My Favorite Books from 2009 (in alphabetical order):

I’ve read over 120 books in 2009, and by the time the year is up I’ll have reviewed over fifty. At the risk of being redundant, I’ve put together a list of the books I thought were this year’s best. I’ve also included links to the ones I reviewed. But before that, I should mention some great books that weren’t published this year: Eugene Lim’s Fog & Car, Eugene Marten’s Waste, Mary Caponegro’s first three books, Ken Sparling’s Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lavinia, and Michael Kimball’s The Way the Family Got Away and Dear Everybody. And then there’s Shane Jones’s The Failure Six, David Shields’s Reality Hunger, and Ander Monson’s Vanishing Point, all of which won’t be released until next year. By the way, while the so-called major presses churned out a whole lot of fluff I did enjoy John Haskell’s Out of My Skin and Anne Michaels’s The Winter Vault. Oh, and I should mention The Complete Cosmicomics, by Italo Calvino which  is playful and inventive in that inimitably Calvino way. Each chapter is a combination of pseudo-science (as far as I can tell) and fantasy—a weird mishmash of fable and fact. They sound like entries from an encyclopedia sometimes, albeit a whimsical one. This was the best way to close out the year. So, besides beautifully-crafted language, eddying narratives, evocative imagery, and provocative characters—whose quirks, thoughts, and comings and goings remain with me—what the books on this list have in common is that they were published by independent presses.
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Big Other Contributors’ News #4

Lily Hoang is now an editor at Tarpaulin Sky.
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I WILL SMASH YOU, the documentary film by Luca Dipierro and Michael Kimball, will be screened in Baltimore on Friday, November 20. The screening is part of A Shattered Wig Night. There will be great readings by Blaster Al Ackerman and Ingrid Burrington, and loud music by Sweatpants. The place is The14 Karat Cabaret, at 218 West Saratoga St., downtown Baltimore. The time is 9pm. Little Burn Films is HERE.
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Check out John Madera‘s reviews:

Gert Jonke’s The System of Vienna: From Heaven Street to Earth Mound Square (The Millions)
Jackie Corley’s The Suburban Swindle (The Collagist)
The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright (Word Riot)

He interviewed Chelsea Martin at The Rumpus HERE:

His story, “How to Be Happy and Free” can be found in Opium Magazine: The Mania Issue. The issue features Sean Landers, Jonathan Baumbach, Dawn Raffel, Anne Ray, Aaron Garretson, Davin Malasarn, B.R. Smith, Melinda Hill, John Madera, Catherine Sharpe, Wendy Duren,  Jamie Iredell, Ryan Boudinot, Ben Greenman, B.K. Evenson, Sean Carman, Nick Bredie, Matt Briggs, E. Loic Leuschner, Blake Butler, Matthew Simmons, Lindsay Mound, Je Banach, F.J. Bergmann, Kyle Davis, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Clark Hays, Kevin Leahy, Lisa A. Levy, Aimee Mepham, Sean Murphy, Brett Rosenblatt, Dean Young, Erin Berkowitz, Kathleen Rooney, Elisa Gabbert, CM Evans, Graham Roumieu, Jessy Randall, and Ben Towle. Plus, an interview with Jonathon Keats!

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As of November 30, Kim Chinquee is the new fiction and nonfiction editor of elimae. Writers should make their submissions in those fields to Kim beginning on November 30 at kimchinquee (at) gmail (dot) com. Her first issue as editor will be published January, 2010. She’s also guest-editing a flash fiction issue of Mississippi Review.

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Greg Gerke‘s “We Will Not Be Coming to Your Pancakes” is at Everyday Genius and “Underground Bliss” is at Writers’ Bloc (Rutgers).
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J.A. Tyler is up on Apostrophe Cast (he reads from his forthcoming novella, A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed). Then read his interview with Guy Ben Brookshire HERE.
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John Dermot Woods had a comic featured at Everyday Genius. Read it HERE.
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Ryan W. Bradley has two poems “June 2006 on the Trans Alaska Pipeline” and “Marlboro” in the new issue of Poets & Artists. Check them out HERE.