Books

This list is more for me than anyone else. I read a lot but have a horrible memory, so I wanted to keep track of what I’ve read throughout the year, with the most recent at the top (except graphic novels – grouped at the bottom). If it’s something I would recommend, I’ll bold it. Let me know if you have any trouble getting a hold of a copy of something here you’re wanting to read, as nearly everything I read is a physical book I’ve bought.

2017

  • Denis Johnson, Angels (R.I.P., one of the greatest modern writers)
  • Sjón, The Blue Fox (I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. It starts off like a screenplay for a Björk music video, which makes sense since the author writes lyrics for Björk, but then it gets like super dark. Which I’m totally fine with [e.g., my new favorite comic, Monstress], but maybe not when it has to do with one of the most magical creatures I’ve ever come across, the blue morph Arctic fox. I’ll reserve judgment until I read another Sjón book…)
  • Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning (I’m also not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I got a copy after reading that the writer had a similar style as Neal Stephenson, but with the ability to actually end a book well. And I can totally see that, but this is the first in a series [trilogy, I think?], so the end is still far off. I’m fascinated by the world that’s been built in the first book and do have some trust in the author since she’s a professor of history, but I’m a bit on edge about where the story is going to end up, based on the themes. Again, I’ll reserve judgment until I read the 2nd in the series…)
  • Oddný Eir, Land of Love and Ruins
  • Mayte Garcia, The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard, Some Rain Must Fall (My Struggle: 5) (Basically a maximalistic autobiography with possibly no/many embellished details and zero plot, this series is unlike any I’ve ever read before. Having randomly picked up the first in the series in my local bookstore, I’ve been tearing through each volume as soon as an English translation comes out. However, 5 books into this extremely voyeuristic series of 6 ‘novels’, I cycle between completely understanding the author and thinking what a pretentious git he [or at least his 20-something self] is. And perhaps exactly that is the appeal. The non-linear timeline from book to book is rather ingenious too, as I have no clue how the series will end, whether it’ll be a portrait of him as no longer a young man, or whether it’ll end Benjamin Button style.)
  • Mark Yarm, Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (I started this book 2 years ago after I had suddenly discovered so-called ‘grunge’ music…yes, I know I was late to the game, but I had led a very sheltered life until university and am still discovering what should’ve been the music of my childhood…Really only knowing Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Alice in Chains, and then Mad Season, I quickly got distracted looking up bands I wasn’t yet familiar with, like Green River. The day of Chris Cornell’s death, I picked this up again and finally finished it, discovering a whole plethora of new-to-me bands and albums in the process. Even without being from Seattle or even aware of the scene when it was happening, this book has affected me quite a bit, and I can’t help but feel retroactively connected to it all somehow, having just discovered these albums and listening to them non-stop and then reading about the environment that produced them and the too-often tragic ends of the bands. If you have any interest in the Seattle scene at the time, this is a must, with the warning that it’s, obviously, quite intense and hard to read at some times, particularly with Chris Cornell now gone as well.)
  • Mark Z. Danielewski, The Familiar, Vol. 4 – Hades (If you haven’t yet heard of this literary experiment, it’s not too late to join the ride. This is only #4 of 20-some planned volumes in a serial novel centered around a girl and her mysterious pet cat that are somehow connected with people from all over the world. While each book is over 800 pages, each is more like 200ish of actual text, the rest consisting of word art, illustrations, and perfectly designed space that suck you into the book’s wide-reaching world.)
  • Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game (I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with so-called great Canadian literature, but so far I’m just not getting it. Last year I tried and rather disliked Nicole Brossard’s Mauve Desert, though, granted, much of it was read in waiting rooms while my man was broken and Iceland was pushed 3 months further. I at least thought I’d do better with a novel from a songwriter, but Mr. Cohen was not the answer. Not sure what to try next from my own country, aside from the Anne Carson [Float] I have on the go…)
  • Halldór Laxness, Wayward Heroes
  • Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
  • John Darnielle, Universal Harvester (This is the 2nd most terrifying book I’ve ever read [the 1st being Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves], but the terror largely comes from how the book is crafted rather than what happens, a feat that requires perfect execution and literary command. I highly recommend this book…if you’re willing to be unsettled.)
  • Terry Jones, Douglas Adams’ Starship Titanic (Basically Monty Python does Hitchhiker’s Guide – totally delightful.)
  • Carrie Fisher, Postcards from the Edge (I don’t know why I didn’t find this book sooner – Carrie Fisher is a brilliant novelist.)
  • Carrie Fisher, Shockaholic
  • Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking (A must before reading Shockaholic.)
  • Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell to Earth
  • Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler (This is one of my favorite books ever.)
  • Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (I picked this up randomly at my local comic book store, basically because of the art and Neil Gaiman’s recommendation on the cover. And after blowing through this collection of the first 6 issues in a couple hours, I think this will be my favorite comic ever. It’s like Jessica Jones mixed with Sandman, and art that calls to mind Alexander McQueen. Gorgeous.)
  • Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez, The Defenders (2017-present), issue #1-4 (This new series gives more Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, so it’s an obvious must for me. I have no current opinion on Iron Fist or Daredevil though, so this is their chance to convince me…)
  • Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, Jessica Jones (2016-present), issues #1-11
  • Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, Jessica Jones: Avenger (A must if you’ve read the Jessica Jones: Alias and Jessica Jones: The Pulse issues/collections and want to move onto the new Jessica Jones series.)
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