David Markson

Underdog Literature, January 2013: 15 fresh or amazing, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature January 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: MATT BELL, „In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods“, ?? pages, June 2013.

02: MATT DRURY, „Pacific“, 352 pages, April 2013.

03: RACHEL KUSHNER, „The Flame Throwers“, 400 pages, April 2013.

04: BEN LERNER, „Leaving the Atocha Station“, 272 pages, 2012.

05: KARIN TIDBECK, „Jagannath“, 114 pages, 2012. [Short Fiction, Fantasy]

06: RUDOLF WITTKOWER, „Born under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists“, 360 pages, 1968. [Cultural History]

07: NEVIL SHUTE, „Trustee from the Toolroom“, 316 pages, 1960.

08: SEBASTIAN HAFFNER, „Defying Hitler“ / „Die Geschichte eines Deutschen“, 309 pages, 2000. [Memoir, German]

09: REYNOLDS PRICE, „The Promise of Rest“, 368 pages, 1995.

10: JAMES LIPTON, „An Exaltation of Larks“, 336 pages, 1970. [Trivia / Lists]

11: MICHAEL G. CONEY, „Hello Summer, Goodbye“, 221 pages, 1975. [Science-Fiction]

12: HENRI LEFEBVRE, „Critique of Everyday Life“, 842 pages, 1942. [French Philosophy / Cultural Studies]

13: HEATHER WALDORF, „Tripping“, 344 pages, 2009. [Young Adult]

14: JOHN VON DÜFFEL, „Zeit des Verschwindens“, 208 pages, 2000. [German]

15: PETER BUWALDA, „Bonita Avenue“, 543 pages, 2010. [Dutch; German edition available on Feb 22nd, 2013, Rowohlt]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: DONALD HALL, „The Best Day, the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon“, 258 pages, 2005. [Memoir / Writing / Death]

02: JULIE ANNE PETERS, „Between Mom and Jo“, 240 pages, 2006. [Young Adult]

03: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Crooked Hearts“, 339 pages, 1987.

04: HANS MAGNUS ENZENSBERGER, „Hammerstein“, 402 pages, 2008. [German]

05: NOELLE HANCOCK, „My Year with Eleanor“, 304 pages, 2011. [Memoir / Self-Help, recommendation by Karla Paul (Link), German edition here]

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: RUTH KLÜGER, „Still alive“ / „weiter leben. Eine Jugend“, 283 pages, 1992 [Holocaust Memoir, German]

4 of 5 stars: JULIE REECE DEAVER, „Say Goodnight, Gracie“, 224 pages, 1988. [Young Adult]

4 of 5 stars: DAVID MARKSON, „The Last Novel“, 220 pages, 2007. [Trivia / Lists / post-modern]

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Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

2012 Juli Frantje-Haus Selfpic.

(After a popular list last year [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2012:

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20: JASON SHIGA, „Bookhunter“, Graphic Novel, 2007.
Bookhunter

19: GAYLE FORMAN: „If I stay“, Young Adult Novel, 2009.
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

18: DAVID MARKSON: „The Last Novel“, (postmodern) Novel / Lists / Trivia Collection, 2007.
The Last Novel

17: SHARON M. DRAPER: „Out of my Mind“, Young Adult Novel, 2010.
Out of My Mind

16: OCTAVIA BUTLER: „Kindred“, (Fantasy) Novel, 1971.
Kindred

15: JOHAN HARSTAD: „Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?“, Novel (Norway), 2005.
Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

14: KRISTEN D. RANDLE: „The only Alien on the Planet“, Young Adult Novel, 1995.
The Only Alien on the Planet

13: DANIELA KRIEN: „Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen“, Novel (German), 2011.
Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen

12: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: „A Streetcar named Desire“, Play, 1947. […alternative / runner-up: HENRIK IBSEN: „A Doll’s House“, Play (Norway), 1879.]
A Streetcar Named Desire and A Doll's House

11: ARNO GEIGER: „Der alte König in seinem Exil“ (Austrian) Alzheimer Memoir, 2011.
Der alte König in seinem Exil

10: SARAH LEAVITT: „Tangles. A Story about Alzheimer’s, my Mother and me“, Graphic Novel, 2010.
Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me

09: ARNE BELLSTORF: „Baby’s in Black“, Graphic Novel (German), 2010.
Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg

08: SCOTT SNYDER: „Batman: The Court of Owls“, Graphic Novel (and good start for new „Batman“ readers):
Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

07: STEWART O’NAN: „The Odds. A Love Story“, Novel, 2012.
The Odds: A Love Story

06: JOACHIM HELFER, RASHID al-DAIF: „Die Verschwulung der Welt“, Essay (German / Persian), 2006.
Die Verschwulung der Welt.

