I’m back for another roundup of books, albums, and eats that I would highly recommend you experience for yourselves. Per usual, these lists are of things that I personally experienced for the first time in twenty-fourteen, and not strictly books, albums, and places to eat that debuted this year.
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell (2006)
The Safety of Objects by A.M. Homes (1990)
Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison (2001)
The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker (1988)
10:04 by Ben Lerner (2014)
Elect Mr. Robinson For a Better World by Donald Antrim (1993)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor (1952)
The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis (1993)
Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (2010)
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore (1998) *
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman (2014)
Lucinella by Lore Segal (1976)
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (1988)
Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Other Stories by Karen Russell (2013)
One More Thing: Stories and More Stories by B.J. Novak (2014)
Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore (1994)
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (2014)
Can’t and Won’t (stories) by Lydia Davis (2014)
Countdown City (2013) & World of Trouble (2014) by Ben Winters
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (1958)
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers (2014)
The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien (1967)
The Magic Christian by Terry Southern (1959)
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (2014)
25 albums for 2014, with audiovisuals
NOTE: 2014 was my second year as co-proprietor and curator of my own donation-dependent traveling library. We had several hundred albums donated to us this year, and I (at least cursorily) listened to most of them. So while I did do my fair share of music exploration independent of that, several of the items on this list are a direct result of the kindness of my community.
St. Vincent by St. Vincent (2014)
* In an interview with Salon, Annie Clark explicitly stated that she read Birds of America while creating this album, and phrases like “birth in reverse” and “bring me your loves” were lifted directly from those stories. Learning this (not to mention seeing St. Vincent live twice this year) enriched this album for me, as well as my reading of Birds of America. Both, obviously, are highly recommended.
Salad Days by Mac Demarco (2014)
Here Come the Warm Jets by Brian Eno (1973)
Black Moon Spell by King Tuff (2014)
Sunbathing Animal by Parquet Courts (2014)
Marry Me by St. Vincent (2007)
Taking Tiger Mountain by Brian Eno (1974)
They Want My Soul by Spoon (2014)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
Nikki Nack by Tune-Yards (2014)
Held in Splendor by Quilt (2014)
Hit Vibes by Saint Pepsi (2013)
Shotgun Willie by Willie Nelson (1973)
We the Common by Thao & the Get Down Stay Down (2013)
Atlas by Real Estate (2014)
The Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom (2004)
3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul (1989)
The Unseen by Quasimoto (2000)
The Private Press by DJ Shadow (2002)
Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels (2014)
Logos by Atlas Sound (2009)
Rejuvenation by The Meters (1974)
Mumps, etc. by WHY? (2012)
Rising Down by The Roots (2008)
Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson (1975)
My love for the guys behind The Bird House (and H-Town StrEATs) is nothing new, but Bird House gets the number one spot due to the sheer volume of fried chicken I’ve eaten since they opened. “Fried chicken & badass sides” indeed. Where else are you going to get shrimp and grits balls?
I recently celebrated my (twenty-ninth) birthday at Urban Eats on the second day of their soft opening. It was probably the single best dining experience I have ever had in my life. And while that experience will be difficult to replicate, I fully intend for Urban Eats to become one of my go-to places to eat around town.
Everything I’ve ever had from Pita Bites has been amazing, but the chicken shawarma and grape leaves lead the pack. And the husband and wife who run it are two of the nicer fellow truckers I’ve encountered.
Go for the pizza and Friday night flights.
Thanks for reading. 2015’s lists should look a little different, so make sure to come on back. Hell, I may even write something else between now and then.