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My Reading Year, 2010

Dec 01, 2010

My Reading Year, 2010

Here are 10 good books I read this year. (See also: 2006-2009)

Joe Brainard, I Remember

I remember Saturday night baths and Sunday morning comics.

* * *

Patti Smith, Just Kids

One Indian summer day we dressed in our favorite things…and spent the afternoon in Washington Square…

We were walking toward the fountain, the epicenter of activity, when an older couple stopped and openly observed us. Robert enjoyed being noticed, and he affectionately squeezed my hand.

“Oh, take their picture,” said the woman to her bemused husband, “I think they’re artists.”

“Oh, go on,” he shrugged. “They’re just kids.”

* * *

Mary Karr, Lit

I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger.

* * *

Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist

If you ask yourself, ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about. If you ask yourself, ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it—you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said something mean to you—that’s what you’re going to remember. But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad. I mean, you never know…

* * *

David Shields, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity and by delight, we all quote. It is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.

Quote actually from Emerson.

* * *

Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.

* * *

Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity. These are frequently artists and performers, adventurers and wide-life devotees.

Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull.

* * *

Maira Kalman, And The Pursuit of Happiness

Everything is invented. Language. Childhood. Careers. Relationships. Religion. Philosophy. The Future. They are not there for the plucking. They don’t exist in some natural state. They must be invented by people. And that, of course, is a great thing. Don’t mope in your room. Go invent something. That is the American message. Electricity. Flight. The telephone. Television. Computers. Walking on the moon. It never stops.

* * *

Lynda Barry, Picture This

Why do we stop drawing?

* * *

John Darnielle, Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality

When you listen to early Black Sabbath, you know the main difference between them & you is that somebody bought them guitars and microphones. They’re not smarter than you; they’re not deeper than you; they’re a fuck of a lot richer than you, but other than that, it’s like listening to the inside of your own mind. So when they write songs, they sing about wizards. And witches. And robots.

* * *

10 more good books I read:

75 notes

  1. newspaperblackout reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    Posting this here because I figure some of you 1) might be interested in a few of these 2) might not follow my personal...
  2. skibinskipedia said: So surprised and delighted to see Dunn’s Geek Love on your list. That is one amazing book.
  3. cherryflavouredrefreshements reblogged this from austinkleon
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