Thus concludes my winter term reading list and my last reading list ever for Bennington; I'm graduating in January. Usually I go through the list and comment on how I liked (or didn't like) each book, but that always results in angry emails from insulted authors and my being kicked out of anthologies. And while that's fun and all, I listened to five different versions of "Silver Bells" today on the Sirius Christmas channel which is normally the love channel, and I am feeling like a silver bell myself! Shiny! (The sweat from my five mile run at the gym tonight.) Ringing! (The family that lives below me has been screaming to one another, "Fuck you! I hate you! Get out of my fucking life!" for the past four days, and their voices ring nonstop in my head.) Silvery! (I bought the Nars "Copacabana" glimmer stick which I've been putting atop my cheekbones because my chosen winter aesthetic is "living snowflake slash machine.") So I decided to comment on why I picked the books up in the first place instead.
1. King Dork - Frank Portman
I read this because I read about how the narrator keeps changing the name of his semi-nonexistent rock band to different impressive things, and I wanted to be impressed.
2. Jenny and the Jaws of Life: Short Stories - Jincy Willett
I read this because I read Willett's novel Winner of the National Book Award and thought it superb, and then I read her short story, "The Best of Betty" and thought it was probably the best short story I'd ever read. It's in this collection.
3. Gabe’s Novella - My friend, Gabe
I read this because Gabe is a Bennington student whose talent I believe in, and whenever I believe in talent, I believe in it religiously. And let me just take this moment to say that Tyra is totally fucking crazy for having kicked the twins off of Top Model, especially Michelle, because she actually had a supermodel candidate on her hands for the first time in the history of the show, and now she's just going to end up with, as Ms. J correctly put it last night, a car model.
4. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories - Aimee Bender
I read this because I liked her most recent collection, Willful Creatures, so, so much.
5. The Informers - Bret Easton Ellis
I read this because obviously I'm into Easton Ellis's sensibility, and also because I wanted to see if he could get away with a collection of short stories (even though the cover bills this as a novel, it's not) about isolated characters who always seem to share an overriding consciousness.
6. Stranger Things Happen - Kelly Link
I read this because I can't figure out how Kelly does what she does; there's something phenomenal going on in between sentences, and I read everything she puts out, trying to get to the bottom of it.
7. The Brief History of the Dead: A Novel - Kevin Brockmeier
I read this because I had cut out the review in Entertainment Weekly and pasted it into this folder I keep that's filled both with things I want for my birthday/Hanukah/Christmas and things I might want to buy for other people come their birthdays/Hanukah/Christmas.
8. Be More Chill: A Novel - Ned Vizzini
I read this because after Panda came out, I kept reading about this book and its young-adult awesomeness, and I was totally jealous.
9. Necklace Of Kisses - Francesca Lia Block
I read this because the Baby I watch goes to a co-op preschool with Block's son, and the Baby's mom lent the book to me.
10. The Magus - John Fowles
I read this because I assigned it to my novel writing class at UCLA Extension, and I had to bone up on the book before the class started.
11. Falling Boy - Allison McGhee (galley)
I read this because my agent sent it to me because he's McGhee's agent, too.
12. Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
I read this because Pessl got in the "Lance Bass- I'm Gay!" issue of People that I wanted to be in, and I got bumped to the fall People: Stylewatch. And because everyone in the world was talking about it.
13. The Myth of You & Me - Leah Stewart
I read this because I bought it for my mom to read in the hospital when she had her cancer surgery, and then she gave it back to me to read.
14. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
I read this because it was the last book in the Easton Ellis canon that I hadn't gotten around to. I saw the movie when it came out and needed to forget some plot first so I could be surprised again.
15. Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
I read this because, you know, suicide.
16. Breakable You - Brian Morton
I read this because he's another one of my editor's (Ann Patty) authors, and I wanted to see if I could figure out what makes her choose her people.
17. Best New American Voices 2007 - Ed. Sue Miller
I read this because whenever someone declares something "the best" then I need to see if I think it's "the best," too.
18. Bad Behavior - Mary Gaitskill
I reread this because last time I read it Survivor was in its very first season, and I was reading the book while simultaneously watching Richard Hatch work that whole island over.
19. Why Moms Are Weird - Pamela Ribon
I read this because of a renewed interest in Ribon after meeting her.
20. Lost And Found - Carolyn Parkhurst
I read this because, you know, television.
21. Best New American Voices 2006 - Ed. Jane Smiley
I read this because I was dumbfounded by the "bests" in the 2007 edition and wanted to see if that was just a jacked up year or if my taste is just off from the "best" tastemakers.
22. A Star Is Found - Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins
I read this because no matter what, I always have time for celebrity gossip.
23. The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I read this because Hannah was like, "So good!" and sent it to me.
24. The Silent Twins - Marjorie Wallace
I read this because I went into a television producer's office to pitch some series ideas, and we started talking about how we both love freaky twins. And she said, "Oh my god, these are the definitive freaky twins."
25. The Moth Diaries - Rachel Klein
I read this because the same television producer wanted to see what I thought of it.
26. I Like You - Amy Sedaris
I read this because Amy Sedaris is either number two or number three on my favorite celebrity list, and because I've been having this longing to do lots of baking ever since I moved into a place without a kitchen.
27. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
I read this because Hannah sent the galley to me and said that people at Harcourt are majorly excited about it, and so I ran into that "best" issue again.
28. PopCo - Scarlett Thomas
I read this because I found The End of Mr. Y intriguing.
29. Karoo Boy - Troy Blacklaws
I read this because the book had been sitting on my shelf for awhile, and it seemed time to take it down. Also, it was blurbed by Chris Martin-- Coldplay, Chris Martin-- and I thought that was weird.
30. Prime Times: Writers On Their Favorite TV Shows - Ed. Douglas Bauer
I read this because, you know, television.
31. The Runaways (Vol. 1: Issues 1-18) - By Brian K. Vaughan (Marvel)
I read this because Geoff gave it to me for my birthday after I'd been talking about wanting to read it for something like a year.
32. Home Remedies (stories) - Angela Pneuman (galley)
I can't say why I read this. I mean, not that I don't know why I read it, because I do, but that I can't give the reason here.