05: ALEXIS M. SMITH: „Glaciers“, Novel, 2012.
Glaciers

04: JOE HILL: „Locke & Key“ series, Graphic Novels, 2008 to 2013.
Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

03: MARLEN HAUSHOFER: „The Wall / Die Wand“, Austian novel, 1962.
Die Wand

02: GERBRAND BAKKER: „The Detour / Der Umweg“, Dutch novel, 2010.
Der Umweg

01: RUTH KLÜGER: „Still alive. A Holocaust Girlhood remembered“, Memoir / Essay, 1992.
Weiter leben. Eine Jugend.

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For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2012, please go here [Link].

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In comics, I’ve also enjoyed Guy Delisle’s travelogues / non-fiction graphic novels „Burma Chronicles“ [Link], „Pyongyang“ [Link] and „Jerusalem“ [Link], the „New 52“ DC comic books featuring „Wonder Woman“ [Link], „Green Lantern“ [Link], „Swamp Thing“ [Link] and the „Birds of Prey“ [Link] – and large parts of Naoki Urasawa’s „Pluto“ [Link]

…and „Honey & Clover“ [Link], a „Scott Pilgrim“-like, bittersweet / comedic coming-of-age manga series about five friends at an art school.

Here’s a collage of my notable graphic novel discoveries in 2012:

Wordpress Graphic Novels Best-of 2012.

Have a good 2013! More to come!

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Summer Reading List – 29 good… and 29 *great* books

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My reading list, this summer?

Here are 29 books… that I suspect to be pretty good.

And another 29 books… that I suspect to be great.

Update, spring 2013: I managed to read a good number of the books. See the orange text for my ratings!

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Good books…

01: JAMES FREY, „Bright shiny Morning“, 501 pages, 2008.

02: ALICIA ERIAN, „Towelhead“, 336 pages, 2006.

03: LYNN COADY, „The Antagonist“, 352 pages, 2001.

04: SAPPHIRE, „Push“, 179 pages, 1996.

05: HOWARD ZINN, „You can’t be neutral on a moving Train“, 224 pages, 1994.

07: CHRISTIE HODGEN, ‘Elegies for the Brokenhearted’, 256 pages, 2010.

08: DODIE SMITH, ‘I capture the Castle’, 352 pages, 1948. [Coming of Age]

09: JOHN B. THOMPSON, ‘Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the 21st Century’, 440 pages, 2010. [Cultural Studies / Nonfiction]

10: JERRY MANDER, ‘Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television’, 376 pages, 1978 [Essay]

11: RUSSELL BANKS, ‘Affliction’, 368 pages, 1989.

12: LAWRENCE DURRELL: ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, 884 pages, 1957.

13: SUZETTE MAYR, ‘Monoceros’, 280 pages, 2011.

14: AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”, 240 pages, 2005.

15: JOHAN HARSTAD, “Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?”, 478 pages, 2005. [Young Adult, Norway] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: CATHERINE CHUNG, “Forgotten Country”, 304 pages, 2012.

17: CHARLOTTE ROGAN, “The Lifeboat”, 275 pages, 2012.

18: EDMUND WHITE, “Jack Holmes and his Friend”, 392 pages, 2012.

19: MARK OLIVER EVERETT, „Things the Grandchildren should know“, 256 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

20: NICK ANTOSCA, „Fires“, 194 pages, 2006.

21: AMY WALDMAN, „The Submission“, 300 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

22: ARMISTEAD MAUPIN, „Tales of the City“, 296 pages, 1978.

23: MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH, „Only Forward“, 310 pages, 1994.

24: KIRSTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

25: TONY EARLEY, „The Blue Star“, 304 pages, 2008.

26: JOSE MANUEL PRIETO, „Rex“, 336 pages, 2009.

27: GARTH STEIN, „The Art of Racing in the Rain“, 321 pages, 2008.

28: DIETMAR DATH, „Für immer in Honig“, 1035 pages, 2005 [German].

28: WALTER TEVIS, „The Queen’s Gambit“, 183 pages, 1983.

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Great books…!

01: JESSE BROWNER, „Everything happens today“, 224 pages, 2011.

02: SLOAN WILSON, „The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit“, 288 pages, 1954.

03: CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH, „The Rules of Inheritance“, 304 pages, 2012.

04: LIZ MOORE, „Heft“, 352 pages, 2012. 2 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

05: EOWYN IVEY, „The Snow Child“, 352 pages, 2012.

06: ANDERS NILSEN, „Don’t go where I can’t follow“, 244, 2007. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

07: ADAM LEVIN, ‘The Instructions’, 1030 pages, 2010

08: JAMES SALTER, ‘Light Years’, 308 pages, 1975.

