Every December every idiot comes up with lists, so this idiot is no different. So here goes.
First of all, if you haven’t subscribed to Longreads.com yet, shame on you. And even more so if you are not using Instapaper (http://www.instapaper.com/) to read them. Over the last year a ton of those long-form journalism websites cropped up and it has really been a blessing (besides Longreads there’s also Longform.org, Essayist, and Give me something to read).
Anyway, here are some of my favorites from the last couple of months.
Let It Bleed
Hard at work on his eighth novel, Deadwood author Pete Dexter still packs a punch
By Ellis E. Conklin
Stephen King, The Art of Fiction No. 189
Confessions of a Car Salesman
Inside the mind of the octopus
BY SY MONTGOMERY
The Local-Global Flip, or, “The Lanier Effect”
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier
Raymond Carver, The Art of Fiction No. 76
And while I did not manage to read some of the books I said I would a year ago, I did read some others and some of them are even recommendable!
- A Song of Ice and Fire. This was somewhat of a guilty pleasure and The Wife pointed at me and laughed, but if J.R.R. Tolkin’s stories touched you in any way you will love this. If you decide to read this series (5 volumes so far) do yourself a favor and avoid to look or read anything about it. It has a lot of twists and turns and you’ll definitely find spoilers online, even in interviews with him. And now is a pretty good time to start, because George R.R. Martin is notorious to let years pass between volumes and volume 5, A Dance of Dragons, came out this year, 5 years after volume 4! It seems like there are two more volumes planned, so let’s hope he’ll be faster and doesn’t die before finishing the series.
- On Food and Cooking. The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Not really a book book, but more a reference book. Still, it is a good and fun read and I always go back to it to look something up. Like brining, for example.
- Running after Antelope. I’ve only known Scott Carrier from his radio pieces, which I loved, and his collection of short (non?) fiction is definitely worth reading. Laconic and melancholic, it’s a great read for a plane trip. Or a rainy weekend.
- In the Heart of the Sea. The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. The sinking of the Essex due to getting rammed by a whale (!) is one of the sources of what became Moby Dick and was one of the biggest tragedies of its time. Nathaniel Philbrick does a great job of painting a picture of Nantucket, life aboard a whaling ship, and the effects of prolonged starvation on the human body. Plus, there’s cannibalism.
- Lucifer Rising : A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Recommended to me by Barbeloh a while back, this is a nice primer on Satanism in music and popular culture. It’s definitely something of a Schweinsgalopp at times, but as an overview and outline it’s worth your time.
- The Corrections. Yeah, so this one won a number of prizes and is used in literature courses and guess what? It’s actually really really good. And you should read it just the way I did: with no fucking clue what’s in store for you!
Additionally I read a ton of James Lee Burke’s novels, but you can pretty much grab any one of them and have a good time.