Our bests

December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays book club friends!

Soooo…end-of-the-year/ end-of-the-decade “best of” lists are everywhere. I’m feeling inspired. I think we should weigh in with our important “best of” opinions too. But, rather than selection by voting or some method democratic and tedious, or editorial dictatorship (by me), I am thinking free-for-all, post-what-you like anarchy would work best for us. Please, pretty please, consider considering the following question in a book-club blog post (or two):

What writings are your “best of” 2009 and (or) the aughts?

You may interpret that as broadly or narrowly as you like. For example. Your post could be titled: “Best nature writing of 2000-2009”, “Best gothic steampunk air-balloon romance of 2009”, “Best (10) books evar“, “Most delicious culinary literature of 200x”, “Most alluring cover art of the year”, or “Only novel I had time to read in 2009, fucking school”. Top 10 vampire novels? (I’m looking at you, verdejez). Short stories, graphic novels, non-fiction, and magazine articles are all eligible. My only stipulation is that the number of items on your list be between 1 and 10. If you need help starting a new post, lemme know (special to Mel: we need to invest you with blog authorship powers). Your post need not be as long and wordy as mine; don’t be intimidated by my shining brilliance. OK?

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Cheers! I love you.



An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New EnglandWelcome to October, Book Clubbers. The book of the month is Brock Clarke’s An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, a book so book-clubby it has its own book club guide tucked into the back pages. It is also orange and fiery, which seems appropriate to the season.

The narrator, Sam, made himself infamous at 18 when he burned down the Emily Dickinson House, by accident he says, with two people in it. Ten years in prison were not enough to appease the poetry lovers of Amherst, (although amongst the scholarly diatribes are a number of requests from New Englanders for Sam to burn down their own historic writer’s houses) and the hate is heavy. His humiliated, literary parents wish he would go away and not come back. So Sam goes to college, where he studies packaging science and meets a nice girl, and somehow fails to inform her of the felony thing and the deaths and the prison term (apparently she is not a curious person). They marry and have a child, and Sam hides from his sordid past in a ticky-tacky suburb called Camelot. But his bland, prepackaged existence rips when the son of his victims makes a visit. And someone else is burning writers’ homes in New England.

So I’ll see you all back here on Halloween. By commenting below, you agree to read! In the meantime, someone appoint yourself as Dictator for the month of November.