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William Walsh’s Best of 2009

Favorite books: Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme (Tracy Daugherty) and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor (Brad Gooch) – I love literary biographies and these are two of the best I’ve ever read. Barthelme had been a complete mystery to me because he doesn’t seem to be a part of his own stories. Daugherty really captured Barthelme’s many eras and the odd/varied impulses behind his stories. The O’Connor book was a bit more formal. It amazed me that the diagnosis of lupus was kept from her by her family and friends for many years.

Last Days (Brian Evenson) – such an amazing and frightening book, cinematic and cerebral.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others (Stephanie Johnson) – great first collection. Nice mix of flash pieces and longer narratives. She penetrates the world of her characters but does not editorialize on their lives.

Kamby Bolongo Mean River (Robert Lopez), Scorch Atlas (Blake Butler), and Drift and Swerve (Sam Ligon) – read these books back-to-back-to-back after Robert, Blake, and Sam brought their tour to Providence. Kamby Bolongo has been compared to Beckett, and I see that in its playfulness. Scorch Atlas is just very heavy, and the sentences are lyrical. The stories in Drift and Swerve are written in a lean prose style—there’s not a single extraneous word.

Favorite TV: Mad Men, Californication, Bored to Death, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Favorite Music: “Periodically Double or Triple” (Yo La Tengo), “My Girls” (Animal Collective), “Belated Promise Ring” (Iron & Wine), “I Want You To” (Weezer), “Kind of a Girl” (Tinted Windows), “Red Light Love” (Those Darlins), “Zero” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and “White as Snow” U2.

Favorite Websites/Blogs: Largehearted Boy, Monitor Mix, Big Other, HTML Giant, NewPages, Orange Alert, Beard of Truth, Duotrope’s Digest, Fictionaut, GoodReads.

William Walsh is the author of Without Wax (Casperian) and Questionstruck (Keyhole). His stories have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Annalemma, Artifice, Quick Fiction, No Colony, Pank, Night Train, The Outlet, Kill Author, The &Now Anthology, and New Pony: A Horse Less Press Anthology. A short story collection called Ampersand, Mass. will be out in spring 2010 from Keyhole Press. His website is HERE. Also, Darcie Dennigan and Walsh have a reading series in Providence, Rhode Island.

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.

2 thoughts on “William Walsh’s Best of 2009

  1. Well, with A D Jameson HERE and now you raving about Hiding Man I guess it’s settled that I’ve got to pick it up.

    Looks like I’ve read and enjoyed three of your favorite books for this year:
    Last Days, One of These Things Is Not Like the Others, and Kamby Bolongo Mean River. I haven’t read the other two but would love to.

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