American Romances by Rebecca Brown; City Lights
Bad Peny Blues by Cathi Unsworth; Serpent’s Tail
The Book of Jokes by Momus; Dalkey Archive
Born Yesterday: the News as a Novel by Gordon Burn; Faber and Faber
The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee; Semiotext(e)
The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper; Seal Books
The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman; Arsenal Pulp Press
Metrostop Paris: History From the City’s Heart by Gregor Dallas; John Murray
The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson edited by Mark Fisher; Zero Books
Waiting for the Sun: a Rock & Roll History of Los Angeles by Barney Hoskyns; Backbeat Books
8 x 8 x 7 by Colin Smith; Krupskaya. On of the poets of the Kootenay School of Writing.
Short Life Housing by Chris Cheek; The Gig.
St. Petersburg by Andre Bely; Pushkin Press. A new translation.
Institutional Critique, an Anthology of Artist’s Writings, various; MIT.
The Tanners by Robert Walser; New Directions.
Interogative Mood by Padgett Powell; Farrar, Straus & Girioux. This book won me over from complete irritation to total enjoyment by page eight.
The Mandarin by Aaron Kunin; Fence Books. Maddeningly self indulgent and brilliant.
Western Marxism and the Soviet Union by Marcel van der Linden; Haymarket Books.
The Most Evil by Steve Hodel; Dutton.
Zero Books: Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko but Don’t Get Stockhausen, Militant Modernism, Capitalist Realism, One Dimensional Woman, The Resistible Life of Michael Jackson. I know this is a whole imprint, but these books are all great. A contingent younger cultural theorists (mostly of a Marxist post-structuralist type) taking over the New Age imprint Zero. (Zero Books).
Honorable mentions: 8 x 10 by Michael Turner, Rose Alley by Jeremy M. Davies, The Political Mind by George Lakoff, Take It Joshua Beckman, Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, Born Yesterday, the News as Novel by Gordon Burns, The Story of Crass, and new in paperback Today I Wrote Nothing by Daniil Kharms, and from late 2008, Michel Bernstein’s All the Kings Horses.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers; McSweeney’s
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of An American Original by Robin D.G. Kelley; Free Press
Rose Alley by Jeremy M. Davies; Counterpath Press
Buying Cigarettes for the Dog by Stuart Ross; Freehand Books
Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz; House of Anansi
Febuary by Lisa Moore; House of Anansi
The Importance of Being Iceland by Eileen Myles; Semiotext(e)
griddle talk: a yeer uv bill n carol dewing brunch by Carol Malyon and bill bissett; talonbooks
The Taste of Penny by Jeff Parker; Snare Books
Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life by Brian Brett; Greystone
Do Not Touch by Eric Laurrent; Dalkey Archive
When I was in my twenties I carried around like a talisman an old Art News Annual which dealt with the notion of the avante-garde. It was also a conversation starter in that people would ask what Nancy the cartoon character was doing popping in and out of masterpieces of modern art on the book’s cover. The creator of those irreverent but somehow serious collages was Joe Brainard, the author of I Remember which inspired Georges Perec to write Je me souviens. Those Art News Annual collages plus many even more playful have been collected lovingly by siglio press. This book includes Brainard’s collabourations on the Nancy theme with poets Ted Berrigan, Bill Berkson, Robert Creeley, Frank O’Hara and Ron Padgett as well as essays by Ann Lauterbach and Ron Padgett. Some of these images are horrifying, but horrifyingly funny. Siglio, $43.50
Everyone I know who has read this book has a different interpretation of its conundrums, but none of those readers ever expressed confusion on their part as they read this lovely book. That’s because it has been so beautifully conceived and carefully crafted. It’s both smart and hearty. There are moments which may move the reader to laughter and other scenes which are incredibly poignant. W.W. Norton, $13.95
Warhol’s Dream creates a fictional dialogue between Andy Warhol and Robert Smithson. Anton samples directly from Warhol’s and Smithson’s writings and interviews. The result is engaging, and both believable and surreal at the same time. JRP Ringier, $25.00
Bracewell’s book examines the convergence of rock’n’roll, pop art, fashion and the art-college culture of England in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Re-make/Re-model presents a fascinating look into the young lives of Bryan Ferry, Eno and the formation of Roxy Music.
Da Capo Press, $21.50