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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ryan's Favorite Books of 2015!!!!!

I've become better at starting early, and pestering my coworkers sooner, and thus producing the Bookseller Top Tens a little earlier with every passing year. Last year, I had them done on January 11th. The year before, on Jan 17th. And the year before that...February 26th. But this year, done on January first. Too good to be true!

And it was.

I forgot one. And this, after I berated and bullied people into getting me their lists on time. Ryan, in particular, asked me on the deadline day if he could write blurbs for his list. I said he could if he could get it to me by the end of the day, the end of the day being 15 minutes away.

He didn't write them.

But then I forgot his list.

So, here it is. Ryan's ten favorite books of 2015, complete with the blurbs I wouldn't let him write before.  Sorry, Ryan!

Ryan’s List of Books

Much like my life, there is no order to this list. So deep. And also, much like my life, this list is regrettably full of white men and very few women. There’s always next year.

  • In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje - Prose from a poet's mouth, this book feels shrouded in fog and sepia toned. Ondaatje, known best for The English Patient, writes with understated poetic language that seeps directly into you. 
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. - One of the first and most powerful books to give a voice to the people. Selby has an unmistakable way of writing a dirtbag so that you emapthize with them and their struggle. 
  • The Soft Machine by William Burroughs - Madcap, grotesque, frustrating, and ultimately overly obtuse, Burroughs never fails to enrage. The Soft Machine is the first in his groundbreaking cut-up trilogy and while it may be inaccesible garbage to some, to the right reader it is somewhat accesible garbage. 
  • The Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda by Pablo Neruda - "Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad nets/ towards your oceanic eyes." The most influencial poet (and possibly writer) of South America, Neruda writes with the utmost emotional power. 
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn - Zinn rewrites the story of America, focusing on the laborers, women, slaves, natives, and all the "minorities" that were swept under the rug by the elite. This book should be required reading if only to get another narrative in the public consciousness. 
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion - In a quick series of essays Didion shines a light on her time in California in the early 60s. Didion quickly entrances the writer with her massive intelligence and piercing gaze, able to see through the flimsy disguises we as a nation erect. 
  • The World Doesn’t End by Charles Simic - Prose poetry at it's height, Simic takes the ordinary and tweaks it until it is surreal. Simic draws on his Eastern European upbringing to highlight the absurdity of the everyday. 
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit - In a world where we should all be feminists, Solnit has created a manifesto. At times devestating in what it sheds light on, Solnit is able to perfectly outline the series of powers that opress and malign the women of the world. Stomp the patriarchy!...or at least acknowledge that it is there.
  • David Boring by Daniel Clowes - This graphic novel is David Lynchian in its pace and plot and feels eerie in an indescribable way. Follow Boring as he floats through a nihilistic view of the world as a whole. Equal parts murder mystery and love story without the ethos of either. 
  • Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus - Can a myth tell its own story? Mingus attempts to, blending fact and fiction to an uncertain and satisfying conclusion in this memoir of his life. When it begins with the telling of his birth from his perspective, you know you may have a less-than-reliable narrator on your hands. Jazz fans rejoice. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely putting In the Skin of a Lion and People's History on my reading list. They both sound great.