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Best reads of 2012 – a pretty good year

December 31, 2012

I suppose these are in a sort of order, but fear not – they’re all outstanding. And they’re not all new books, there’s a little backtracking going on here.

Fiction

Gods Without Men, by Hari Kunzru

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
(Why’d it take me 43 years to read it? Dunno. So it goes.)

A Naked Singularity, by Sergio De La Pava

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell
(Mitchell’s a master. Read an interview from The Paris Review, a few years back. Recommended.

Asphalt Warrior, by Gary Reilly

In One Person, by John Irving

Non-fiction

Every Story is a Ghost Story – A Life of David Foster Wallace, by D. T. Max
(Harrowing. Writers of all stripes will find much nourishment here.)

The Tender Hour of Twilight – Paris in the ‘50s, New York in the ‘60s – A Memoir of Publishing’s Golden Age, by Richard Seaver
(American hipsters in Paris, back in the day. Beckett, Ionesco, William S. Burroughs, Barney Rossett. So much talent everywhere.)

The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Vol I, edited by Valerie Eliot
(Not as dry as it sounds. Much to learn from this man.)

The Anatomy of Influence, by Harold Bloom
(Cantankerous Bloom holds forth on literature – his “function is to help you get lost” in the labyrinth of literature.)

Turing’s Cathedral, by George Dyson
(Early days of the computer as we know it. Pioneers. We’re standing on the shoulders of giants and we’re not talking about Jobs and Gates.)

Under the Sun – The Letters of Bruce Chatwin, edited by Elizabeth Chatwin and Nicholas Shakespeare
(The author of In Patagonia, a book that changed travel writing, has been everywhere. Great writer, gone far too soon.)

James Joyce – A New Biography, by Gordon Bowker

Poetry

The Open Door 100 Poems – 100 years of Poetry Magazine, edited by Don Share and Christian Wiman
(What a great collection, from a great mag.)

Jack Kerouac – Collected Poems, edited by Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell
(“You got eyes?”)

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