“I can’t pretend to keep up with new books—I don’t even try—but this year a few leapt off my desk and refused to be put down. Gabrielle Bell’s graphic memoir The Voyeurs got me through a sad rainy Thursday evening as if I’d just made a friend. Karl Ove Knausgaard is the Proust of the Walkman generation; the first volume of his magnum opus, My Struggle, kept me up late for a week and remains the best novel I read all year. Maureen McLane’s My Poets was the continuing ed. class I needed in poetry but never expected to love. Everything I know about gospel music I’ve learned from Anthony Heilbut’s compilations and writings; thanks to his crazy compendium The Fan Who Knew Too Much, he has now, also, taught me everything I know about radio soap operas, Aretha Franklin, and homosexuality in the black church. All by itself, David Foster Wallace’s essay on David Markson makes Both Flesh and Not the best book ever written on David Foster Wallace (plus, it’s written by David Foster Wallace), and Masha Gessen’s The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin is the darkest, bravest, and wittiest biography I read this year. Finally there was John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. I knew all the essays already, but reading them all in one place was so much fun I’ve done it a few more times since then.” —Our editor Lorin Stein, from Yahoo News’ “Holiday Gift Guide: What do you give a book lover?”Image Credit Marion Williams and Anthony Heilbut, 1992. (David Gahr, courtesy Anthony Heilbut)

“I can’t pretend to keep up with new books—I don’t even try—but this year a few leapt off my desk and refused to be put down. Gabrielle Bell’s graphic memoir The Voyeurs got me through a sad rainy Thursday evening as if I’d just made a friend. Karl Ove Knausgaard is the Proust of the Walkman generation; the first volume of his magnum opus, My Struggle, kept me up late for a week and remains the best novel I read all year. Maureen McLane’s My Poets was the continuing ed. class I needed in poetry but never expected to love. Everything I know about gospel music I’ve learned from Anthony Heilbut’s compilations and writings; thanks to his crazy compendium The Fan Who Knew Too Much, he has now, also, taught me everything I know about radio soap operas, Aretha Franklin, and homosexuality in the black church. All by itself, David Foster Wallace’s essay on David Markson makes Both Flesh and Not the best book ever written on David Foster Wallace (plus, it’s written by David Foster Wallace), and Masha Gessen’s The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin is the darkest, bravest, and wittiest biography I read this year. Finally there was John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. I knew all the essays already, but reading them all in one place was so much fun I’ve done it a few more times since then.” —Our editor Lorin Stein, from Yahoo News’ “Holiday Gift Guide: What do you give a book lover?
Image Credit Marion Williams and Anthony Heilbut, 1992. (David Gahr, courtesy Anthony Heilbut)

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    So many books to read.
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