Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 reading list

Listed last read to first, as in The Humument was the last book I finished... yesterday. A lot of these books were amazing, this was probably the best book-reading year I've had in my 32 years. Some were downright awful. When keeping records for myself I have a 5-star system, but have removed that here. My stars are not on the empirical goodness of a book, but a combination of my enjoyment of it and its goodness for what it is, if that makes any sense. As in, I would probably never value a graphic novel over a regular novel unless the regular novel was awful, because I like the form more of a regular novel, but the graphic novels on this list (there are three or four, I believe) often got higher marks. If you're curious about any of these, let me know. Probably the best of all of these was Tom Phillips's The Humument. I should note that what I read was the 1995 edition of the book, as I believe there are 5 editions and some are entirely different than others, and the ones that aren't entirely different are mostly different. Google it, you'll see what I mean. I think you can read the most recent one (released 2005...?) online. This book has done more for my writing in the past month than I think anything has. And I've started one of my own - The Oil Rat, a treatment of Rousseau's The Social Contract.

I should also list my favorites of these... not in order of greatest love:
2. The Book of Evidence – John Banville
20. The Book of Chameleons – Jose Eduardo Agualusa
43. Zubaida’s Window (A Novel of Iraqi Exile) – Iqbal Al-Qazwini
47. Half a Life – V.S. Naipaul
59. The Wasteland, Four Quartets, and Other Poems – T.S. Eliot
66. Days With Diam - Svend Age Madsen
72. In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
85. Memory for Forgetfulness – Mahmoud Darwish
104. Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories – Pamela Ryder
114. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
119. In the Heart of the Country – J.M. Coetzee
124. Beauty and Sadness – Yasunari Kawabata
129. Some Prefer Nettles – Junichiro Tanizaki

Also, I did not list in the above favorites those books written by people I know. Not even my girlfriend's. Because those are always the most enjoyable read. I would always choose to read something by someone I know before anything else. There's something so intrusive and satisfying, yes, sorry, that delights more than anything. They are also phenomenal writers all.

