The Books That I Read in 2015


If this year’s reading has a theme, it’s one delineated by Philip Roth quoting Kafka: “I believe that we should read only those books that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it?”

And so it was that I gave myself permission, this year, to put down books that just weren’t doing it for me. You’ll see them below. Life’s too short, I figured, to finish books just to finish them. If, a hundred pages in, I wasn’t in love, down it went with no regrets. The books that I did finish run the gambit, from cooly earnest (Marilynne Robinson, Emily St. John Mandel) to hilariously raw and Jewish (Roz Chast, Philip Roth). Let’s get to it.

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I’ve Got A Name

The most frequent question I’d get, over my eleven years of being The Amateur Gourmet, was name-related. “How long can you keep being an amateur?” Or, variations on the theme: “Are you still an amateur after writing a cookbook?” “Are you still an amateur after making Bouillabaisse?” “Are you still an amateur if you’ve been doing porn for half a decade?” (Ignore that last one.)

At some point, I figured, I’d graduate to my name–like a David Lebovitz or a Michael Ruhlman–but then the blog felt so permanent, so fixed, that rebranding it and relabeling it felt like changing your 11 year-old child’s name from “Sarah” to “Bathsheba.” Meanwhile, my professional life began to shift a few months ago when I threw my hat into the TV-writing ring and got hired to write on a new ABC comedy called “The Real O’Neals.” Staying under the “food blog” umbrella felt too narrow for my new life; also, I was pretty bored by the pre-set expectations of a traditional food blog.

What I craved, more than anything, was a place to be myself. And lo and behold: here we are. A new blog, a new venture, with my name right there in the title. What does it mean? What will it be? That remains to be seen. But I’m feeling very excited about it, and that’s a good thing. So bid farewell to the amateur me, and say “hey” to the actual me. It’s nice to meet you, again.

Copyright Hey, Adam Roberts 2018
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