Every Book I Read in 2016

2016 is almost over and while I don’t have to add to the enormous pile of “year end” lists again, I would feel badly if I didn’t share with you every single book that I read this year. My goal was to read forty books this year and I finished forty-one. (Reading a bunch of graphic novels and rereading all of the Harry Potter books probably helped.) I’d say, on the whole, that this year was much better in terms of quality than last year. I barely read anything I didn’t like.

I reviewed everything I read between January and April here. Other than that, I didn’t publish any reviews! I solemnly swear to do better next year. This is like, my general attitude going into 2017: Do better. (I think, probably, that should be everyone’s attitude?)

Next year, I’d like to read more, finish the books I’ve yet to finish (see the bottom of the list), and tackle even more books I’ve put off reading because I deemed them too time-consuming or difficult. I think that all of those things are possible.

And without further ado, I present to you every book I read in 2016.

(*) denotes a book that could easily have been included in my top five novels.

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Top Five Novels (Roughly in Order of Preference)
Outline by Rachel Cusk [Note: I actually read this twice this year.]
The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas
The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Five Non-Fiction Books (Roughly in Order of Preference)
Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin
Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson
Columbine by Dave Cullen

Four Novels That Have Nothing to Do With One Another Except That I Liked Them a Whole Lot
The Girls by Emma Cline*
The Sellout by Paul Beatty*
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Nicotine by Nell Zink

Three Very Excellent, Very Different Thrillers with Female Protagonists
The Trespasser by Tana French*
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Five Graphic Novels (In Order of Preference)
Killing and Dying: Stories by Adrian Tomine*
Beverly by Nick Drnaso
Patience by Daniel Clowes
The Infinite Wait and Other Stories by Julia Wertz
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Three Good Autobiographies (In Order of Preference)
Good-Bye to All That: An Autobiography by Robert Graves [Note: This was a reread.]
Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Two Sci-Fi Books That Kinda Blew My Mind
LoveStar by Andri Snaer Magnason*
High-Rise by J.G. Ballard

Two Sci-Fi Books That Definitely Did Not Blow My Mind
Morning Star by Pierce Brown
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Two Novels About Women Going Crazy That Made Me Feel Extremely Anxious
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

One Novel That Basically Made Me Feel Like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Two All-Time Favorite Books, Reread in a Frenzy During the Final Week of December
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Group by Mary McCarthy

All Seven Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling, Reread in a Frenzy Late This Summer
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Three Books I Haven’t Finished That I Promise I’m Still Reading
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
A World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

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Music So Far, 2015

2015 is now more than halfway over and I’ve been keeping this running list of all of the new music I’ve liked so far so I figured I would share it here. No rankings. Just a whole lot of stuff I want to recommend! And there’s a Spotify playlist at the end.

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Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, “Careen”
Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
Chromatics, “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”
Colleen Green, I Want to Grow Up


Hot Chip, “Huarache Lights”
Toro Y Moi, “Empty Nesters”
Yumi Zouma, “Catastrophe”
Belle and Sebastian, “The Cat With the Cream”
SOAK, “Sea Creatures”

Lower Dens, Escape From Evil
Rae Sremmurd, SremmLife
Twerps, “I Don’t Mind”
Makthaverskan, “Witness”
Jessica Pratt, On Your Own Love Again



Waxahatchee, “Air”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Dumb”
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Think and Sit, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Speedy Ortiz, Foil Deer
Westkust, “Swirl”

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
Chastity Belt, Time to Go Home
Bully, Feels Like
Upset, “Glass Ceiling”
Grimes, “REALiTi (Demo)”

Metro Thuggin, “Free Gucci”
Girlpool, Before the World Was Big
Jamie xx, “Loud Places” ft. Romy
Chromatics, “In Films”
Leon Bridges, Coming Home

Panda Bear, “Crosswords”
Marissa Nadler, “So Long Ago and Far Away”
Diet Cig, “Scene Sick”
Rich Homie Quan, “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)”
Yumi Zouma, “Song For Zoe & Gwen”

Kero Kero Bonito, “Picture This”
Ryn Weaver, “The Fool”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Post Malone, “White Iverson”
Miguel, “Coffee (Fucking)” ft. Wale

Miami Horror, “Real Slow”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
Tame Impala, “Eventually”
Nao, “Apple Cherry”
Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”

Vince Staples, Summertime ’06
Young Thug, “Constantly Hating” ft. Birdman
U.S. Girls, “Damn That Valley”
Carly Rae Jepsen, “All That”
A$AP Rocky, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP

Hudson Mohawke, “Ryderz”
Empress Of, “Water Water”
Destroyer, “Dream Lover”
Jamie xx, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” ft. Young Thug & Popcaan
Strange Names, “I Can’t Control Myself (Doss Remix)”

Tei Shi, “Go Slow”
Cuushe, “We Can’t Stop”
Shamir, Ratchet
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Stealing Sheep, “Not Real”

Susanne Sundfør, “Fade Away”
iLoveMakonnen, “Whip It (Remix)” ft. Migos & Rich the Kid
Wet, “Deadwater”
Neon Indian, “Annie”
No Joy, More Faithful

Allie X, “Good”
Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
Janet Jackson, “No Sleeep”
Samantha Urbani, “1 2 3 4”
Eskimeaux, “Broken Necks”
swim good x Merival, “since u asked”

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spotify:user:haleyflan:playlist:3qZYDk6iVLGmSpAdWj5G1H

Albums of 2013

Earlier this week, I posted my favorite songs of 2013. Today, I’m posting my favorite albums. My choices shouldn’t really surprise you if you saw my list of favorite songs. (I really, really liked the albums that my most-listened-to songs were on!) Honestly, my choices shouldn’t surprise you in general, I guess, since I think everyone liked these albums?

