My Best of 2017
On December 15, 2017 | 0 Comments | Uncategorized |

2017 was epochal and challenging for most, including me.  It was the first time I’ve had an automobile license plate not issued in North Carolina.  Our toddler started bilingual day care, which he (and we) loved for five months before it almost disappeared overnight, saved by my wife and her colleagues on an urgent parent board, with critical loyalty from the staff.  Meanwhile, my book – twenty years in the making – was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and although personal feedback is the best I’ve ever received, I’ve only had two interview requests (whereas, for my last book, Leonard Lopate and even The Today Show called).  There’s more topsy-turvy stuff, and I’m not even getting into political and cultural matters.  What a year.

However, I do look back with fondness at my year in music and books.  Here’s my favorite stuff this year, in alphabetical order:


Angelica Sanchez Trio, “Float the Edge.”

Bing & Ruth, “No Home of the Mind.”

David Rawlings, “Poor David’s Almanack.”

Eric Revis Quartet, “Sing Me Some Cry.”

Harriett Tubman, “Araminta.”

Hiss Golden Messenger, “Hallelujah Anyhow.”

Joe Henry, “Thrum.”

Kendrick Lamar, “Damn.”

Kris Davis, “Duopoly.”

Lucinda Williams, “This Sweet Old World.”

Matthew Shipp Trio, “Piano Song.”

Nate Smith, “KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere.”

Ryan Adams, “Prisoner.”

Tyshawn Sorey, “Verisimilitude.”

Wadada Leo Smith, “Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk.”

Wadada Leo Smith, “Najwa.”

Walerian – Shipp – Parker, “This is Beautiful Because We are Beautiful.”



Anne Carson, “Float.”

Emmanuel Carrere, “The Kingdom.”

Chris Kraus, “After Kathy Acker.”

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, “Rocket Fantastic.”

Kay Redfield Jamison, “Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire.”

Joel Dinerstein, “The Origins of Cool in Postwar America.”

Nicole Krauss, “Forest Dark.”

Peter Cole, “Hymns and Qualms.”

Rachel Cusk, “Transit.”

Susan Meiselas, “On the Frontline.”

Svetlana Alexievich, “The Unwomanly Face of War.”


BOOKS – that I read for the first time in 2017 that meant the most to me

Anne Carson, “Decreation.”

Eliot Weinberger, “An Elemental Thing.”

Francine Shapiro, “EMDR.”

James Wood, “The Nearest Thing to Life.”

Peter A. Levine, “In an Unspoken Voice.”

Ross Gay, “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.”

Stephen W. Porges, “The Polyvagal Theory.”

Svetlana Alexievich, “Secondhand Time.”

William H. Gass, “The Tunnel.”

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