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Top Books of the Year; or My Year of Addiction by Nick

If 2008 was my year to champion small press books, catalyzed by Joe Meno’s The Boy Detective Fails (Punk Planet Books) and resulting with exploration into the Akashic Books and Featherproof Books catalogues; then 2009 was The Year of The Western and Southern Gothic Traditions.

The Unkindness of Crows; or Conformity and Dissent by Nick

I recently saw the brilliant film adaptation of Richard Yates’ novel, Revolutionary Road and, like so many works exploring conformity, dissent, the incapability to escape the choices one makes, I was mesmerized. It lodged itself in my head, like a splinter, slowly working deeper and deeper to my core. I was a bit rattled. The film brought to mind other great works of art that address this dreadful part of the human condition.

The McSweeney Conundrum by Nick

McSweeney’s just might be the most polarizing publishing house currently in existence. Their novels are either universally loved or loathed, depending on whom you ask. It’s either seen as a collective for young, fresh writers doing something wholly different in the publishing industry or a backslapping boys (and girls) club, where the water cooler talk is most likely of the self-congratulatory variety. From their quirky lists, to downright smart-allecky monthly columns, rest assured you won’t find many publishing houses like it. And it all started with Dave Eggers.

This Book Could Be Your Life by Nick

Henry Rollins said it best in his Black Flag tour diary: Get in the van! (Or was it William Blake with “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s”.)

Nothing New Under the Sun by Nick

I’m currently reading Ben Ehrenreich’s debut novel The Suitors, which uses Homer’s Odyssey as a sort of back story. Ehrenreich uses Odysseus’s wife Penelope as the focus, what became of her when Odysseus left for war.

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