Ako naručujete knjige na engleskome, evo preporuka koje i sam potpisujem - Christophera Higgsa, Dennisa Coopera, Amber Sparks i Blakea Butlera (koji zapravo navodi sve što je pročitao tijekom godine, što je, u njegovu slučaju, implicitna preporuka).
Moj apsolutni ovogodišnji književni favorit je Édouard Levé.
by Michael Cisco
The latest novel from Michael Cisco (The Narrator, 2010, The Great Lover, 2011), Celebrant is the story of deKlend’s search for the mystical city of Votu, where time runs backwards, deified robots arise naturally in the mountains like mysterious rock formations, and gangs of vagrant orphan girls scavenge for survival whilst engaging in strange rivalries and alliances.
With a Miyazaki-like sweep of fantasy, and the Calvinoesque imaginative appeal of a guidebook to another world, this initiatory novel of reincarnation, pilgrimage, and discovery, experiments with other ways of locating yourself.
The Other Normals
by Ned Vizzini
Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine “Perry” Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn’t happening—not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls—rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he’s in for the worst summer of his life.
Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he’s ever met. Perry’s new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well.
The Flame Alphabet
by Ben Marcus
A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children’s speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that people are going into hiding. All Sam and Claire need to do is look around the neighborhood: In the park, parents wither beneath the powerful screams of their children. At night, suburban side streets become routes of shameful escape for fathers trying to get outside the radius of affliction.
With Claire nearing collapse, it seems their only means of survival is to flee from their daughter, Esther, who laughs at her parents’ sickness, unaware that in just a few years she, too, will be susceptible to the language toxicity. But Sam and Claire find it isn’t so easy to leave the daughter they still love, even as they waste away from her malevolent speech. On the eve of their departure, Claire mysteriously disappears, and Sam, determined to find a cure for this new toxic language, presses on alone into a world beyond recognition.
Promising Young Women
by Suzanne Scanlon
A series of fragmentary tales tells the story of Lizzie, a young woman who, in her early twenties, unexpectedly embarks on a journey through psychiatric institutions, a journey that will end up lasting many years. With echoes of Sylvia Plath, and against a cultural backdrop that includes Shakespeare, Woody Allen, and Heathers, Suzanne Scanlon’s first novel is both a deeply moving account of a life of crisis and a brilliantly original work of art.
Dora: A Headcase
by Lidia Yuknavitch
Dora: A Headcase is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud’s famous case study—retold and revamped through Dora’s point of view, with shotgun blasts of dark humor and sexual play.
Ida needs a shrink . . . or so her philandering father thinks, and he sends her to a Seattle psychiatrist. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, whom she nicknames Siggy, Ida begins a coming-of-age journey. At the beginning of her therapy, Ida, whose alter ego is Dora, and her small posse of pals engage in “art attacks.” Ida’s in love with her friend Obsidian, but when she gets close to intimacy, she faints or loses her voice. Ida and her friends hatch a plan to secretly film Siggy and make an experimental art film. But something goes wrong at a crucial moment—at a nearby hospital Ida finds her father suffering a heart attack. While Ida loses her voice, a rough cut of her experimental film has gone viral, and unethical media agents are hunting her down. A chase ensues in which everyone wants what Ida has.
by Amelia Gray
David’s wife is dead. At least, he thinks she’s dead. But he can’t figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out what’s happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home—one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may be the best clues to his wife’s death:
CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL.
Detective Chico is also on the case, and is intent on asking David questions he doesn’t know the answers to and introducing him to people who don’t appear to have David’s or his wife’s best interests in mind. With no one to trust, David is forced to rely on his own memories and faculties—but they too are proving unreliable.
Daniel Fights a Hurricane
by Shane Jones
Ever since he was a boy, Daniel Suppleton has been deathly afraid of hurricanes, which he fears will arrive suddenly and reduce everyone he knows and loves to trembling skeletons. Retreating to live in a tipi in the woods, Daniel battles demons real and imagined. As his ex-wife, Karen, frantically searches for him, the long-awaited hurricane finally hits, and Daniel must find a way to save them both. Haunting, mesmerizing, and beautifully written, Daniel Fights a Hurricane is an affecting, original novel of love and loss, marriage and friendship, by a rising young talent.
The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1
by Scott McClanahan
“Scott McClanahan is a powerful, exceptional writer, and the overall effect of reading his deceptively simple stories is like getting hit in the head by a champion cage fighter cranked up on meth that was cooked in a trailer without running water in some Kentucky backwoods where people sing murder ballads to their children to put them to sleep.” -DONALD RAY POLLOCK, author of The Devil All the Time
“He might be one of the great southern storytellers of our time.” -VOL. 1 BROOKLYN
“When I discovered the stories of Scott McClanahan last year, I was instantly enthralled with his natural storytelling voice and freaky funny tales. There’s no pretense to Scott’s work. It’s like you’re just dropped right into the middle of these fantastic and true stories. It’s like a sweet blend of my favorite southern writers, Larry Brown and Harry Crews. Reading McClanahan is like listening to a good friend telling you his best real-life stories on your back porch on a humid night. And you both got a nice whiskey buzz going.” -KEVIN SAMPSELL, author of A Common Pornography
Summer of Hate
by Chris Kraus
Waking up from the chilling high of a near-death sex game, Catt Dunlop travels to Albuquerque in 2005 to reinvest some windfall real-estate gains and reengage with something approximating “real life.” Aware that the critical discourse she has used to build her career as a visiting professor and art critic is really a cipher for something else, she hopes that buying and fixing slum buildings will bring her more closely in touch with American life than the essays she writes.
In Albuquerque, she becomes romantically involved with Paul Garcia, a recently sober ex-con who has just served sixteen months in state prison for defrauding Halliburton Industries, his former employer, of $873. Almost forty years old, Paul is highly intelligent but has only been out of New Mexico twice. He has no information. With Catt’s help, he makes plans to attend UCLA, only to be arrested on a ten-year-old bench warrant en route.
Caught in the nightmarish Byzantine world of the legal system, Catt and Paul’s empathic attempts to save each other’s lives seems doomed to dissolve. Summer of Hate is a novel about flawed reciprocity and American justice, recording recent events through the prism of a beleaguered romance. As lucid and trenchant as ever, Kraus in her newest novel reminds us that the writer can be a first responder of sorts when power becomes invisible, or merely banal.
With the Animals
by Noëlle Revaz
With the Animals, Noelle Revaz’s shocking debut, is a novel of mud and blood whose linguistic audaciousness is matched only by its brutality, misanthropy, and gallows humor which paint a portrait of masculinity gone mad.
