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Justin Sirois’s Best of 2009

Justin Sirois is founder and codirector of Narrow House, an experimental writing publishing collective. He received Maryland State Art Council grants for poetry in 2003 and 2007. His books include Secondary Sound (BlazeVOX Books) and MLKNG SCKLS (Publishing Genius). Currently, Justin is trying to find a publisher for his first novel written in collaboration with Iraqi refugee Haneen Alshujairy about displaced Iraqis living in Fallujah in April of ’04. He also is a designer for Edge Books.

The Hurt Locker:

At one point while we were in the theater watching G.I Joe, I turned to Adam Robinson and said, “I wish we were watching The Hurt Locker again.” He said, “Me, too.” Hands down, my favorite action/drama – perfectly paced and precisely tense.

Borderlands:

This comic book looking cell animated shooter/RPG hybrid is the most addicting game I’ve ever played. You’ll spend potentially hundreds of hours hording the over 17,750,000 firearms (really) and plowing through the somehow not repetitious side missions until you reach some mythological vault containing some ultimate alien weapon. Mad fun – endless glee for each headshot – I’m still playing it weeks later. Very unexpectedly, the best darn game of 2009. BUY IT.

Publishing Genius (small press of the year, damn it):

I’m a bit biased. This press published one of my books and I live in Baltimore. Man, I also do some design work for them from time to time. But that said, man oh man, Publishing Genius deserves a Small Press of the Year award. They sold the rights to Shane Jones’s Light Boxes to Spike Jonze (and Ray Tintori), they’ve been written about in Mc Sweeney’s Believer (A Jello Horse by Matthew Simmons), and they’re newest release, Easter Rabbit by Joseph Young will be a microfiction dictionary for the next generation. Adam Robinson of Publishing Genius, you’re raising the bar and closing the bar and burning the bar to the fucking ground.

2nd annual Marfa Film Fest:

One of the best kept arts secrets in the United States; it’s a hard to get to desert town run by artists and writers and musicians. I’m probably breaking some secret pact by speaking about it like this on the internet. 3rd film fest is scheduled from late April. Best things to do: drinking micheladas at Padre’s, flirting with beautiful people, walking into the desert at 3 in the morning, shuffleboard at Padre’s, Tim Johnson’s Marfa Bookstore Company, watching movies in the desert, drinking Sotol, swimming on the moon, losing count of the stars in the sky, nodding at real cowboys, more drinking. See you there?

This cast iron grill top for my Weber:

Cost as much as the grill itself, but well worth it.

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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