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 #8

Lily Hoang is a new contributor to Html Giant.
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Shya Scanlon will be reading on Sunday, December 20, 2009 in Brooklyn at 440 Gallery, with two other writers Scott Geiger and Micaela Morrissette (a senior editor at Conjunctions). Here’s a link to the details.
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J.A. Tyler‘s fiction has appeared recently in these fine places: Everyday Genius, Storyglossia, Litareview, Dark Sky, and Requited. He’s interviewed at Storyglossia and Dark Sky.
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John Dermot Woods was interviewed by Adam Robinson this week over at HTML Giant.
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Check out Nicolle Elizabeth‘s essay “Madmen and Exiles”.
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Daniele Adair read as part of  a launch for “You’ve Probably Read This Before”, a new anthology of CalArts alumni writings, I read in on Sunday. More HERE.

And she performed a new piece “We Are Mired In a Kind of Stalemate” in a group show at a new art space, Dan Graham. More on the performance/event HERE.
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Stacy  Muszynski reviewed The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, by Michael Zadoorian HERE and interviewed Laura van den Berg HERE.
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Check out John Madera‘s  reviews:
Joanna Howard’s On the Winding Stair (Brooklyn Rail, December 2009)
Ken Sparling’s Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall (The Collagist, December 2009)
Michael Kimball’s Dear Everybody (Word Riot, December 2009)