A Year In Reading: Ben Marcus

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Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close

This year I read Nothing. Nothing is about the history of our attempts to conceive of the void, vacuums, nothingness. It’s about the infinite sea and the Higgs vacuum and the new Void. It hurts to read. It completely defies my understanding. I love it.

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick

Information has been likened to blood before, but the case here is air tight. The Information is a lucid history of the machines, soft and hard, we have fabricated in order to share our pain with each other. I read this right after reading Tom McCarthy’s novel C, and The Information seemed like the perfect, suspenseful guide book one might have excavated from the heart of that very strange novel.

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns

Speaking of strange novels, this is one of my favorites, re-printed beautifully by a new small press called Dorothy Project. Barbara Comyns’ novel is deranged in ways that shouldn’t be disclosed. On the surface things are not so odd — but deep inside the sentences is the delirious, mad energy one finds in the work of Jane Bowles, Leonora Carrington, and Diane Williams.

The Case For God by Karen Armstrong

An encyclopedia of the most primal act of the human imagination: to wonder where we came from and to ask what we should do now. In the end this book is a consummate survey of how civilizations have strategized to cope with the unknown. The project is not finished.

More from A Year in Reading 2011

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

The good stuff: The Millions’ Notable articles

The motherlode: The Millions’ Books and Reviews

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