Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Five Good Books I Read This Year

Without any ordering.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace

I started and haven’t finished Infinite Jest. I will. This book gave me a lot this year. So did David Foster Wallace. Rigorous, humble, light. This is a good book. It tells you lots of things about cruises, tennis, David Lynch, state fairs, and David Foster Wallace. It shows you how to write well.

Vacation, Deb Olin Unferth

Surprises and not-irritating circumlocutions. A man suspects his wife. A wife suspects her husband. Someone else is caught in the middle. This sounds very thrillery but this is not what it is. It is only in this description that I have ever thought about it as a thriller. It is Austerian. It is austere. It made me think about things differently. It is sympathetic, compassionate.

Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs, Ellen Kennedy

I won this from Tao Lin in a Twitter competition. I also really liked Shoplifting from American Apparel but it would seem like I did it because I won a competition to put this on here? Probably not. Ellen Kennedy is daring and honest in her poetry. These are cliches. Her poetry makes me smile.

Like Life, Lorrie Moore

More surprises, but old ones. Lorrie Moore is someone whose name I’d heard a lot but through, well, Tao Lin, I decided to read her when I found this book in a secondhand store. This is also about compassion, but less so than, say, Richard Yates. Her characters make me laugh because they say things like I think I might.

Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger

I don’t like Catcher in the Rye anymore. I like this. It is startlingly good. It is a period piece, now. I read this very quickly. The people in it make me sad, but the book does not.

Filed under: reading

About Me:

My name is Kevin O'Neill and I am in the fifth year of a part-time PhD in the English Department of Goldsmiths, London, UK. I used to teach undergrad classes there (now: not, because there are other PhD students who need teaching experience). I work (most of the time) in the Oxfam shop in Dalston because few people get paid to do humanities PhDs.

My research centres around the literary journal McSweeney's. My interest is developing into what McSweeney's tells us about two separate (but I guess related) fields: 1) literary institutions 2) American cultural production, more broadly. This blog was initially about my PhD but is now a more general thinking space.

See right for my flickr/twitter/delicious feeds, then below for other versions of me.

Email is looceefir on gmail.


December 2009
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