Considered the standard-bearer for the great Franco-Swiss literary tradition, exemplified by authors such as Jacques Chessex and C. F. Ramuz, Noëlle Revaz may also remind English-language readers of Louis-Ferdinand Céline: With the Animals, her shocking debut, is a novel of mud and blood whose linguistic audaciousness is matched only by its brutality, misanthropy, and gallows humor. Narrated by the singular Paul—a violent, narrow-minded farmer whose unceasing labor leaves him with more love for his livestock than his family—With the Animals is at once a fantastically exaggerated and entirely honest portrait of masculinity gone mad. With his mute and detested wife and children huddled at his side, Paul is only roused from his regimen of hard labor and casual cruelty when a farmhand, Georges, comes to work on his property for the summer. His sovereignty seemingly threatened, an element of unwanted humanity now injected into his universe, Paul’s little kingdom seems ripe at last for a revolution.
You Private Person
by Richard Chiem
“Considering how much I love Richard Chiem’s writing, and given how its uncanny snare and sweep of life’s especially agile, prompt, messed, lithe, sharp, and heartbreaking things leaves me stiffed of summarizing words, I think I’ll just nominate his work for immortality.” —Dennis Cooper
“Richard Chiem writes of all the weirdness and ooziness and tenderness of young love, with such lucid specificity. Like some beautiful film from the 70s, but also distinctly now. Because I also love how in this book he documents the tremors of contemporary existence, of living and working in a city, measuring days not in coffee spoons but in cigarettes and Simpsons episodes.”—Kate Zambreno
“Richard Chiem’s YOU PRIVATE PERSON is a bustling prism of a thing, full of passages that actually lead somewhere off of the paper. His words have brains that have bodies that wake you up in the way waking can be the best thing, like into a warm room full of good calm remembered things that feel both like relics and new inside the day. Here rings a wise and bravely sculpted book packed full of stunning thankful color.”—Blake Butler
My Only Wife
by Jac Jemc
Ten years ago the narrator unlocked the door of a wrecked apartment, empty of any trace of his wife. As stunning as her disappearance is his response. He freezes on the facts of her, haunting his recollections. This is the story of a man unable to free himself enough from the idea of a woman to try to find her.
by China Miéville
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it’s a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
by Tamara Faith Berger
‘Maidenhead is a mesmerizing and important novel, lying somewhere between the wilds of Judy Blume, Girls Gone Wild, and Michel Foucault. It’s a thrilling, brilliant, and really hot place to be.’ — Sheila Heti, Globe and Mail
On a mangy beach in Key West, sixteen-year-old Myra meets Elijah, a Tanzanian musician twice her age. Trapped on a Spring Break family vacation, Myra longs to lose her virginity to Elijah, and is shocked to learn he lives with Gayl, a secretive, violent woman with a strange power over him.
When Myra and her splitting-up family return home, she falls in with a pot-smoking anarchist crowd. But when Gayl and Elijah follow her north, she walks willingly into their world, engaging in more and more abject sexual games.
As Myra enters unfamiliar worlds of sex, porn, race and class, she explores territories unknown in herself. Maidenhead traverses the desperate, wild spaces of a teenage girl’s self-consciousness.
Mother and Child
by Carole Maso
A mediation on life and death, being and non-being, and the intense mystery and beauty of existence, Maso’s new novel follows a mother and child as they roam through wondrous and increasingly dangerous psychic and physical terrain A great wind comes, an ancient tree splits in half and a bat, or is it an angel, enters the house where the mother and child sleep, and in an instant a world of relentless change, of spectacular consequences, of submerged memory, and uncanny intimations is set into motion.
It is as if a veil has lifted, and what was once hidden is now in plain sight in all its splendor and terror as the mother and child are asked to bear enormous transformations and a terrible wisdom almost impossible to fathom. As the outside can no longer be separated from the inside, nor dream from reality, the mother and child continue, encountering along the way all kinds of characters and creatures as they move through a surreal world of grace and dread to the end.
The bond between Mother and Child is untouchable, unrealizable until it is lost, and this meditation pushes the envelope, inching ever closer to touching it, to realizing it.
by Matt Bell
Beset with environmental disaster, animal-like children, and the failure of traditional roles, the twenty-six fathers of Cataclysm Baby raise their desperate voices to reveal the strange stations of frustrated parenthood, to proclaim familial thrashings against the fading light of our exhausted planet, its glory grown wild again. As the known world disappears, these beleaguered and all-too-breakable men cling ever tighter to the duties of an unrecoverable past, even as their children rush ahead, evolve away. Unflinching in the face of apocalypse and unblinking before the complicated gaze of parental love, Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby is a powerful chronicle of our last days, and of the tentative graces that might fill the hours of our dusk.
The Folly of the World
by Jesse Bullington
On a stormy night in 1421, the North Sea delivers a devastating blow to Holland: the Saint Elizabeth Flood, a deluge of biblical proportions that drowns hundreds of towns, thousands of people, and forever alters the geography of the Low Countries. Where the factions of the noble Hooks and the merchant Cods waged a literal class war but weeks before, there is now only a nigh-endless expanse of grey water, a desolate inland sea with moldering church spires jutting up like sunken tombstones. For a land already beleaguered by generations of civil war, a worse disaster could scarce be imagined.
Yet even disaster can be profitable, for the right sort of individual, and into this flooded realm sail three conspirators: a deranged thug at the edge of madness, a ruthless conman on the cusp of fortune, and a half-feral girl balanced between them.
With The Folly of the World, Jesse Bullington has woven an extraordinary new tale of the depraved and the desperate.
by Gail Scott
In order to traverse a city where identity is tagged by accent, Rosine, Gail Scott’s part-Indigenous protagonist, performs an ever-shifting amalgam, ventriloquizing often suspect voices, both contemporaneous and ancestral. Her inability to claim a legacy becomes a trajectory of disjunctions where place, language, and race are lived through in the most detailed ways, fostering schisms that challenge what narrative has come to mean under the rubric of the “novel.” Though a mystery, possibly involving murder, THE OBITUARY is less a whodunit than an investigation of who speaks when “one” speaks.
Confessions from a Dark Wood
by Eric Raymond
You have received a business card.
It invites you into the world of global capital brand management consultancy.
Prepare for pain.
You’ll meet Nick, a hapless pawn in the world of global capital brand management consulting. And his girlfriend Sadie Parish, the first domestic suicide bomber. And his boss, emperor of b****t, Pontius J. LaBar. And PJ’s dreaded orangutan. Their story is a hilarious, heartbreaking, painfully smart satire that guides you through the high dollar swamps of modern industry.
by Brian Evenson
A woman falling out of sync with the world; a king’s servant hypnotized by his murderous horse; a transplanted ear with a mind of its own—the characters in these stories live as interlopers in a world shaped by mysterious disappearances and unfathomable discrepancies between the real and imagined. Brian Evenson, master of literary horror, presents his most far-ranging collection to date, exploring how humans can persist in an increasingly unreal world. Haunting, gripping, and psychologically fierce, these tales illuminate a dark and unsettling side of humanity.
