want smart sentences and levity, I need this voice that says yes life is full of cruelty but here’s beauty.바카라사이트
–Mariana Enriquez, author of Our Share of Night, translated by Megan McDowell, published in the UK from Granta, forthcoming in the US from Hogarth in 2023
Alice Oswald, Dart
I read Alice Oswald’s poem “Dart” out loud with a documentarian/documentarist friend a few weeks ago. It’s not only one of the most beautiful odes to a river—or is it also a lament?—but also possibly the most fascinating approach to the problem of narrating non-human entities. Oswald does not try to impersonate the river or create some kind of human-non-human persona. Instead, she gathers the language of people who live on and interact with the river, and with the fragments of that language she draws a potent and haunting sound-map of its course, from source to sea. The poem was written exactly 20 years ago, this year. I recommend reading it out loud before the end of 2022!
–Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive
Maya Deren, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti
For many years now, I’ve had this growing suspicion that I know absolutely nothing. Or, to put it another way, I’m beginning to realize, in a profoundly different way, that there is an abyss of difference between accumulating information and knowing. The longer I live, the more I feel well-informed, but remarkably ignorant.
Lately, I have felt this most keenly in terms of literature. Jean Rhys, Katherine Mansfield, Camara Laye, Naguib Mafouz, Eduardo Galleano, Simone Schwartz-Bart, Robert Hayden, Bapsi Sidwha—did I ever really understand any of it? When I read Morrison’s Tar Baby, in awe, as a teenager, how could I have seen all that she was doing with that resplendent crossroad of language, the history of the novel, black interiority, and transatlantic desire, when I myself then—and still now—knew so little? To this end, I’ve been starting all over again—going back and re-readings books I thought I understood, 35 or even 40 years ago, even as I may have completed them 3 or 4 times. Now I understand, it’s utterly probable that I never really read them at all.
This year, one of those books is experimental filmmaker Maya Deren’s Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti.
Honestly, I don’t know whether I will ever understand it. I only know the writing and rigor are stunning. And it reminds me of a time when the attention to language, to the sentence, was normative and serious, not a rare literary skill. Word by word, sentence by sentence—less she allow her reader’s mind to go astray or be under-informed—Deren’s early and now canonical ethnography regarding the Haitian pantheon, cosmology, and theological rituals, is still—almost 75 years later—a deep existential excavation regarding the intimacy shared between gods and devotees. I’m still lost in her genius—her aesthetic and intellectual posture—and grateful to be so.