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 Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing
Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair by Sarah Schulman
I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek
America Heiress: The Wild Saga of The Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin
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
A Series of Pained Facial Expressions Made While Shredding Air Guitar by Brian Alan Ellis
SCAM: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Issue (zine) by Erick Lyle