I got a massive amount of writing done in 2008. That made it made it a strange year for reading. Early on in the year I appear to have had a ghosts and devils fixation. What was I thinking, reading Will Self, How the Dead Live and Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita back to back?
Between January and May I read and re-read a lot of chapters, articles and essays related to the texts I was working with in the Tributaries & Text-Fed Streams electronic literature project. Many books were harmed in the making of that work, some are pictured here, but few of those fragmentary readings are represented in the list below.
I had a great but short lived burst of short story reading in the spring while I was writing the postcard stories for the in absentia electronic literature project, but once that piece was launched I had to focus on finishing writing my first novel, Words the Dog Knows. It was a cold, wet summer, which was fine as I barely left my apartment. To get through the long days of writing toward impossibly short deadlines I soon realized that I couldn’t read anything even remotely resembling anything I would ever write. So it was a summer of long post-colonial novels written by American women.
I thought I’d get back to my regular reading habits once Words the Dog Knows went to the printer, but despite a brief window were I got to catch up on a few books written by friends, most of my fall reading was muddled by travel. Between book tours, conferences, lectures and meetings I was on the road non-stop from mid-October to mid-November. All I can say is, Gulliver’s Travels makes great sense on trains and airplanes.
My New Year’s reading resolution: to read Don Quixote in it’s entirety. Toward this end I have booked a one week vacation on a Cuban beach. The things I do for literature!
Here, from last to first, are books read in 2008:
Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels Salman Rushdie, ed., Best American Short Stories 2008 Jonathan Lenthem, Girl in a Landscape Marguerite Duras, Moderato Cantabile Paul D. Miller, Rhythm Science Mariko & Jillian Tamaki, Skim Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time Emily Holton, Dear Canada Council / Our Starland Liane Keightly, Seven Openings of the head Jacques Derrida, Paper Machine N. Katherine Hayles, Writing Machines Joe Brainard, I Remember Harold Brodkey, Stories in an Almost Classical Mode Cynthia Ozick, Trust Maya Merrick, The Hole Show Kate Pullinger, A Little Stranger Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go Leni Zumas, Farewell Navigator Jason Camlot, The Debaucher Keri Hulme, The Bone People Ha Jin, Waiting Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost Claire Messud, The Hunters Joy Williams, State of Grace Julie Doucet, 365 Days Barry Hannah, Geronimo Rex Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle Steven Heighton, The Shadow Boxer Michael Crummey, Flesh and Blood Kerstin Ekman, Blackwater Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss G. V. Desani, All About H. Hatterr Michale Hoeullebecq, The Elementary Particles Rick Moody, Demonology Goethe, Faust Christopher Funkhouser, Prehistoric Digital Poetry Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Jeff Parker, The Back of the Line Etgar Keret, Missing Kissinger Raymond Carver, Short Cuts Lorrie Moore, Like Life Maurice Blanchot, Death Sentence Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea Eva Figes, Light Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems 1927-1979 Maureen Adams, Shaggy Muses Mary Robison, Why Did I Ever Valerie Joy Kalynchuk, All Day Breakfast Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonders Flan O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds Rilke, Duino Elegies & The Sonnets to Orpheus Anya Ulinich, Petropolis David McGimpsey, Sitcom Jeff Parker, Ovenman Will Self, How the Dead Live Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita Mark Amerika, META/DATA
. . . . .