Author Topic: my reading picks for 2006  (Read 2628 times)


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my reading picks for 2006
« on: December 26, 2006, 11:03:26 AM »
5 good reads and 10 awful ones

Be ofrewarned about the ten worst. I read them so you don't have to.


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More reading picks for 2006
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2006, 02:39:16 AM »
A few I have read in the last year that I'd recommend.  Admittedly, it's a little random, listing just books that I thought were particularly good and which came out in the last year or two:

Kiran Desai, "The Inheritance of Loss"
Kenji Yoshino, "Covering:  The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights"
Jeff Chang and DJ Kool Herc, "Can't Stop Won't Stop:  A History of the Hip-Hop Generation"
Haynes Johnson, "Age of Anxiety:  McCarthyism to Terrorism"
Noam Chomsky, "Failed States"

Not new releases, just great books I read recently:
Edward Abbey, "Desert Solitare"
Jung Chang, "Wild Swans"


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Re: my reading picks for 2006
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 08:30:31 AM »
Ask The Parrot - Richard Stark
Chinatown Death Cloud Peril - Paul Malmont

Were probably the best two non reissues I read this year


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Re: my reading picks for 2006
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 08:35:41 PM »
Thanks for the recommendations, Bruce (and the pans: I was almost tempted by the Stones book and the Animal House book--the NYT review made it out to be the funniest book ever).

My favorite reads of the year aren't half as obscure: Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes (I had to read his other two as well, but the critics were right in this case, they're not as good). I also really enjoyed Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" and "To the Lighthouse." I had tried to read her years ago, but with no success. I guess I caught her at a good time this year.

Most overrated author I read this year for the first time: Charles Bukowski (I read Post Office, Women, and Ham on Rye). I know I'm late to this party, but I always suspected this guy had to be overrated. My hunch, based on these three books, proved correct.

For young people tempted by Bukowski's allure, I recommend reading John Fante instead. Bukowski has basically admitted to ripping him off, so why not start with the original. Ask the Dust, the first book in the Bandini Saga, is a good introduction to his work. I also enjoyed The Brotherhood of the Grape and West of Rome which I read after reading Bukowski this year to help clear my mind of Bukowski.

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Re: my reading picks for 2006
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2006, 06:23:35 PM »
I wouldn't call Bukowski overrated, just extremely subject to taste. He did jock Fante's style-e to some extent, but he made his own name in the realm of self-loathing existential humor. (I'm not surprised R. Crumb wanted to work with him.) If you didn't like Ham On Rye, there's probably not much there for you. Me, I've gone back and forth on Buk and I find Harry Crews a lot more relatable. It's also hard to argue that 98% of Bukowski's modern imitators aren't pathetic hacks.

I slacked off on my reading this year and found it particularly hard to get into fiction. I did enjoy Douglas Rushkoff's Get Back In the Box, Mark Weingarten's The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight and Now Dig This: The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern.

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