December 12, 2008

Steve Finbow’s four-word review of 2008 books.

"Published in 2008
Miracles of Life by JG Ballard. Moving, elegant, dry, penultimate.
Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño. Borgesian, subversive, clever, funny.
Violence by Slavoj Žižek. Explosive, confrontational, intelligent, paradoxical.
Born Yesterday by Gordon Burn. Brave, contemporary, disappointing, perspicacious.
The Book of Dead Philosophers by Simon Critchley. Fresh, informative, funny, dippable.

"New books read in 2008 but published earlier (i.e. ones I haven’t read before; so no Celine, Robbe-Grillet, Peace, Guyotat, etc.)
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. Gripping, literary, exciting, challenging.
Remainder by Tom McCarthy. Brilliant, different, philosophical, readable.
Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell. Dark, poetic, psychological, precise.
Homicide by David Simon. Realistic, gritty, funny, depressing.
The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by Stephen Sherrill. Surreal, dirty, modern, mythical.

"Three worst books read in 2008 regardless of publishing date.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Egotistical, sloppy, unnecessary, ker-ching.
Beautiful Children by Charles Bock. Over-hyped, overwritten, unedited, sentimental,.
What is the What by Dave Eggers. Worthy, worthy, worthy, worthy."

Steve Finbow is a Londoner (but plans to move to Tokyo). He has worked for the artist Richard Long, the biographer Victor Bockris, and was researcher/editor for the poet Allen Ginsberg. He blogs as The Glass Hombre, runs the show at Red Peter and is 3:AM Magazine’s newest editor.

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