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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.

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