1. Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue by Marquis de Sade
This book was written by the late eighteenth century libertine, Marquis de Sade. I'll not go into too much detail except to say that Napoleon had de Sade arrested for writing this book calling it, "the most abominable book ever engendered by the most depraved imagination." That should either make you want to read this book immediately or have nothing to do with it forever. I obviously chose the former.
2. Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me (And Other Concerns)? by Mindy Kaling
This is a super fun but ultimately forgettable collection of essays from one of the funniest television writers in Hollywood right now. Worth checking out, just don't expect David Sedaris.
3. Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Another brilliant effort by these two. Amazing essays dealing with the economics of heated cultural issues. Always funny, always factual. Highly recommended.
4. Free Will by Sam Harris
One of the best reads of the year. Short and sweet. Sam Harris argues that all free will is an illusion using as his proof advances in neuroscience as well as some fairly robust philosophy. Nerds only.
5. Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life by Louise M. Antony
This book was disappointing because I thought it would chronicle and discuss the major philosophers of history and their views on atheism and secularism. Instead, this is a collection of essays by modern philosophers, most unknown to me, making this one difficult to connect with.
6. Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on our 16th President edited by Brian Lamb
Great collection of essays on the life of Abraham Lincoln.
7. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
Compared to this one, the aforementioned Justine is like reading Dr. Suess. Seriously, this is probably the most disturbing book I have ever read. When I finally go insane, the reading of this book will likely be an early cause in retrospect. Proceed with caution.
8. W. Axl Rose by Mick Wall
Journalist Mick Wall does a great job telling the story of one of rock and roll's most enigmatic, misanthropic, and (in my opinion) often misunderstood front men.
9. The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens
Hitchens' sharp and scathing criticism of Mother Teresa as a fraud. Worth investigation.
10. The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music, 1972 - 1995 by Nick Kent
Great collection of essays on some of rock and roll's most interesting characters like Lou Reed, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett, etc.
11. The Hunger Games by Suzzane Collins
This series of books is incredible. Easy to read and a lot of fun. They hype is true. Enough said.
12. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Second book in the series and my favorite of the three.
13. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Final book in the series and easily the worst one.
14. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
I can't remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book. I waited far too long to give it a shot after years of hearing about how great it was. Don't make the same mistake.
15. The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels
Technically this is a text book but it was actually a really warm read. Rachels efficiently and clearly outlines all of the major moral theories including cultural relativism, subjectivism, divine command theory, social contract, utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, etc. Worth checking out.
16. The 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Easily the dumbest, most over-rated book probably in the history of the written word. I count it as a national embarrassment that this was the most commonly sighted book during all of my travels last year. The best thing to happen as a result of this horrendous disaster is the Bizzybiz Blog series in which she hilariously reviews the entire book. Seriously, check that out.
17. The Mystified Magistrate and Other Tales by Marquis de Sade
A surprisingly charming and morally centered collection of short stories by the infamous de Sade. Pleasant and funny read.
18. Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica by Joe Melver
This is a thorough, unauthorized biography of Metallica aimed at dispelling the truth about some of the more controversial events in their career. Ultimately I found it more biased and opinionated than objective and factual, making it difficult to recommend for anyone other than a diehard fan.
19. The Godfather by Mario Puzio
The incredible novel that spawned two incredible movies.
20. Metallica: The Monster Lives by Joe Berlinger
This is a book about the making of Some Kind of Monster, the critically acclaimed documentary about Metcallica's St. Anger record. It was really interesting learning the details about how the film came to be. A great companion piece to the film.
21. The Antichrist by Frederich Nietzsche
Nietzsche being all Nietzsche about religion. So yeah, I loved it.
22. Blackbird Singing: Lyrics and Poems, 1965 - 1999 by Paul McCartney
Collection of poetry from Sir McCartney. Most of it is boring. Some of it is really bad and then some of it is brilliant.
23. Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness by Neil Strauss
Amazing collection of "off the record" interviews conducted for Rolling Stone covers over the years. There are a lot of candid, surprising revelations in this one about the biggest cultural icons of the last several decades. One of the best reads of the year.
24. The Bone House by Joel-Peter Witkin
One of my favorite photographers, Witkin specializes in disturbing atmospheres and subject matter. His work is horrifying and incredible.
25. The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity 1500-1800 edited by Nancy Lynn
This was an arduous collection of essays by historians tracing the modern threads of pornography to the 1500's. Yes, it was as boring as it sounds.
26. A Theft by Saul Bellow
My goodness I love this man's writing. Warm, funny and smart. This is the story of two lovers who know they cannot be together but always rediscover one another through their many unsuccessful relationships.
27. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Five incredible short stories from the king of horror. His writing is as good as it ever was throughout the decades. My favorites in this anthology were, "Fair Extension" and "A Good Marriage."
Songs in italics are my favorites and recommendations to immediately download. Don't be cheap. They're only $1. Discover new music!
1. Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts
(Miriam, She's 22, Good Morning)
2. Courtney Marie Andrews - No One's Slate Is Clean
(Bumper In The Hail, Sex Dreams, Songs For Tourists)
3. Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky
(Showdown, Telephone Line)
4. Ryan Adams - Live After Deaf
(Halloween, Star Sign)
5. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
(all of it)
6. Jessie Baylin - Little Spark
(Yuma, The Winds)
7. Matthew Mayfield - A Banquet For Ghosts
(Always, I Don't Know You At All)
8. Matthew Perryman Jones - Land of the Living
(Waking up The Dead, Theo)
9. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Deluxe Edition)
(Wide Awake, Circle The Drain)
10. Dave Matthews Band - Away From the World
(Sweet, The Riff)
1. The Cabin In The Woods
2. The Innkeepers
3. The Loved Ones
5. The Kill List
6. Paranormal Activity 4
7. Lovely Molly
Close calls: The Pact, Sinister, Father's Day, Theater Bizarre