09: DAVID MARKSON, ‘The Last Novel’, 220 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

10: DOROTHY BAKER, ‘Cassandra at the Wedding’, 256 pages, 1962.

11: TIM WISE, „White like me. Reflections on Race from a privileged Son“, 250 pages, 2004.

12: JOACHIM MEYERHOFF, „Alle Toten fliegen hoch“, 319 pages, 2011.

13: JEANETTE WINTERSON, “Why be happy when you could be normal?”, 256 pages, 2011. [Memoir]

14: ISMET PRCIC, “Shards”, 400 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

15: GUY DELISLE, “Jerusalem”, 334 pages, 2011. [Graphic Novel; nonfiction] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: WILLIAM MAXWELL, “The Folded Leaf”, 289 pages, 1945.

17: ERIC WALTERS, “Safe as Houses”, 160 pages, 2007. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended for younger readers.

18: SHARON M. DRAPER, “Out of my Mind”, 295 pages, 2010. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

19: ALISON BECHDEL, “Are you my Mother?”, 224 pages, 2012. [Graphic Novel / Memoir]

20: PATRICK DeWITT, “The Sisters Brothers”, 352 pages, 2011.

21: DOROTHY CANFIELD-FISHER, “The Home-Maker”, 320 pages, 1924.

22: C.D. PAYNE, “Youth in Revolt”, 499 pages, 1995. [Young Adult]

23: KAUI HART HEMMINGS, “The Descendants”, 283 pages, 2007.

24: E.L. DOCTOROW, „The Book of Daniel“, 320 pages, 1971.

25: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Century’s Son“, 320 pages, 2002.

26: ANDRE DUBUS, „Selected Stories“, 496 pages, 1988.

27: TOVE JANSSON, „Fair Play“, 179 pages, 1989. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended. But her „Summer Book“ is even better.

28: FRANCIS SPUFFORD, „Red Plenty“, 448 pages, 2007.

29: JUNICHIRO TANIZAKI, „The Makiota Sisters“, 544 pages, 1946.

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Underdog Literature, September 2011: 15 fresh or compelling, off-the-wall titles

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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: CHAD HARBACH, ‚The Art of Fielding‘, 528 pages, 2011.

02: CATH CROWLEY, ‚Graffiti Moon‘, 264 pages, 2010. [Coming of Age]

03: SAREE MAKDISI, ‚Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation‘, 320, 2008. [Nonfiction]

04: JAMIE O’NEILL, ‚At Swim, two Boys‘, 576 pages, 2000.

05: JULIAN BARNES, ‚The Sense of an Ending‘, 144 pages, 2011.

06: JOHN FANTE, ‚Ask the Dust‘, 165 pages, 1939.

07: JULIE ORRINGER, ‚The Invisible Bridge‘, 602 pages, 2010.

08: LILY KING, ‚Father of the Rain‘, 384 pages, 2010.

09: RICHARD YATES, ‚Liars in Love‘, 272 pages, 1981.

10: THOMAS SAVAGE, ‚The Power of the Dog‘, 304 pages, 1967.

11: JOHN HERSEY, ‚The Wall‘, 640 pages, 1950.

12: DAVID MARKSON, ‚The Last Novel‘, 220 pages, 2007.

13: KATI RICKENBACH, ‚Jetzt kommt später‘, 304 pages, 2001. [German, Graphic Novel]

14: JÖRN MORISSE, RASMUS ENGLER, ‚Wovon lebst du eigentlich? Vom Überleben in prekären Zeiten‘, 256 pages, 2007. [German, Nonfiction]

15: ANTJE RÁVIC STRUBEL, ‚Sturz der Tage in die Nacht‘, 437 pages, 2011. [German]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: AMOR TOWLES, ‚Rules of Civility‘, 352 pages, 2011.

02: ANDRÉ ACIMAN, ‚Call me by your Name‘, 248 pages, 2007.

03: JOSH KILMER-PURCELL, ‚I am not myself these days‘, 305 pages, 2006. [Memoir]

04: OLIVER SACKS, ‚Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf‘, 208 pages, 1989. [Nonfiction]

05: THOMAS BERNHARD, ‚Meine Preise‘, 144 pages, 2009. [German, Nonfiction].

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

[this month: three indie graphic novels.]

1: 5 of 5 stars: DANIEL CLOWES, ‚Ghost World‘, 80 pages, 1997.

2: 4 of 5 stars: HOWARD CRUSE, ‚Stuck Rubber Baby‘, 216 pages, 1995.

3: 4 of 5 stars: DAVID B., ‚Epileptic‘, 358 pages, 2002.

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