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Christopher Higgs

2013 Holiday Shopping Guide: Nonfiction Recommendations

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I did this last year and some folks seemed to dig it; plus, I enjoy the hell out of making lists and reading lists like these so I’m doing it again this year.

Even granting that these represent my own interests (film, philosophy, art, literature, etc.) and therefore omit plenty of titles I’m sure were great but fall outside my purview, with so many badass nonfiction books published this year it was nearly impossible to select only twenty titles. Tough cuts had to be made.

So my thinking behind this list was to present you with books that might not already be on your radar. Which is to say, a brilliant book such as Scott McClanahan’s Crapalachia: A Biography of Place, or Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, or Jamie Iredell’s I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac, for instance, aren’t on this list because I figure you’ve already read them or are at least aware that they are completely awesome and that you need them.

Without further blah blah, you can expect two more of these in the coming days, one for fiction and one for poetry.

If you’re like me and haven’t even begun shopping yet, hopefully this list will help you find something for someone. Oh and for those who care, my click-throughs use my Amazon Affiliate number…the pennies that come back to me when you click on the titles go toward diapers and baby soap for my four month old son.

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Random / 6 Comments
December 5th, 2013 / 10:47 am

Halloween Guest Post: SPOOKY SPOOKY by Jereme Dean

Halloween isn’t just the fat kid’s holiday or an excuse for women to dress in revealing costumes, it’s a celebration of the darkness in all of us, that which civilized society is desperate to deny.

Most importantly, it’s a reason to watch kick-ass movies.

Below is a list of films, via youtube, that most probably haven’t seen. The quality of some are moderate, but enjoyable, and adds to the charm of the film, especially those from the seventies.

I feel like most people right now watch whatever is conveniently served via Netflix, Amazon or Hulu The hunt has been lost with the near death of the video store. Something I personally dislike.

My goal isn’t just to talk about movies but also to encourage people to go outside of their cycles, to look for films worth remembering.

Happy Halloween, shitheads.

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Film / 6 Comments
October 31st, 2013 / 10:21 am

The Poet Laureate of Alt-Lit Releases His Ars Poetica


STEVE ROGGENBUCK


Massive People / 10 Comments
October 17th, 2013 / 9:38 pm

For a limited time (30 September–9 October 2013) Vdrome is hosting: Matt Wolf’s short documentary “I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard” CHECK IT OUT!!!

2013 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST (REVISED EDITION)

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You heard the 2013 National Book Award longlists came out last week, I presume.

Perhaps you noticed the dearth of small press titles, and the ubiquity of familiar names and themes?

For what it’s worth, I begrudge none of the recipients their nomination. In all sincerity, I’m sure they’re fine books. But honestly I wouldn’t know. I’ve read zero of them. Not a single book in any of the categories. And excluding the YA category, since I know little to nothing about that genre, I’m really only interested in reading six of the thirty selected. For the most part, the official selections just don’t represent the type of material I would choose to spend my limited time reading.

That said, I see no reason to denigrate the official list. I do, however, see plenty of reasons to offer a different list of praiseworthy books that deserve more attention. So, I offer this revision in the spirit of the mission statement of the N.B.A.: “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” Hopefully this might encourage others to expand the scope even farther by creating their own revised longlists.

To compose my revised longlist of National Book Award nominations I first need to deterritorialize the genre categories, because many of the works I think deserve this recognition resist easy categorization as “fiction,” “poetry,” or “nonfiction.”

Next, I will constrain myself to those books written by non-HTMLGIANT contributors, because it would probably seem too nepotistic to include them.

As well, I’ll constrain myself to books that privilege text over image, which means I’ll exclude a bunch of rad comics that could easily make my list. And I’ll exclude “scholarly” texts, despite there being a fuckload of good ones this year.

And finally, I’ll select thirteen books, because the official judges selected ten in each of the three categories and I’d rather there only be one category and I’d rather it be odd rather than even in number.

Now then, in alphabetical order of author’s last names, my selections for the 2013 National Books Award Longlist:

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Massive People / 19 Comments
September 24th, 2013 / 10:39 am

PUNGENT GRAPPLING: BARRETT WHITE INTERVIEWS SEAN KILPATRICK

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I went buck with Sean Kilpatrick for his new book Gil the Nihilist: A Sitcom, now available from Lazy Fascist Press as a Secret Summer Release. I don’t know anyone who can splurge a word like Sean, and, as expected, things went batshit crazy. Gil is a mushroom cloud of splayed out wreckage, a garbled mess of Hummers and tacos and Kmarts and smegma. It’s as close to getting a surgeon general’s warning as a book can. This text is a health hazard. It’s a beautiful rind of pitch black beef.

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Author Spotlight / 1 Comment
September 9th, 2013 / 10:38 am

“Instead of judging the poem, let’s become overtaken by it.”

Janice brought this up a few days ago, but I think it bears repeating. Johannes Göransson continues to mash blueberries and puncture orchids while juggling swords and cacti over at the Harriet blog this month with his “Corean Music” posts.

Here’s a powerful glimpse from his latest, which seems to reverberate across a similar body of water I attempted to canoe sometime ago with my “How To Be A Critic” posts:

What would it mean to wade through the plague ground as a model of reading/writing as supposed to transcending the tasteless “too-much-ness” of poetry? Well, I think for one thing, I would do away with the model of “access”—take away the idea that when we read (or listen or watch etc.) that we are agents, that we are in control and we try to “access” the passive artwork with tools we’ve learned. Instead of access, lets think about fascination: When I read poems that I love I am not in control, not in charge, not trying to access some meaning that will redeem the work (make the shit valuable). No, I’m enthralled, overwhelmed, spellbound. This is what Steve Shaviro, writing about the movies in The Cinematic Body, “fascination.” Instead of judging the poem, let’s become overtaken by it. Instead of reinforcing our position as complete agents of evaluation, let’s be compelled and possessed.
Craft Notes & I Like __ A Lot / 3 Comments
August 16th, 2013 / 9:16 am