Thursday, December 22, 2016

In the song, Coney Island Baby, my hero, Lou Reed, asks us to remember that different people have peculiar tastes.

End of the year best of book lists are a funny thing; in small press communities, where monetary rewards are slim, and promotion can be hard to come by, they can seem more like popularity/ personality contests then actual meritocracies. Reading a book, no matter how enjoyable, requires energy, and investment, and while I can understand the desire to hype a friend’s work, or to potentially make a connection by hyping someone's work, it isn’t much benefit to the reader who just wants to trust your recommendation, and read something good. When a person operates from this fishy place in politics, it's called cronyism. Though I doubt there is any actual promise squeezed from those being listed, another word that might be applicable comes from the music industry: payola. I’m sure it’s all borne of the desperation that comes from trying to get one’s work out there; but let’s be real: it corrupts year-end best of lists.

Believe me, I wanted to find a better picture of Lou with a book.

The following is a list (in no particular order) of the written things (a play and a zine are also included) that came out this year that I really enjoyed.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek

Problems by Jade Sharma

I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell

When Watched: Stories by Leopoldine Core

Drugs (play): by Cookie Muller and Glenn O' Brien

Bruja by Wendy C. Ortiz

SCAM: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Issue (zine) by Erick Lyle

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