Further Adventures in Monochrome
by John Yau
John Yau engages art criticism, social theory, and syntactical dexterity to confront the problems of aging, meaning, and identity. Insisting that “True poets and artists know where language ends, which is why they go there,” Yau presses against the limits of language, creating poems that are at once cryptic, playful, and insightful. Included in its entirety is his groundbreaking serial poem, “Genghis Chan: Private Eye,” and a new series invoking the monochromatic painter Yves Klein.
by Christopher Stackhouse
PLURAL is an experiential immersion in the daily life of an artist, arts critic and poet who weaves and juxtaposes aesthetic ideas, personal circumstances, philosophical questions, and societal situations while aggressively experimenting with poetic form and content. Stackhouse’s interest in turning basic descriptions of everyday objects and mental images into caustic, claustrophobic, lyrical address is present in much of this collection. The prose poem “Short,” a compressed narrative that recalls a perfunctory day of activity that includes an egg and toast breakfast, pornography, beer, and walking a dog, reveals highly self-aware attention to the dramatic closeness of thought, physical action, language and visuality. PLURAL also comprises poems made from direct transcriptions of notes taken at lectures given by philosophers Alain Badiou and Arthur Danto, as well as text appropriations and references to musicians J. S. Bach, Bill Dixon, and John Cage. PLURAL offers radically individual attempts at human communication and communion.
by Dan Magers
Partyknife is a debut book of angry, funny, sad poems from the banal seeming yet hyper-mysterious Sink Review and Immaculate Disciples Press founder Dan Magers.
The poems range from gleeful haywire to broken despair. Stoner wisdom and vulnerable transcendence alternate throughout as the speaker drinks vitality from life and longs to hold onto his identity and a band called Partyknife, a band he may or may never have been a part of. Partyknife is not a memoir, but stands as the last will and testament of the poet’s 20s living in Brooklyn, New York.
My Life is a Movie
by Carina Finn
Exteriors, interiors, film sets, sisters, cowboys, government, punching screens, voracious living death instincts, and everything of life or just propelled towards it with a ratty bow in its hair.
EXTERIOR: THE OLD WEST OR THE GUTTED INTERIOR OF A PONTIAC BANSHEE
in cowboy movies everybody is noble and I like that about them also their skies. also in cowboy movies a lot of times the cowboys make breakfast in cast-iron appliances over real fires and without shirts on and the girls lie around feeling famished from so much cowboy-sex. if there were cowboys in winter they would still be able to make breakfast outside without shirts on because they are cowboys. the girls would wear dresses and bows and drink whiskey out of tin cups or break horses just like the cowboys except they are girls when they are in love which is always but especially or
I am riding in the back of a van with a bag of epees on my back and every fourth house has a star on it or cows or I tell myself a story about a modern general store that sells nothing but lemon drops in barrels or I am told a story about peanut butter and guns. outside the air smells like july or a pretzel factory or I am nailing a salt-lick to a rotting wooden wall.
by Olivia Cronk
Like a secret date with Lizzie Borden, these moody lyrics thrill as they incriminate. SKIN HORSE shows that history is a crime scene, and that crime is theatrical, rife with costumes, masks, hats, props, weapons, scripts, dialogue, wooden scenery and dreamlike reenactments. These poems are anachronistic yet uncannily alive, furtive yet frank like an incriminating note forgotten in an apron pocket. Cronk locks words together like a lace collar which flutters attractively even as it tightens at the reader’s throat. She writes, “with velvet trim / in the whistle of seeing.” She writes, “Is it too untoward to say Please Go Back to Normal Life?” She writes, “Gotta nest of woe a nest of wail / and pardon my tied-on prom.”
by Brandon Brown
Brandon Brown’s FLOWERING MALL is not a translation of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal, but it does beautifully perform an alchemical revival of the punk spirit that is French Symbolism. The book reveals our world of gorgeous excess, surveillance, friendship and possibility.
by Mathias Svalina
This book of poems features Svalina’s 60+ page epic, Above the Fold , about which he notes: The poem is about the process of watching things happen in your name both across the globe & in front of you, & the ingestion of media images that represent the state of the world & its publicities & privacies of pain. People do awful things to one another & then other people say ‘aren’t those awful things awful’ & then there is also kissing.
by Tyrone Williams
“I began writing HOWELL about fifteen years ago in the wake of the Oklahoma bombing and subsequent trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols (Michael Fortier was given partial immunity in exchange for his testimony against McVeigh). The title refers to some newspaper accounts of the itinerary of McVeigh in Michigan when he visited and stayed at the Nichols brothers’ home ‘near Howell, Michigan.’ The location of the Nichols house, near Troy, Michigan, is actually nowhere ‘near’ Howell, and this ‘error’ is the catalyst for the poem, itself a kind of ‘writing through’ the history of Howell, Michigan (there are, at last count, at least four different histories of Howell online, and these constitute the major divisions of the poem), as well as the birthplaces, towns and regions of Nichols and Fortier.”
The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail
by Gregory Sherl
Loosely or not so loosely based on the iconic computer game The Oregon Trail, THE OREGON TRAIL IS THE OREGON TRAIL chronicles the journey of a family on their way out West. Along the way, they fight dysentery, a racist Mel Gibson, syphilis, and consumption while learning that letting go is sometimes easier than starting over. Read the book, play the game, and never welcome the small pox welcome wagon. We have done bad things, and we will pay for them.
A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics
by CA Conrad
Since their 2005 inception, CAConrad’s (Soma)tic exercises have been summoning the whole spectrum of human experience in the name of poetry. A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON collects 27 new and previously published exercises and their emerging poems, incorporating unorthodox steps in the writing process from the tangible everyday to the cosmos of the imagination. Together they manifest as an urgent call for a connective, concentrated, and unfettered creativity.
by Feng Sun Chen
In the poems of Feng Chen’s darkly spellbinding debut collection, BUTCHER’S TREE, the page evokes and provokes legendary creatures, kills them and puts on their skin—then cures the meat. This startling and unusual book is a medium that channels damned and contaminated creatures such as Grendel, Wukong, and Prometheus. It reconsiders what it means to construct a myth; to mold around a hollow space a materiality of shape that depends on contours without content. Life that has no life. These are love poems whose monstrous repetition demystifies these once powerful beings while at the same time plunging deeper into insensible consciousness, where the human ceases to retain its proper form.
Half of What They Carried Flew Away
by Andrea Rexilius
They are marginal. They move in rivulets.
They exist not only in their details.
They contain their own extraordinary destiny.
They live beside a family of small farmers.
They are discovered and decide to emigrate.
Their name is William.
