The Ten Best Books I Read This Year
(in no particular order)
NOTE: These are definitely not books that came out this year, as I don't make a habit of buying the brand-spankin'-new hardcovers right off the shelf at Barnes & Noble. Whaddya think I am, made of money? Jeez.
1. Loser Goes First by Dan Kennedy -- one of the funniest books ever written.
2. Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl -- Ben Stiller made a suck-ass movie based on this book years ago. Don't ever see it. Read the book instead. It's some of the funniest, sickest, most twisted shit I've ever read, and I was barely able to put it down until I'd finished the whole thing. Not for the weak-stomached among us, but a totally fucking awesome read nonetheless.
3. The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff -- Having done time in a synagogue, I especially appreciated this novel about a Jewish boy growing up in the early '80s, forced to attend Hebrew school with his juvenile deliquent brother. My favorite part (and I'm not giving too much away, don't worry) was his brother getting expelled from schul for doing a particularly life-like drawing of the rabbi engaged in a "consensual three-way" (as he puts it) with a lobster and a pig. That totally rocked.
4. The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington -- I really loved this book. It's much more low-key than the ones mentioned above, but very still very engrossing and well-written. A very sweet love story that isn't the usual predictable crap, with characters that are complex and real.
5. Paperback Original by Will Rhode -- this was a wild read, a bit hard to get into in the beginning and somewhat preposterous towards the end, but otherwise very entertaining. And check out the author's picture. He's hot! (yes, I'm shallow).
6. Elysian Days and Nights by M.S. Valentine -- yes, this is pure smut. But it's pretty damn good, as smut goes. And no, you can't borrow it.
7. Getting Over Tom by Abigail Thomas -- a collection of short stories that don't really having a unifying theme, other than women falling in love and getting fucked over in varying degrees. But it's pretty true to life, and I liked the one about the 50ish woman who bones the young hot guy.
8. Hatchet Jobs by Dale Peck -- a collection of essays consisting of critic Peck ripping apart the works of various esteemed authors. It was fun to read, even the ones concerning writers I hadn't heard of. My favorite was where he ripped Terry McMillan a new one-- that woman cannnot write to save her ass. And, as much as I liked Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye Columbus, it's nice to see someone call Philip Roth on the carpet for being such a flaming misogynist, (not to mention an irrelevant one).
9. Long Way Down by Nick Hornby -- the reviews for this book (his latest) have not been kind, but I think the critics are full of shit. I found it extremely well-written, hilarious and oddly touching...in other words, typical Hornby.
10. The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro -- this woman rocks! She's written a series of books (I've now read them all) but this one is by far her best and funniest. Drop whatever you're doing immediately and go pick up a copy. Go on. Go. Now, dammit, now!
ETA: In the "Holy shit, I can't believe I forgot about these" category: Smashed--Memoir of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas (another one of those impossible-to-put-down books); Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch by Hollis Gillespie (she's awesome!); and Shanda: The Making and Breaking of a Self-Loathing Jew by Neal Karlen (nice "losing my religion"-type memoir).
Next time--the worst books I read this year (yes, there are a few).