Though this season has seen me being pummeled by the various viruses and whatnot that are floating around—not to mention succumbing, for perhaps the first time in my life, to some form of seasonal affective mood disorder—the year, as a whole, has had some bright moments (as Rahsaan Roland Kirk would say). At some point, I’ll post a list of what I enjoyed reading this year. In the meantime, I’ve asked many great writers to send along a list of some of their favorite books, music, films, events, moments, or whatever for 2010. As you’ll find below, these “bests” need not have been released this year. In this installment, check out lists by Scott Garson, Jamie Iredell, Norman Lock, Kevin Sampsell, and Ken Sparling. More to come, soon.
Looking at the films and books I count among my favorite, I am struck by the fabulism, fantasy, anti-naturalism which – largely, all of them – share to one degree or another. (I can say this, too, about the painters I admire most, like Miró, Chagall, and Klee.) Whether these works have influenced my own writings or I turn to them to confirm it, I cannot answer.
38 Favorite Films
(in no particular order)
The Tin Drum – Volker Schlöndorff
Wild Strawberries – Ingmar Bergman
The Magician – Ingmar Bergman
Fanny & Alexander – Ingmar Bergman
The Seventh Seal – Ingmar Bergman
Hour of the Wolf – Ingmar Bergman
Ordet – Carl Th. Dreyer
Vampyr – Carl Th. Dreyer
Life Is Beautiful – Roberto Benigni
Le jardin des plantes – Philippe de Broca
Orpheus – Jean Cocteau
Beauty & the Beast – Jean Cocteau
La Strada – Federico Fellini
8 ½ – Federico Fellini
La Dolce Vita – Federico Fellini
Amarcord – Federico Fellini
A Trip to the Moon – Georges Méliès
Miracle in Milan – Vittorio de Sica
Umberto D – Vittorio de Sica
Cinema Paradiso – Giuseppe Tornatore
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Pedro Almodóvar
Red Shoes – Michael Powell
Black Orpheus – Marcel Camus
The Drunken Angel – Akira Kurosawa
Dersu Uzala – Akira Kurosawa
Kwaidan – Masaki Kobayashi
Mon Oncle – Jacques Tati
Boudu Saved from Drowning – Jean Renoir
Breathless – Jean-Luc Godard
Exterminating Angel – Luis Buñuel
All the Mornings in the World – Alain Corneau
The Pearl – Emilio Fernández
My Life as a Dog – Lasse Hallström
Macarío – Roberto Gavaldón
Teorema – Pier Paolo Pasolini
Wings of Desire – Wim Wenders
The Dead – John Huston
The Burmese Harp – Kon Ichikawa
Norman Lock’s most recent books are the novels Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press) and Grim Tales (Mud Luscious Press). A recipient of The Paris Review’s Aga Kahn Prize, Norman was included among this year’s “20 Writers to Watch” according to American independent literary presses.
1. Performance of Bach’s Partita 3 by violin guy in subway at Bloor and Yonge in Toronto in early December
2. Beauty and the Beast live at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
3. Klezmer according player between sets by jazz trio at Reba’s Cafe in Toronto in early December
4. Noah Sherman Trio at Gate 403 in Toronto in September
5. Geoff Young at the Emmett Ray in Toronto in October
6. Men of Pedlar Press reading at Sitka Books in Vancouver
7. Sheila Heti reading for Ottawa Author’s Festival
8. Mike Moreno at Bar Next Door in NYC
9. Jean Michel Pilc playing a piano loft in some small town in New Jersey
10. Maylee Todd live in concert at North York Central Library in Toronto in November
Favourite places I was at during 2010:
1. Stanley Park in Vancouver
2. Smalls in NYC
3. Paula Bomer’s house in Brooklyn
4. The Syvia in Vancouver
5. Whale Watcher’s B&B in Newfoundland
6. Beth Follett and Stan Dragland’s house in Newfoundland
7. My backyard in the summer with Voovie and Moge
Favourite reads in 2010:
1. New York Tyrant
2. James Salter
3. more James Salter
4. poem by Fan Wu submitted to (but not accepted by) YOUNG VOICES, Toronto Public Library’s magazine of teen writing
5. Kim Chinquee novel excerpt forthcoming in BROKEN PENCIL magazine in 2011
6. WOLF by Erik Wahlstrom, in elimae
7. Thomas Luckie III story forthcoming in BROKEN PENCIL magazine in 2011
8. Everything by Eric Beeny
9. Unpublished manuscript by Greg Gerke
10. Unpublished manuscript by Edeet Ravel
Ken Sparling has a new novel coming out with Pedlar Press in spring 2011. He has work forthcoming in New York Tyrant. You can find out a bit more about him at www.stinkypoobutt.com
Russia: I was there over New Years, Snovum Godum! We were with my wife’s friend’s family where they force fed me cognac and salads, the primary ingredients of which were mayonnaise and cod. Every five minutes someone gave a ten minute-long, effusive toast to a family member excaliming how crappy their life would be without said member. Ded Moroz showed up for the little girl and gave her a creepy electronic pony that she adored.
fall things to do.
1. Song of the year: “Fever Dreaming,” No Age.
2. Best vsf not published online: a group prize: the writers of UNSAID 5.
3. Best secret giving of award to self (see #2).
4. Best outfit: Lady Gaga’s meat dress, worn at the ’10 MTV VMAs (duh).
5. Most welcome waning of a culinary fad: Chipotle.
6. Least advisable one-liner: “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” LeBron James.
7. Least justifiable hold on headlines: the 2010 Minnesota Vikings.
8. Best stick-in-your-head line from a ’10 fiction: “Self is a mutable currency,” Miranda Mellis (from “Misapprehensions: A Mobile in Ten Parts,” in Conjunctions 54).
9. Best act of literary conjuring: Campbell McGrath, for the Twin Cities in the ’80s, as found in his poem, “Minneapolis” (from /nor 8)
10. Best obscure anniversary: 35th of the Patti Smith’s “Hey Joe” from Horses (probably the best cover of a cover ever).
11. Most encouraging statistic: number of facebook friends holds constant—as the number of people adding me is about equal to the sum total of those dropping me and those who have sense enough to ditch entirely.
12. Writer of the year: Laura Ellen Scott, whom I will now supply a three-word blurb for: girl brings it.
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published 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, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.