They are born a little girl.
by Aase Berg
Aase Berg’s TRANSFER FAT (Forsla fett), nominated in 2002 for Sweden’s prestigious Augustpriset for the best poetry book, is a haunting amalgamation of languages and elements—of science, of pregnancy, of whales, of the naturally and unnaturally grotesque—that births things unforeseen and intimately alien. Johannes Göransson’s translation captures the seething instability of Berg’s bizarre compound nouns and linguistic contortions.
Sonics in Warholia
by Megan Volpert
Speaking directly to the pop icon’s ghost, Megan Volpert dives into a completely charted yet utterly unknown ocean that is Andy Warhol. The resulting collection of love letters and hate mail audaciously perforates the scene of the usual cultural suspects with icy shrapnel in a terrifying mirror game. This is not a biography, but a book that reflects Andy—detects him, the Andy who deflects. Working into territory that channels the essay as its more radical practitioners imagine, Megan revives the prose poem and rethinks herself. As the idea of a “real” Andy begins to decay, the author learns to invent him and discovers herself everywhere. Remaking this mythic man in the image of her own baggage, Megan gives us her most personal writing to date and a striking truth: everybody becomes Andy.
by Joyelle McSweeney
Music and drama as weapons of productive destruction. This collection by prize-winning, massively influential literary star Joyelle McSweeney explodes the twinned and dangerous notions that images are pretty, and that they land predictably. Power struggles in all contexts and the driving ever-presence of a lexicon of puissance make this a bracing read, not for the faint of heart or mind.
The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard
by Joe Brainard
An artist associated with the New York School of poets, Joe Brainard (1942-1994) was a wonderful writer whose one-of-a-kind autobiographical work I Remember (“a completely original book” -Edmund White) has had a wide and growing influence. It is joined in this major new retrospective with many other pieces that for the first time present the full range of Brainard’s writing in all its deadpan wit, madcap inventiveness, self-revealing frankness, and generosity of spirit. The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard gathers intimate journals, jottings, stories, one-liners, comic strips, mini-essays, and short plays, many of them available until now only as expensive rarities, if at all. “Brainard disarms us with the seemingly tossed- off, spontaneous nature of his writing and his stubborn refusal to accede to the pieties of self-importance,” writes Paul Auster in the introduction to this collection. “These little works . . . are not really about anything so much as what it means to be young, that hopeful, anarchic time when all horizons are open to us and the future appears to be without limits.” Assembled by the author’s longtime friend and biographer Ron Padgett and including fourteen previously unpublished works, here is a fresh and affordable way to rediscover a unique American artist.
by Hanna Andrews
“SLOPE MOVE is bittersweet indeed: a thorny junction between emotion, image, situation, abstraction. Discomfort hides (in plain sight) in details which ground the lyricism and allow complexity to the narrative. The birds are noticed, aren’t they.”—Thalia Field
“SLOPE MOVE is a poem in three parts that travels—through Berkeley, Iowa, Illinois—a sort of reverse migration. The you and I are in a relationship that is all about motion, all about refusing to rest, and much of this book, as a result, takes place in the spaces of travel: at a Motel 6, in an airplane, in traffic. It is through this motion that SLOPE MOVE is attentive to the quaking that makes everyone in relation to everyone else.”—Juliana Spahr
by Danielle Pafunda
“To read Danielle Pafunda’s MANHATER is to occupy a world of exuberantly dreadful, vibrantly horrifying sentences about decay, death, ‘penumbral scuzz,’ and the parasites that live in the parasites that live in the basest bodies among us. In Pafunda’s mantis-like narrator, I hear ‘jolly worms’ and ‘sarcophagus parties.’ I hear exhilaration in destruction, in ‘gasping bodies of doom.’ The speaker in these poems might destroy the love she touches, but in the process she excretes with a syntax that’s dazzlingly scary: a direct delivery of humanimal emission; an infection of flesh and body; sentences that discharge what’s magically repulsive in carcass, fungus, milk, blood, and goo. Here there is composition in decomposition, spasms of sparkle and rot.”—Daniel Borzutzky
Balloon Pop Outlaw Black
by Patricia Lockwood
Even all by themselves, the titles of Patricia Lockwood’s poems reveal the sort of surreal, enigmatic, rhetorically-elongated world her sensibility inhabits effortlessly: “When We Move Away From Here, You’ll See A Clean Square of Paper Where His Picture Hung,” “The Cartoon’s Mother Builds a House in Hammerspace,” “The Front Half and the Back Half of a Horse in Conversation,” “Children With Lamps Pouring Out of Their Foreheads,” and the inimitable “Killed With an Apple Corer, She Asks What Does That Make Me.”
by Kim Rosenfield
Kim Rosenfield works within the outskirts of language, draining it of connotation and excess. Using words and phrases culled from linguistics textbooks and language-learning manuals, Rosenfield invites the reader to experience everyday vernacular as dislocated affect. What happens when language acts as organ donor? When language, the conveyor of our vulnerability, is transposed into new and often failing terrain? Are expressions of meaning vital enough to keep the organism functioning? What happens when meaning loses its moorings?
LIVIDITY compels the reader to navigate through language that sinks, coagulates, empties out, and becomes a forensic tool to determine linguistic/poetic cues of movement within or towards a concept of meaning making. Rosenfield’s poetry unsettles and disorients, but ultimately examines. It is an analysis, a scientific picking apart of communication and the limits of self expression.
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
by Geoff Dyer
In Zona, Geoff Dyer attempts to unlock the mysteries of a film that has haunted him ever since he first saw it thirty years ago: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. (“Every single frame,” declared Cate Blanchett, “is burned into my retina.”) As Dyer guides us into the zone of Tarkovsky’s imagination, we realize that the film is only the entry point for a radically original investigation of the enduring questions of life, faith, and how to live.
The Anatomy of Harpo Marx
by Wayne Koestenbaum
The Anatomy of Harpo Marx is a luxuriant, detailed play-by-play account of Harpo Marx’s physical movements as captured on screen. Wayne Koestenbaum guides us through the thirteen Marx Brothers films, from The Cocoanuts in 1929 to Love Happy in 1950, to focus on Harpo’s chief and yet heretofore unexplored attribute—his profound and contradictory corporeality. Koestenbaum celebrates the astonishing range of Harpo’s body—its kinks, sexual multiplicities, somnolence, Jewishness, “cute” pathos, and more. In a virtuosic performance, Koestenbaum’s text moves gracefully from insightful analysis to cultural critique to autobiographical musing, and provides Harpo with a host of odd bedfellows, including Walter Benjamin and Barbra Streisand.
by Kate Zambreno
In Heroines, Zambreno extends the polemic begun on her blog into a dazzling, original work of literary scholarship. Combing theories that have dictated what literature should be and who is allowed to write it–from T. S. Eliot’s New Criticism to the writings of such mid-century intellectuals as Elizabeth Hardwick and Mary McCarthy to the occasional “girl-on-girl crime” of the Second Wave of feminism–she traces the genesis of a cultural template that consistently exiles female experience to the realm of the “minor” and diagnoses women for transgressing social bounds. “ANXIETY: When she experiences it, it’s pathological,” writes Zambreno. “When he does, it’s existential.” By advancing the Girl-As-Philosopher, Zambreno reinvents feminism for her generation while providing a model for a newly subjectivized criticism.
