Having been an early booster of his, I found myself wondering every so often during the past several years: What's up with Ben Anastas? His novels, An Underachiever's Diary and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor's Disappearance, had been published in 1998 and 2001. After that, nothing; at least nothing I'd seen. The answer to my question came a couple of months ago, with the arrival of Too Good to Be True, Anastas's memoir of what sexual straying, debt, and a run of bad literary luck did to a very promising early career. What might have been a piece of niche self-pity - the boo-hoo travails of another belletristic, still-young Brooklynite - turns out to be a remarkably clear-eyed search for the deeper and more distant causes of a bad patch that extended itself much too far. The book is taut, sad, and soulful. 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.