This wasn’t a HUGE album-listening year for me. I was definitely more singles-focused. But there were a bunch of things I spent quite a bit of time with, enough that I feel pretty good calling them my ‘favorites’. I’m organizing them alphabetically because, well, I could rank them but honestly, it’s not as fun as ranking songs and I’m only posting 15 16 albums here anyway.

Here we go:

Ariana Grande, Yours Truly

So, I have not liked a straight up pop album this much in a really long time. I heard “The Way” this summer on the radio while driving somewhere with my siblings, who are much more pop music-savvy than I. “She sounds like Mariah Carey!” I said. My siblings were like, “Yeah, duh.” And then I listened to “Honeymoon Avenue” and “Baby I” shortly after her album came out and couldn’t stop listening to them and was like, “Oh my God, I have to listen to the whole album.” So I did and it was a very, very good decision because it has many more good songs.

A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE.A$AP

I almost forgot that this album came out this year. But then I remembered! I listened to this a lot at a certain point earlier in the year when I decided that I wasn’t listening to enough hip-hop in general. This is something I do every year, I guess, and then I end up going through a “hip-hop phase”. Anyway, this album stuck with me more than a lot of others.

Autre Ne Veut, Anxiety

Oh man. This was my big album of the first half of the year, for sure. (Duh, I related to an album titled ANXIETY.) It definitely makes me think of the winter, which means I’ve been rocking it a lot again now that it’s cold and snowing off and on here in New York.

Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap

I saw Chance the Rapper perform in June and it was one of the most fun concert experiences I had all year, even if the venue was full of underage bros. I actually didn’t listen to his mixtape, Acid Rap, until right before the show. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the whole thing. (You can download it here.)

CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe

Late last year, I heard “The Mother We Share”, just in time to put it on my favorite songs of 2012 list. This album was one of my most anticipated of the year. I was held over by the singles “Recover” and “Gun”, but ended up being kind of late getting into the actual album because it came out around the same time as a bunch of other stuff. Anyway, it’s great!

Danny Brown, Old

Even though I’d been hearing a lot about him for a while, I never really listened to Danny Brown until this year because I assumed that I wouldn’t like him? That was dumb. I love Danny Brown.

Eleanor Friedberger, Personal Record

Full disclosure: I am a person who had a Fiery Furnaces poster over their bed in college*. I’ve loved both of the solo albums Eleanor Friedberger has put out so far and I really did connect to the, ahem, personal nature of this record and, of course, her storytelling, which is really top-notch.

*Actually, it’s still hanging in my room – in a frame now – five years after graduation.

Haim, Days Are Gone

This ended up being my most-listened-to record of the year. I was never not listening to Haim at any point this year, especially in the weeks after this album came out, when they were the only music I listened to at all. So yeah, I really loved this one. I love every single song, even “My Song 5”, which I really hated for a while. That song is like an acquaintance who you see often enough at parties and they kind of annoy you from a far but then finally you chat and really connect and you’re like,

Julia Holter, Loud City Song

I listen to Julia Holter’s music the most during my mornings and weekends. I was surprised at how much I loved her last album, Ekstasis, and equally as surprised when I loved this year’s Loud City Song. While it didn’t have a song I liked as much as “In the Same Room” or “Moni Mon Amie”, I ended up listening to the record on repeat, almost not realizing that I was falling in love with the mood of the whole thing.

Kurt Vile, Wakin On A Pretty Daze

I didn’t listen to Kurt Vile until two years ago, sometime around the release of his last album. Since then, I’ve become a pretty enormous fan. I was actually nervous that this album wouldn’t be good and I only ever feel like that when I really, really like an artist. (This means that no one can even talk to me about Joanna Newsom until she releases another album and I’ve listened to it a few times because I’ve been anxious about it for years, at this point.) ANYWAY, this album. I liked it very much. I also saw Kurt Vile twice this year and enjoyed those experiences very much, even though the first show made me so tired that it led me to post this weird like, rant about going to concerts on weeknights.

Laura Marling, Once I Was An Eagle

As a mostly lazy person, I don’t understand Laura Marling. At 25, she’s already made several mature, beautiful albums and I’m more than a little bit jealous of how smart and accomplished she is. Once I Was An Eagle is easily my favorite album of hers so far.

Marnie Stern, The Chronicles of Marnia

Even if I didn’t like this album it would still be on this list because of its title. Lucky for all of us, it’s actually good. Well, lucky for me, really, since this was another one I was kinda nervous about not being good? I don’t know why. I’ve been a Marnie fan for a long, long time and she has never disappointed me.

My Bloody Valentine, mbv

I won’t be one of those people who’s like, “This album was worth waiting twenty years for.” A) I didn’t wait twenty years for it because I did not listen to MBV until maybe ten years ago and B) I will always, always like Loveless better than almost anything. HOWEVER, I listened to this a lot after it came out in February and I liked it a lot.

 

Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time

I saw Sky Ferreira on a subway platform this fall. (It was the Bedford L stop, natch.) I wanted to say something to her but I was too nervous slash I was pretty afraid it wasn’t her? I played “Everything Is Embarrassing” on repeat for the better part of a year, soooo I am kind of fan girl. This was shortly after Night Time, My Time came out, which has become one of my favorite-favorite things-in-general of this year. I love almost every song and am sure I’ll be playing this for…a while.

 

Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt

This album made me feel things. Like, a lot of things. I guess it reminded me of the experience of connecting with an album as a teenager.

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Oh, boy. I want to write a lot about this one, but maybe I’ll do that another time. I put off (closely) listening to this album until this summer, after the initial buzz had died down, and I’m glad I did. Somehow, it made the experience of listening more intimate? Anyway, I just think (most) everything about Modern Vampires of the City was really well done. Not that those dudes need me to tell them that. 😉