A Year in Reading: Matt Weiland

December 15, 2010 | 8 books mentioned 1

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covercoverAs an editor I’ll always champion publishing in hardcover, but I confess as a reader I prefer to crack open a paperback. So in 2010 I caught up with two extraordinary works of nonfiction that were hits last year: Nick Reding’s Methland and Dave Cullen’s Columbine. These are books that feel like the best documentaries: intimate, raw, alive. Plus, their authors achieve that ineffable combination of reporter and writer with ease and grace.

covercoverI also spent much of 2010 reading Primo Levi. There are three full biographies, but I liked Ian Thomson’s Primo Levi: A Life best: a book as full of life as its subject. I continue to find that The Periodic Table bears re-reading as often as possible, for a reminder of Levi’s curiosity and and his humor. I was also struck reading Levi’s The Monkey’s Wrench for the first time: a wonderfully strange book, a novel I suppose, narrated largely through the stories of a ribald Piedmontese construction worker who is somehow both wise and clueless. Finally, I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books aloud to our little boy, and I can’t say enough about the deep (and often near wordless) pleasures of Donald Crews’ books, especially Freight Train and Parade, and Tim Egan’s sublime Dodsworth series, featuring a deadpan duck and the best straight-man in literature, Dodsworth.

More from a Year in Reading 2010

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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is senior editor at Ecco. He has been an editor at Granta, The Paris Review, and The Baffler, he managed a documentary radio unit at NPR, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Slate, The Nation, and The New Republic. He is the co-editor, with Sean Wilsey, of two bestselling books: The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup and State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

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