Monday, December 31, 2007

year-end lists

I too dislike them, especially when they insist on appearing in tens, as if the evolutionary accident of our 10 fingers & 10 toes had something to do with the pace of useful/interesting cultural production over an annual cycle which has, after all – 12 months, 365 days – nothing whatsoever to do with a decimal system.

But here are a few lists, notable perhaps for showing precisely how far I've gotten from being up to date: books I've read or re-read this year & found particularly compelling. Lists in no particular order, nor in ten-ishes:
Poetry

Stephen Rodefer, Mon Canard
Benjamin Friedlander, The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes
Martha Ronk, In a Landscape of Having to Repeat
Melanie Neilson, Civil Noir
Geoffrey Hill, Scenes from Comus
Geoffrey Hill, A Treatise of Civil Power
Kate Greenstreet, case sensitive
Carla Harryman, Baby
Rosmarie Waldrop, Curves to the Apple
Myung Mi Kim, Commons
Paul Naylor, Arranging Nature
Norman Finkelstein, Passing Over
Peter Riley, Alstonefield: A Poem

Fiction

Samuel R. Delany, Phallos
A. S. Byatt, Angels & Insects
Paul Auster, Oracle Night
Jane Austen, Emma
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out
Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
Geraldine McCaughrean, Peter Pan in Scarlet
Peter Ackroyd, The Plato Papers

Biography

Lytton Strachey, Queen Victoria
Claire Tomalin, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Lyndall Gordon, Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life
Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
Lorenz Jäger, Adorno: A Political Biography
Elzbieta Ettinger, Hannah Arendt/Martin Heidegger

Other (criticism, philosophy, usw.)

Lawrence Rainey, Revisiting the Waste Land
Geoffrey O’Brien, The Browser’s Ecstacy: A Meditation on Reading
Theodor W. Adorno, Hegel: Three Studies
Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment
Garry Wills, Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare’s Macbeth
L. C. Knights, Drama and Society in the Age of Jonson
Joseph Brooker, Joyce’s Critics: Transitions in Reading and Culture
Rosmarie Waldrop, Lavish Absence: Recalling and Rereading Edmond Jabès
James Fairhall, James Joyce and the Question of History
Robert Sheppard, Far Language: Poetics and Linguistically Innovative Poetry 1978-1997
As usual, hoping for better in the new year.

3 comments:

E. M. Selinger said...

Thanks, Mark.

Your "best of" lists are longer than my "read" lists, I'm guessing. Hard to keep track of all those romance novels, but the total number of hours spent reading this year was awfully low by comparison, clearly.

I'm particularly interested in catching up, next year, on good lit crit, as I hope to write some. Your list gives me somewhere to start.

Keep up the good work!

E. M. Selinger said...

P.S. I just noticed "James Fairhall" on that list--he's a colleague, you know, here at DePaul. I'll give him the good word when next I see him--

E

W.B. Keckler said...

Happy New Year to you & yours, Zuk Man. I still didn't get my copy! However, a few issues of GUM magazine from the early seventies did arrive yesterday, along with an unpublished Berrigan ms. I bought, so I'm pleasantly distracted. I liked a lot of your Best Of list...esp. Commons & Waldrop, and I was happy to see your lists reached back and forth in time instead of these factitious Best of 2007 Lists that imply people only read for "nowness." "Kindahere kindanow kindahip kindayesterday'sdreck." Rodefer is one of those authors I keep meaning to search out...I think I only know what's in the Tree....I think he taught Nada Gordon...well one person who did anyway...Martha Ronk just keeps getting better & better...your reading list seems more gender-neutral...i like chicklit more than guylit...i'm fairly sure it's an active prejudice...except for mags that only publish women...those are fascisti...i wonder if they have separate water coolers too...my word verification is almost the word "deskly"...how scrivenerish...love, Bartleby