Find us on facebook

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Books of (My) Year 2011

After sharing with you my personal 100-list of songs of the year, followed by the best movies, today I bring you the books. The 10 works I read this 2011 that should be a must, in my modest opinion, of course.

10. A People's History of the United States- Howard Zinn
The inclusion of the book on the list is a bit "tricky", because I haven't finished reading it (quite far from it to be honest) but the amount of references, things to look at and further readings that I already have at this point now make this spot totally deserved. A much needed, exhaustive, ridiculously interesting and absorbing work.
9. Dog Soldiers- Robert Stone
My first approach to Robert Stone was an hallucinogenic trip to hell where pitch, rhythm and storytelling are three machine-guns firing their ammunition relentlessly in a plot that flows smoothly. But if you scratch the powerful surface, you will find a much sombre and hard look, flooded by sarcasm and absurd, of the 70s and America, a time where the country lost its innocence and its head.
8. Submarine- Joe Dunthorne
Loved the film and Alex Turner's beautiful soundtrack, so I had to get my hands on the book. Recently finished, "Submarine" is as special as the film, but at the same time quite different, darker than Richard Ayoade's movie and more extreme. First the director, then the musician, and now Joe Dunthorne, the writer: three genius for a great story.
7. Sukkwan Island- David Vann
If there were a competition for "disturbing book of the year" my vote will go for "Sukkwan Island" without a doubt. Tense, fierce and brutal, when the personal, introspective drama becomes physical, this book transforms itself into a beast that attracts you irredeemably.
6. Roscoe- William Kennedy
Welcome to Albany, a dense universe where power means everything. The corrupted political network William Kennedy shows with detail hides a deep, engaging tale of human obsessions and addictions, condensed in that sort of "Citizen Kane" Roscoe, the main character, is.
5. Wilson- Daniel Clowes Bitterness and nastiness condensed in the most stinging, perverse character Daniel Clowes ever created. An outsider, a loner who is a real sociopath and hates everything (including himself) in a demented quest for human interaction. "Wilson" mixes multiple approach aesthetics, different types of drawing, with razorblade-sharp dialogues and a deep analysis of the life of someone pathetic. Bold statement.
4. Counterculture Through the Ages- Ken Goffman and Dan Joy
And more outsiders, this time with a non-fiction book that attempts to gather and document social change through history, through the individuals and collectives of the so-called counterculture, that fought and rebelled against the majority of society, trying to leave a mark with their different path. Rich, enlightening and fun.
3. Chump Change- Dan Fante
Dan Fante's homage to the great and damned writer John Fante, his father, couldn't be more strikingly beautiful. Despite its rawness and self-destruction, "Chump Change" is a gut-wrenching tale of redemption, and the trip of a son finally able to say goodbye to his father. Superb.
2. Honor Thy Father- Gay Talese
But 2011, in what regards to readings, is the year of Gay Talese, the extraordinary revelation, for me, of a masterful writer. First, thanks to this incredible job of reporting, an intimate dissection of the Bonanno family, the world of the Mafia and the United States, and the personal and very human story of Bill Bonanno. "Honor Thy Father" is  an unparalleled work.
1. The Gay Talese Reader. Portraits and Encounters- Gay Talese
And second, and topping the list, thanks to this compilation of some of his best articles, an outstanding collection of little (only in their format) pieces of art. A lesson for journalists, for writers and for everyone who loves human stories.

No comments:

Post a Comment