The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies
by David Thomson
The Big Screen is not another history of the movies. Rather, it is a wide-ranging narrative about the movies and their signal role in modern life. At first, film was a waking dream, the gift of appearance delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon, and abruptly, movies began transforming our societies and our perceptions of the world. The celebrated film authority David Thomson takes us around the globe, through time, and across many media—moving from Eadweard Muybridge to Steve Jobs, from Sunrise to I Love Lucy, from John Wayne to George Clooney, from television commercials to streaming video—to tell the complex, gripping, paradoxical story of the movies. He tracks the ways we were initially enchanted by movies as imitations of life—the stories, the stars, the look—and how we allowed them to show us how to live. At the same time, movies, offering a seductive escape from everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless and anxiety-ridden citizens trying to pursue happiness and dodge terror by sitting quietly in a dark room.
Maurice Blanchot and Fragmentary Writing: A Change of Epoch
by Leslie Hill
Writing in fragments is often held to be one of the most distinctive signature effects of Romantic, modern, and postmodern literature. But what is the fragment, and what may be said to be its literary, philosophical, and political significance? Few writers have explored these questions with such probing radicality and rigorous tenacity as the French writer and thinker Maurice Blanchot.
For the first time in any language, this book explores in detail Blanchot’s own writing in fragments in order to understand the stakes of the fragmentary within philosophical and literary modernity. It attends in detail to each of Blanchot’s fragmentary works (Awaiting Forgetting, The Step Not Beyond, and The Writing of the Disaster) and reconstructs Blanchot’s radical critical engagement with the philosophical and literary tradition, in particular with Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Levinas, Derrida, Nancy, Mallarmé, Char, and others, and assesses Blanchot’s account of politics, Jewish thought, and the Shoah, with a view to understanding the stakes of fragmentary writing in Blanchot and within philosophical and literary modernity in general.
Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music
by Alvin Lucier
Composer and peformer Alvin Lucier brings clarity to the world of experimental music as he takes the reader through more than a hundred groundbreaking musical works, including those of Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Christian Wolff, and La Monte Young. Lucier explains in detail how each piece is made, unlocking secrets of the composers’ style and technique. The book as a whole charts the progress of American experimental music from the 1950s to the present, covering such topics as indeterminacy, electronics, and minimalism, as well as radical innovations in music for the piano, string quartet, and opera. Clear, approachable and lively, Music 109 is Lucier’s indispensable guide to late 20th-century composition. No previous musical knowledge is required, and all readers are welcome.
Grace: A Memoir
by Grace Coddington
Beautiful. Willful. Charming. Blunt. Grace Coddington’s extraordinary talent and fierce dedication to her work as creative director of Voguehave made her an international icon. Known through much of her career only to those behind the scenes, she might have remained fashion’s best-kept secret were it not for The September Issue, the acclaimed 2009 documentary that turned publicity-averse Grace into a sudden, reluctant celebrity. Grace’s palpable engagement with her work brought a rare insight into the passion that produces many of the magazine’s most memorable shoots.
The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt
by Milton Babbitt
Like his compositions, Milton Babbitt’s writings about music have exerted an extraordinary influence on postwar music and thinking about music. In essays and public addresses spanning fifty years, Babbitt has grappled profoundly with central questions in the composition and apprehension of music. These writings range from personal memoirs and critical reviews to closely reasoned metatheoretical speculations and technical exegesis. In the history of music theory, there has been only a small handful of figures who have produced work of comparable stature. Taken as a whole, Babbitt’s writings are not only an invaluable testimony to his thinking–a priceless primary source for the intellectual and cultural history of the second half of the twentieth century–but also a remarkable achievement in their own right.
Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting
by Sianne Ngai
In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.
Ngai explores how each of these aesthetic categories expresses conflicting feelings that connect to the ways in which postmodern subjects work, exchange, and consume. As a style of performing that takes the form of affective labor, the zany is bound up with production and engages our playfulness and our sense of desperation. The interesting is tied to the circulation of discourse and inspires interest but also boredom. The cute’s involvement with consumption brings out feelings of tenderness and aggression simultaneously. At the deepest level, Ngai argues, these equivocal categories are about our complex relationship to performing, information, and commodities.
Through readings of Adorno, Schlegel, and Nietzsche alongside cultural artifacts ranging from Bob Perelman’s poetry to Ed Ruscha’s photography books to the situation comedy of Lucille Ball, Ngai shows how these everyday aesthetic categories also provide traction to classic problems in aesthetic theory. The zany, cute, and interesting are not postmodernity’s only meaningful aesthetic categories, Ngai argues, but the ones best suited for grasping the radical transformation of aesthetic experience and discourse under its conditions.
Depression: A Public Feeling
by Ann Cvetkovich
In Depression: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich combines memoir and critical essay in search of ways of writing about depression as a cultural and political phenomenon that offer alternatives to medical models. She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book. Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism.
Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life. Depression: A Public Feeling suggests that utopian visions can reside in daily habits and practices, such as writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt experience to political activism and social transformation.
Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature
by Daniel Levin Becker
What sort of society could bind together Jacques Roubaud, Italo Calvino, Marcel Duchamp, and Raymond Queneau–and Daniel Levin Becker, a young American obsessed with language play? Only the Oulipo, the Paris-based experimental collective founded in 1960 and fated to become one of literature’s quirkiest movements.
An international organization of writers, artists, and scientists who embrace formal and procedural constraints to achieve literature’s possibilities, the Oulipo (the French acronym stands for “workshop for potential literature”) is perhaps best known as the cradle of Georges Perec’s novel “A Void, ” which does not contain the letter e. Drawn to the Oulipo’s mystique, Levin Becker secured a Fulbright grant to study the organization and traveled to Paris. He was eventually offered membership, becoming only the second American to be admitted to the group. From the perspective of a young initiate, the Oulipians and their projects are at once bizarre and utterly compelling.
‘Pataphysics: A Useless Guide
by Andrew Hugill
Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, ‘pataphysics–the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions–has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating in the wild imagination of French poet and playwright Alfred Jarry and his schoolmates, resisting clear definition, purposefully useless, and almost impossible to understand, ‘pataphysics nevertheless lies around the roots of Absurdism, Dada, futurism, surrealism, situationism, and other key cultural developments of the twentieth century. In this account of the evolution and influence of ‘pataphysics, Andrew Hugill offers an informed exposition of a rich and difficult territory, staying aloft on a tightrope stretched between the twin dangers of oversimplifying a serious subject and taking a joke too seriously.
