A Year in Reading: John Dufresne


John Dufresne has written seven books, including the novel Love Warps the Mind a Little, a New York Times Notable Book, the fiction writing guide The Lie That Tells a Truth, and, most recently, the novel Requiem, Mass. He lives in Dania Beach, Florida.Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee. Coetzee’s least allegorical book and his most powerful. A dark and cheerless portrait of a professor driven by desire and of a country returned to its primal instincts. An uneasy read for sure, but too compelling to put down.The Unprofessionals by Julie Hecht. Julie Hecht is the most interesting voice in America fiction and in this, her first novel, her familiar narrator, a bewildered and obsessive middle-aged photographer, details the complicated relationship she has with a twenty-one-year-old heroin addict. Neither of them can comprehend the emptiness of contemporary American life. The novel is hilarious and harrowing, painful and profound.What It Is by Lynda Barry. A beautiful book full of Barry’s colorful collages, and the best book I’ve read in a long while on the creative process and on the exhilaration and joy of making things up. Write along with Lynda – you won’t be able to stop yourself.Hubert’s Freaks: the Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus by Gregory Gibson. A neurotic book dealer and collector of ephemera happens on a cache of material from a Times Square freak show that happens to also have twenty-something Arbus photos – and then the fun begins. An art-world mystery and a study of obsession.Eat Me: the Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin by Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreno. Part memoir, part cookbook, part eccentric culinary essay, Eat Me is fun, provocative, and a welcome antidote to the often-pretentious celebrity-chef-of-the-week offerings.More from A Year in Reading 2008