The Ones that Got Away: A Christmas Wishlist

Joy and lightI’ve had a delightful year of reading, but even though I’ve read some of the best 2014 has to offer, there are still some sitting on bookstore shelves that I think would look great on mine: a few books I couldn’t finish before they had to be returned to the library, a few that just came out, and a few that were published years ago that I just learned about and am coveting.

Now, this is only a wish list in the loosest sense; it’s clear that I have more than enough books to last a lifetime, and truth be told, I haven’t finished reading last year’s Christmas books yet. Still, I fearlessly present the following list, in no particular order.


David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (time travel!)

Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things (literary sci-fi, yes please)

Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows (recommended by Naomi)

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (there’s Shakespeare involved, so I’m there)

Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests (Sarah Waters! Post-World War I!)

Christopher Moore, The Serpent of Venice (because Christopher Moore is a reliable laugh)

Short Fiction

Lorrie Moore, Bark (I’ve heard great things)

Paul Yoon, Once the Shore (because I loved Snow Hunters so much)


Eula Biss, On Immunity (because seriously, people: immunize your kids)

Pamela Paul, ed. By the Book (I really, really want this collection)

Danielle Allen, Our Declaration (Gordon S. Wood’s review in the NYRB convinced me that this is a must-read)


Claudia Rankine, Citizen (timely and excellent, from everything I’ve heard)

Eryn Green, Eruv (because I trust Carl Phillips’s judgment)

Ciarán Carson, For All We Know (because “The Fetch,” which I wrote about earlier this week, was amazing)

4 thoughts on “The Ones that Got Away: A Christmas Wishlist

  1. Sometimes in the depths of an occasional depression, when contemplating the eventual end of the world, I think about ALL of the books ever written and how some day they will be lost! But until then…so many books, so little time–and such great titles that you’ve listed. I’ll have one of each. Thanks for the list!

  2. I have several on my “got away” list, too, including The Bone Clocks and All My Puny Sorrows (which I’m in line for at the library). I just finished The Book of Strange New Things and wasn’t a fan (though, I think I’m in the minority), but can absolutely back up several of these as fantastic, especially Our Declaration and Citizen – I’d love to see more people read both of them.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Carolyn! I love the title of your post. Oh, the list of books that got away could be endless, couldn’t it? But, these sound like good ones. I loved both Station Eleven and All My Puny Sorrows. On Immunity would be so interesting- it’s a big topic right now. I hope you get all the books you wish for, plus a few surprises! 🙂

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