Drawing on more than twenty-five years’ research, Hugill maps the ‘pataphysical presence (partly conscious and acknowledged but largely unconscious and unacknowledged) in literature, theater, music, the visual arts, and the culture at large, and even detects ‘pataphysical influence in the social sciences and the sciences. He offers many substantial excerpts (in English translation) from primary sources, intercalated with a thorough explication of key themes and events of ‘pataphysical history.
Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
by Mary Ruefle
Over the course of fifteen years, Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures include “Poetry and the Moon,” “Someone Reading A Book Is A Sign Of Order In The World,” and “Lectures I Will Never Give.” Intellectually virtuosic, instructive, and experiential, Madness, Rack, and Honey resists definition, demanding instead an utter—and utterly pleasurable—immersion.
Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan
by William Hjortsberg
Confident and robust, Jubilee Hitchhiker is an comprehensive biography of late novelist and poet Richard Brautigan, author of Troutfishing in America and A Confederate General from Big Sur, among many others. When Brautigan took his own life in September of 1984 his close friends and network of artists and writers were devastated though not entirely surprised. To many, Brautigan was shrouded in enigma, erratic and unpredictable in his habits and presentation. But his career was formidable, an inspiration to young writers like Hjortsberg trying to get their start. Brautigan’s career wove its way through both the Beat-influenced San Francisco Renaissance in the 1950s and the “Flower Power” hippie movement of the 1960s; while he never claimed direct artistic involvement with either period, Jubilee Hitchhiker also delves deeply into the spirited times in which he lived.
Derrida: A Biography
by Benoît Peeters
This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world – a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept – deconstruction – takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.
American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas
by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen
In American Nietzsche, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen delves deeply into Nietzsche’s philosophy, and America’s reception of it, to tell the story of his curious appeal. Beginning her account with Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom the seventeen-year-old Nietzsche read fervently, she shows how Nietzsche’s ideas first burst on American shores at the turn of the twentieth century, and how they continued alternately to invigorate and to shock Americans for the century to come. She also delineates the broader intellectual and cultural contexts within which a wide array of commentators—academic and armchair philosophers, theologians and atheists, romantic poets and hard-nosed empiricists, and political ideologues and apostates from the Left and the Right—drew insight and inspiration from Nietzsche’s claims for the death of God, his challenge to universal truth, and his insistence on the interpretive nature of all human thought and beliefs. At the same time, she explores how his image as an iconoclastic immoralist was put to work in American popular culture, making Nietzsche an unlikely posthumous celebrity capable of inspiring both teenagers and scholars alike.
The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Anne-Marie O’Connor
The spellbinding story, part fairy tale, part suspense, of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the most emblematic portraits of its time; of the beautiful, seductive Viennese Jewish salon hostess who sat for it; the notorious artist who painted it; the now vanished turn-of-the-century Vienna that shaped it; and the strange twisted fate that befell it.
The Lady in Gold, considered an unforgettable masterpiece, one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable paintings, made headlines all over the world when Ronald Lauder bought it for $135 million a century after Klimt, the most famous Austrian painter of his time, completed the society portrait.
Anne-Marie O’Connor, writer for The Washington Post, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, tells the galvanizing story of the Lady in Gold, Adele Bloch-Bauer, a dazzling Viennese Jewish society figure; daughter of the head of one of the largest banks in the Hapsburg Empire, head of the Oriental Railway, whose Orient Express went from Berlin to Constantinople; wife of Ferdinand Bauer, sugar-beet baron.
Cezanne: A Life
by Alex Danchev
Alex Danchev gives us the first comprehensive assessment of the revolutionary work and restless life of Paul Cézanne to be published in decades. One of the most influential painters of his time and beyond, Cézanne was the exemplary artist-creator of the modern age who changed the way we see the world.
With brisk intellect, rich documentation, and eighty-eight color and fifty-two black-and-white illustrations, Danchev tells the story of an artist who was originally considered a madman, a barbarian, and a sociopath. Beginning with the unsettled teenager in Aix, Danchev takes us through the trials of a painter who believed that art must be an expression of temperament but was tormented by self-doubt, who was rejected by the Salon for forty years, who sold nothing outside his immediate circle until his thirties, who had a family that he kept secret from his father until his forties, who had his first exhibition at the age of fifty-six—but who fiercely maintained his revolutionary beliefs. Danchev shows us how the beliefs Cézanne held and the life he led became the obsession and inspiration of artists, writers, poets, and philosophers from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Samuel Beckett and Allen Ginsberg. A special feature of the book is a remarkable series of Cézanne’s self-portraits, reproduced in full color.
Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years
Edited by Mark Rosenthal, Marla Prather, Ian Alteveer, and Rebecca Lowery
For decades, commentators have acknowledged Andy Warhol’s phenomenal impact on contemporary art. Unlike the many existing books about the artist,Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years is the first full-scale exploration of his tremendous reach across several generations of artists who in key ways respond to his groundbreaking work. Examining in depth the nature of the Warhol sensibility, the book is organized around five significant themes in the artist’s work: popular consumer culture and tabloid news; portraiture and the cult of celebrity; issues of sexual identity and gender; artistic practices such as seriality, abstraction, and appropriation; and the role of collaboration in Warhol’s ventures into filmmaking, publishing, and the creation of environments and spectacles. Each theme is delineated with visual “dialogues” between prime examples of Warhol’s work and works in various media by some sixty other artists, among them John Baldessari, Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, and Ryan Trecartin. These juxtapositions not only demonstrate Warhol’s overt influence but also suggest how artists have either worked in parallel modes or developed his model in dynamic new directions. The volume includes a major essay by Mark Rosenthal, original interviews with a number of the artists featured in the book, and a visual archive and extensive illustrated chronology that chart the “Warhol effect” over the past fifty years.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Edited by Andrew Bolton
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the full breadth of the designer’s career, from the start of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London house. It features his most iconic and radical designs, revealing how McQueen adapted and combined the fundamentals of Savile Row tailoring, the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic. It also focuses on the highly sophisticated narrative structures underpinning his collections and extravagant runway presentations, with their echoes of avant-garde installation and performance art.