1. The Humument – Tom Phillips
2. The Book of Evidence – John Banville
3. The Tether – Carl Phillips
4. The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget’s Thesaurus – Joshua Kendall
5. Oneiromance (an epithalamion) – Kathleen Rooney
6. The Curtain – Milan Kundera
7. Saturday – Ian McEwan
8. Picasso: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Norman Mailer
9. Ideas of Heaven: a ring of stories – Joan Silber
10. God Hates Fags – Michael Cobb
11. Factory – Antler
12. The Beauty of the Husband – Anne Carson
13. Our Lady of the Artichokes – Katherine Vaz
14. Pastoral – Carl Phillips
15. Parenthetical Ontology – Deborah Poe
16. On Photography – Susan Sontag
17. Elimination Dance – Michael Ondaatje
18. Cortege – Carl Phillips
19. The Mystery Guest – Gregoire Bouillier
20. The Book of Chameleons – Jose Eduardo Agualusa
21. The O. Henry Stories 2007 – Ed. Joanne Furman (liked two stories, Joan Silber and Yannick Murphy)
22. Red Bird – Mary Oliver
23. What I Think About When I Think About Running – Haruki Murakami
24. Theory of Light and Matter – Andrew Porter
25. After the Quake: Stories – Haruki Murakami
26. The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese – Arthur Sze
27. Hubert’s Freaks: The Rare Book Dealer, The Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus – Gregory Gibson
28. The Name of the World – Denis Johnson
29. Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West – Benazir Bhutto
30. Anxious Pleasures: a novel after Kafka – Lance Olsen
31. Botchan – Natsume Soseki
32. Unfortunately, It was Paradise – Mahmoud Darwish
33. Inside and other short fiction: Japanese women by Japanese women – Diado, Shimamoto, Muroi, Uchida, Fujino, Yamada, Hasegawa, Takagi
34. Chicken with Plums – Marjane Satrapi
35. Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman – Sharon Rudahl
36. 3x10 – Ernest Hemingway
37. Three Chinese Poets (Translations of Wang Wei, Li Bai (Li Po), and Du Fu) – Vikram Seth
38. Louis Riel – Chester Brown
39. Son for Night – Chris Abani
40. Suspended in Language: Niels Bohr’s life, discoveries, and the century he shaped – Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis
41. Body Language – Kelly Magee
42. Windows – Robert Creeley
43. Zubaida’s Window (A Novel of Iraqi Exile) – Iqbal Al-Qazwini
44. The Ghost Soldiers – James Tate (liked it as fiction, not poetry, long prose poems, three pages)
45. Brief Encounters with Che Guevera – Ben Fountain (last story, 11 fingers )
46. Our Former Lives in Art – Jennifer S. Davis
47. Half a Life – V.S. Naipaul
48. After Dark – Haruki Murakami
49. Cultivating Bonsai – V. Ditri
50. Summer in Baden-Baden – Leonard Tsypkin
51. Love is a Map I Must Not Set on Fire – Carol Guess
52. The Milk of Inquiry – Wayne Koestenbaum
53. WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program – Pete Earley and Gerald Shur
54. The Wavering Knife – Brian Evenson
55. NIghtwood – Djuna Barnes
56. Narrow Road to the Interior – Matsuo Basho
57. Safe Sex – Harvey Fierstein
58. Addicted to War – Joel Andreas
59. The Wasteland, Four Quartets, and Other Poems – T.S. Eliot
60. Texas School Book Depository – Cathryn Hankla
61. The Politics of Truth – Ambassador Joseph Wilson
62. Master Harold and the Boys – Athol Fugard
63. Blood and Guts in High School – Kathy Acker
64. Lawnboy – Paul Lisicky
65. American Linden – Matthew Zapruder
66. Days With Diam - Svend Age Madsen
67. Fake Math – Ryan Fitzpatrick
68. Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch – Hollis Gillespie
69. I Never Liked You – Chester Brown
70. A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women – Clark, Ellen, Fish, Smith
71. Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster
72. In the Skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje
73. Father of Lies – Brian Evenson
74. King Baby – Lia Purpura
75. The Stone Gods – Jeannette Winterson
76. Lunch Poems – Frank O’Hara
77. Family Bible – Melissa J. Delbridge
78. The Sleep of Four Cities – Jen Currin
79. Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Lethem
80. Hiding Out – Jonathan Messinger
81. Road-side Dog - Czeslaw Milosz
82. Girl Factory – Jim Krusoe
83. Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence
84. You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train – Howard Zinn
85. The Little Earth Book – James Bruges
86. Memory for Forgetfulness – Mahmoud Darwish
87. On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
88. Hello, I'm Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity – Hal Niedzviecki
89. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife – Mary Roach
90. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
91. Talk Shows – Monica de la Torre
92. Tinderbox Lawn – Carol Guess
93. I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual – Pierre Seel
94. Out of Light – Joseph Massey
95. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
96. Final Girl – Daphne Gottlieb
97. The Romance of Happy Workers – Anne Boyer
98. Real to Reel – Lidia Yuknavitch
99. Brevity & Echo – Eds. Abigail Becker & Kathleen Rooney
100. Hagiography – Jen Currin
101. City Life – Donald Barthelme
102. Road of Five Churches – Stephanie Dickinson
103. American Husband – Kary Wayson
104. Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories – Pamela Ryder
105. Modern Times – Matthea Harvey
106. Now the Day is Over – Joan Fiset
107. Lucy – Jamaica Kincaid
108. The Vicinity – David O’Meara
109. Nine Humorous Stories – Anton Chekov
110. Summer Rain – Marguerite Duras
111. Planet News – Allen Ginsberg
112. The Smell of Apples – Mark Behr
113. The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq – John Crawford
114. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
115. Beloved Infidel – Dean Young
116. War Trash – Ha Jin
117. Attempts at a Life – Danielle Dutton
118. Underwater City – Kelle Groom
119. In the Heart of the Country – J.M. Coetzee
120. Gazelle – Rikki Ducornet
121. Be the Pack Leader - Cesar Millan
122. My Untimely Death – Adam Peterson
123. What Narcissism Means to Me – Tony Hoagland
124. Beauty and Sadness – Yasunari Kawabata
125. The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation – Barbara Rossing
126. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography – Andrew Morton
127. The Triumph of Achilles – Louise Gluck
128. Two Lives Gertrude and Alice – Janet Malcolm
129. Some Prefer Nettles – Junichiro Tanizaki
130. The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves – Curtis White
131. Figures for a Darkroom Voice – Noah Eli Gordon & Joshua Marie Wilkinson

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