Ander Monson is the author of a host of paraphernalia including a decoder wheel, several chapbooks and limited edition letterpress collaborations, a website, and three books: Neck Deep and Other Predicaments, Other Electricities, and Vacationland. He edits the magazine DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press.F. T. Marinetti, The Futurist Cookbook - a bizarre hybrid of a manifesto. I'm really partial to manifestos and sermons and really fervent writing/speaking/performance. Beautiful book. Out of print, very very sadly.Jim Krusoe, Iceland - Not usually my sort of thing but all the bodies and all the sex and the weird, sad happenstance of this short novel kept me riveted.Michael Lesy, Wisconsin Death Trip - Still brilliant. I read the David Means short story "Michigan Death Trip" a couple years back and he explained at a reading that it was after this bizarro and gruesome and spectral nonfiction (of a sort) collage text. Really it is its own thing. An experience to savor. Since I moved away from winter this summer I have been missing it and this is its own tiny emotional winter.Laurence Stern, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy - a lot of my reading is trying to fill in shameful gaps in my reading history. This is an example of that, since I've been trying to work through the major novels in the summers. It's amazing to see how big and odd and funny and profane this book is, and effortlessly doing the formal things that get me all hot and bothered now.Joy Williams, The Florida Keys - this one's a re-read, and it is ever-yielding and entertaining, her guide to The Florida Keys is an often terrifying and hilarious anti-guidebook, subversive and elliptical, full-on essay, and yet an oddly effective actual guidebook to Williams' mind and the diminishing Keys.Marion Bataille, ABC3D - a fold-out book that you operate as you go, so it's essentially collaborative, and gorgeous; an amazing technological achievement in bookiness in the days of the Amazon Kindle and questions about what the future of the book holds for writers and readers. Well, let's write and read books that can only be books and not eBooks or anything (or if we're writing eBooks, let's write eBooks that can only be eBooks). That's my thinking. Let's get our collective manifesto on.More from A Year in Reading 2008
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The Guardian has put together an extensive section called "How to Write" with tips from the pros like Robert Harris, Antonia Fraser, and Catherine Tate on writing fiction, poetry, comedy, screenplays, memoirs, journalism, and books for children.David Foster Wallace links: DFW's Pomona syllabus (via) and "The last days of David Foster Wallace" in Salon (via). Very sad.Adjust your bookmarks. Pinky's Paperhaus has moved (and gotten a new name).Former Millions blogger Patrick Brown got a mention in an LA Times piece about Herman Wouk a couple weeks back.
Published as poetry, Anne Carson’s Nox is closer by far to W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz than to any book of pocketable lyrics. Ultimately uncategorizable, this physically onomatopoetic facing of the death of a long-absent, long-estranged brother comes (as effects or ashes do) in a box. The pages not sewn, not glued, but accordion-folded into one inseparable, extendable fan of grief. On the left-hand pages: an OED style meditation on each Latin word of the saddest elegy ever written, that of Catullus for his own brother. The scholarship is visibly stained by its originating situation -- almost every entry holds some reference to night, to vanishment. On the right-hand pages: meditations on history-gathering itself, familial photos, single lines of thought or perception, stories -- a record of how the mind scratches against the obdurate to raise some glint of comprehension. Both typography and images take the form of ransom notes, rubbings, recollections, glimpsed parts of an unfathomable whole. There is a story. What matters -- as always, in matters of literature -- is the penumbra around it in every direction. A book can be a battering ram against the doors of the actual. The intention is not to break but to break into. Resistance, in electrical circuitry, is both the manifestation of the objective world’s recalcitrance and the part that throws heat and light. I have perhaps made Nox sound difficult, depressing, a book of distance. I suppose it is -- I owned it for a year before I could bring myself to read it through fully. The density demanded it simply sit near at hand, a mute and almost mineral presence. Bring yourself to enter, it becomes rivetting, a daredevil-defiant and heartbroken confrontation of fracture. The welding torch’s ferocity arcs through it, drawing the eye it burns. More from A Year in Reading 2012 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.
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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer points to a small press that is "one of the most intriguing additions to the Northwest literary landscape in recent years." Clear Cut Press in Astoria, Oregon, distinguishes itself by publishing books in "handy pocket-size editions, inspired by a popular Japanese format, and with detachable covers with arresting images," and by splitting profits 50/50 with its authors, a cut far higher than authors can expect to get at a typical publishing house. The Post-Intelligencer calls books like Matt Briggs' debut novel, Shoot the Buffalo worthy of more prominent presses. Clear Cut also put out a collection of essays, Orphans, early this year by Charles D'Ambrosio who frequently appears in the New Yorker.
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