Best Novels: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter;
in no order
1. Frank Hinton Action, Figure (Tiny Hardcore Press)
2. Blake Butler Sky Saw (Tyrant Books)
3. Richard Chiem You Private Person (Scrambler Books)
4. Trinie Dalton Baby Geisha (Two Dollar Radio)
5. Edouard Leve Autoportrait (Dalkey Archive)
6. Sean Kilpatrick fuckscapes (Blue Square Press)
7. xTx Billie the Bull (Nephew)
8. Nikanor Teratologen Assisted Living (Dalkey Archive)
9. Kevin Killian Spreadeagle (Publication Studio)
10. Eric Raymond Confessions from a Dark Wood (Sator Press)
11. Luis Chitarroni The No Variations (Dalkey Archive)
12. Scott McClanahan The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1 (Lazy Fascist Press)
13. Blake Butler/Christopher Higgs/Vanessa Place One (Roof)
14. Shane Jones Daniel Fights a Hurricane (Penguin)
15. Stephen Michael McDowell Treees (treees-smm)
16. Matt Bell Cataclysm Baby (Mud Luscious Press)
17. Hilda Hilst The Obscene Madame D (Nightboat Books)
18. Brian Evenson Immobility (Tor Books)
19. Michael Seidlinger The Sky Conducting (Civil Coping Mechanisms)
20. tie Lindsay Stern Town of Shadows (Scrambler Books)
M. Kitchell Slow Slidings (Blue Square Press)
in no order
1. Jon Leon The Malady of the Century (Futurepoem Books)
2. Ben Kopel Victory (H_NGM_N Books)
3. Joyelle McSweeney Percussion Grenade (Fence Books)
4. Joe Brainard The Collected Writings (Library of America)
5. Ben Mirov Hider Roser (Octopus Books)
6. Ana Carrete Baby Babe (Civil Coping Mechanisms)
7. Paul Cunningham Foamghast (NAP)
8. Emmanuel Hocquard The Invention of Glass (Canarium Books)
9. Guillaume Morissette I am My Own Betrayal (Maison Kasini)
10. Melissa Broder Meat Heart (Publishing Genius)
11. Ariana Reines Mercury (Fence Books)
12. Steve Roggenbuck Crunk Juice (self-pub)
13. Eileen Myles Snowflake / different streets (Wave Books)
14. Justin Carter Trill (Reality Hands)
15. tie Keegan Crawford Stealing Things (self-pub)
Walter Mackey mysapcedotcom (judge judy etc.)
The Listeners by Leni Zumas;
Threats by Amelia Gray,
Big Ray by Michael Kimball;
The Alligators of Abraham by Robert Kloss;
Nine Months by Paula Bomer;
Shadow Man by Gabriel Blackwell;
Last Call in the City of Bridges by Salvatore Pane;
Another Governess/The Least Blacksmith by Joanna Ruocco
Best Short Story Collections:
Asunder by Robert Lopez;
Understories by Tim Horvath;
The Collected Works Vol. 1 by Scott McClanahan;
Light without Heat by Matthew Kirkpatrick;
Together We Can Bury It by Kathy Fish;
Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons by Tara Laskowski;
Strategies Against Extinction by Michael Nye;
Vicky Swanky is a Beauty by Diane Williams
Sandalwood Death by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt
Fjords by Zachary Schomburg;
Meat Heart by Melissa Broder;
Pretty/Tilt by Carrie Murphy
The Anthology of Etiquette and Many Angels With Terrifying Heads, ed. by James Tadd Adcox
Best Thing Ever Because Everything She Does is the Best Thing Ever:
Sophocles’ Antigonick translated/interpreted by Anne Carson
Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell;
Sky Saw by Blake Butler;
An Dantomine Eerly by JRD Middleton;
Best Indie Lit Promoters:
Laura Straub, Mark Cugini
Reflections by Diana Wynne Jones;
Things That Are by Amy Leach;
Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell
Most Anticipated Fiction of 2013:
In The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell;
Billie the Bull by xTx
Best Well-Shit-How-Could-I-Have-Never-Read-This-Before-and-Now-It’s-Changed-my-Life Book:
William Faulkner’s A Light in August
People I Want to See Books from Next Year:
Steve Himmer, Molly Gaudry, Lincoln Michel, James Tadd Adcox, Chantel Tattoli, Erin Fitzgerald, Lauren Becker, Tim Jones-Yelvington
Best Internet Stories About Presidents: All of THESE
I hate end-of-the-year best-of lists. They are short-sighted and
usually hive-mindish. They feel counter-productive or something, like
they are trying to trick you. Instead, here’s a list of everything I
read this year, 135 books, in order. This doesn’t include chapbooks or
magazines or online things, not to mention the ridiculous piles of new
stuff by excellent people stacked inside my house. Of these, I have
highlighted the ones I remember most (which turned out for the most part
to be stuff that came out way before 2012, but years are stupid so you
should still consider them as part of now). Usually, though, I feel I
have a pretty good filter for knowing what I’ll enjoy before I pick it
up, and if I don’t like something I stop reading it like I did with
Jonathan Lethem’s awful Fear of Music. So, other than that one, the books below might be worth you looking into in 2013.
One DOA, One on the Way by Mary Robison
Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot
Sister Stop Breathing by Chiara Barzini
Autoportrait by Édouard Levé: A sublime list of personal projections—“I find myself uglier in profile than straight on,” and “Art that unfolds over time gives me less pleasure than art that stops it”—by a guy who would later kill himself. Feels kind of like reading text carved on a tall dark marble wall. I don’t think anyone could write this book in this way now that the internet exists, and that makes it a little hole in the air.
These Dreams of You by Steve Erickson
Vicky Swanky is a Beauty by Diane Williams
HHhH by Laurent Binet
Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel
Helsinki by Peter Richards
The Secret of Evil by Roberto Bolaño
Vertigo by W.G. Sebald
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound by Jeff Alessandrelli
Transfer Fat by Aase Berg (x2)
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by Jose Saramago
To Hell With Sleep by Anselm Berrigan
Where Art Belongs by Chris Kraus
The Journalist by Harry Mathews: An insane practice in journal writing where the titular journalist gets more and more obsessive and specific about recording everything that happens to him daily while also trying to classify all the information more and more ornately. I loved how it mixed uncontrollable thought with objective everyday behaviors more and more intensely until the novel itself seemed to be collapsing on itself, without making the reader feel like collapsing. Easily my favorite Mathews, and one of the most satisfying books I’ve read from the Ouilipo.
Triptych by Claude Simon: This book kind of works like a text-film spliced from three different tapes, switching back and forth without letting you know when and building these fucked up image-graphs that keep spooling into darkness. Kind of like Burroughs but French and somehow more flat and eerie architecture.
Skin Horse by Olivia Cronk
The Other Poems by Paul Legault
A Map Predetermined and Chance by Laura Wetherington
Crunk Juice by Steve Roggenbuck
No, Not Today by Jordan Stempleman
Party Knife by Dan Magers
My Life in CIA by Harry Mathews
Life Is With People by Atticus Lish
The No Hellos Diet by Sam Pink
Percussion Grenade by Joyelle McSweeney
Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
Meat Heart by Melissa Broder
Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith by Joanna Ruocco
Divorcer by Gary Lutz
Xorandor by Christine Brooks-Rose
The Malady of the Century by Jon Leon
Cunt-Ups by Dodie Bellamy
On the Tracks of Wild Game by Tomaž Šalamun
Antigonick by Anne Carson
Magic Hours by Tom Bissell
Alien vs. Predator by Michael Robbins
Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake by Heidi Lynn Staples
This Bright River by Patrick Somerville
Windeye by Brian Evenson (reread): I always look forward to new Brian Evenson and this is one of his best. He writes mental terror better than pretty much anyone, full of bizarre structures and thought-labyrinths like Deleuze cooked into Hitchcock. I like how he makes a story collection feel like a novel, in a hypnotizing kind of way.
Duties of an English Foreign Secretary by Macgregor Card
Inverted World by Christopher Priest
The World Will Deny It For You by Janaka Stucky
Short Talks by Anne Carson
Immobility by Brian Evenson
I am a Very Productive Entrepreneur by Mathias Svalina
The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
Drought by Debra diBlasi
How I Became a Nun by César Aira
Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
The Recognitions by William Gaddis: I’d had this on the floor beside my bed for several years now trying to will myself to finally get around to reading it and I finally did. Probably one of the best reading experiences for me in a long time; felt inspired by the breadth and scope of each paragraph in a way I’d almost forgotten. Felt rich and lyrical while also modern and immediate despite the fact that so little seems to physically happen. A rare book deserving of its stature.
Butcher’s Tree by Feng Sun Chen
Independence by Pierre Guyotat
Mankind by Jon Leon
Open City by Teju Cole
J R by William Gaddis: Much more streamlined than The Recognitions, built mostly out of dialogue that feels unhinged from the beautiful weird little paragraphs that build its backbone. Really feel like Gaddis was angry at the novel and at people so he made this insane thing that kind of just keeps spinning and shitting but that is so singular in how it does that; I can’t think of any other book that works the way this seems to.
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
The Spokes by Miranda Mellis
Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño
I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
A Million Bears by Spencer Madsen
Reader’s Block by David Markson (reread)
Fear of Music by Jonathan Lethem (half)
So We Have Been Given Time Or by Sawako Nakayasu
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
Água Viva by Clarice Lispector
It by Inger Christensen
Big Ray by Michael Kimball
Event by Philippe Sollers
All the Garbage of the World, Unite! by Kim Hyesoon
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville: Another one I’d been meaning to read forever and finally did and enjoyed it way more than I imagined. The book seems to get a bad rap in that people always talk about how there are all these long extra parts about nothing but I felt the book was really economical and smart in how it circled its subjects and invoked colors and mechanisms instead of just showing scene after scene. It’s also frequently hilarious and approaches death in surprising ways. Melville was real as fuck to have written this beast in the mid-19th century.
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Slow Slidings by M Kitchell
How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti
Double or Nothing by Raymond Federman
Replacement by Tor Ulven
Blood on the Dining-Room Floor by Gertrude Stein
History or Messages from History by Gertrude Stein
How Music Works by David Byrne
The Alphabet Man by Richard Grossman
Soulacoaster by R. Kelly
It Then by Danielle Collobert
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
With the Animals by Noëlle Revaz: A fucked up invented form of speaking here, somewhat like brain damaged French ghetto-redneck. The way the narrator speaks is so enchanting in its way that it almost doesn’t matter what happens but the story of a farmer and his suspicion of a new farmhand he hires who seems to be infatuated with his creepy wife is alive with paranoia and anger and weird Beckett-y farm scenes. The shit.
Pure Filth by Jamie Gillis and Peter Sotos
Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D.T. Max
Strange Landscape by Tony Duvert: Finally got to read this after finding it listed on Dennis Cooper’s 100 favorite novels, despite it being long out of print and pricey (I forgot about libraries!). Weird chopping paragraphs in the nouveau roman style juxtaposing constant strange scenes of boys in captivity doing messed up sex acts for money. A good pairing from Grove with Simon’s Triptych above.
Thunderbird by Dorothea Lasky
Fra Keeler by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
In Time’s Rift by Ernst Meister
Project for a Revolution in New York by Alain Robbe-Grillet: Beautiful reissue of one of R-G’s flat-glassy sex-architecture apparatuses; imagist and chopped-up while objectively descriptive, like wandering around a mostly evacuated city peeking in on shit you weren’t supposed to see.
Portrait of the Writer as a Domesticated Animal by Lydia Salvayre
Action, Figure by Frank Hinton
The Map of the System of Human Knowledge by James Tadd Adcox
Three Poems by John Ashbery
Donogoo Tonka, or The Miracles of Science by Jules Romains
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector
City: An Essay by Brian Lennon
Selected Poems by Mary Ruefle
Carnival by Jason Bredle
Normance by Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Pretty much just one 450-page scene set during an air-bombing of France by the Nazis, written in Céline’s trademark angry and immersive prose. It’s incredible in how it draws you through the minute-to-minute with a bizarre intensity that never flags, and goes pretty much anti-sentimental despite the mass carnage; the narrator spares no would-be war victims, pretty much insisting that they are stupid human shit and deserve to die. It’s funnier than it sounds, and weirdly immersive in a rare way.
A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector
The Book of Interfering Bodies by Daniel Borzutzky
The Museum of Eterna’s Novel by Macedonio Fernández
Conversations with Professor Y by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Mahu, Or, The Material by Robert Pinget
The Source by Noah Eli Gordon
Mad Science in Imperial City by Shanxing Wang
Promising Young Women by Suzanne Scanlon
Selected Poems: 1951-1977 by A.R. Ammons
Nervous Device by Catherine Wagner
The Bitter Half by Toby Olson
If You Won’t Read, Then Why Should I Write? by Jarrett Kobek
Cure All by Kim Parko
Thinking About Magritte by Kate Sterns
The Memoirs of Jonbenet by Kathy Acker by Michael Du Plessis
Balloon Pop Outlaw Black by Patricia Lockwood
Connecting Bodies by Claude Simon
Light Without Heat by Matthew Kirkpatrick
The Obscene Bird Of Night by José Donoso
Tomorrow In The Battle Think On Me by Javier Marías
Quinnehtukqut by Joshua Harmon
I Love Artists by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide
The Quantum Manual of Style by Brian Mihok
Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolaño
Bad Boats by Laura Jensen
Propagation by Laura Elrick
Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace
The Siege in the Room by Miquel Bauçà
I am My Own Betrayal by Guillaume Morissette
Mulligan Stew by Gilbert Sorrentino: I avoided reading this one for a long time too and now I’m ending the year with it. It’s a hilarious and ridiculous catalog of styles and ideas and satires of itself, with so much stuffed into the place it seems to change every time you think you know what it’s up to. Going into 2013 I’m going to pretend like this book just came out.