December 9th, 2010 / 1:51 pm
Snippets

I think if I had to say one book I read this year that killed me the hardest, it would be Pierre Guyotat’s Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers [1967]. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. What were your favorite reads of 2010, published in 2010 or otherwise?

67 Comments

  1. goner

      The Forever War by Dexter Filkins. Easily the best book I read all year. When we look back and try to figure out the seminal book written about the Iraq war from the American side, I think this might be it. Dexter is a true writer, a true journalist, who puts himself in the way of some really scary, crazy shit to get his story. Forget journalism, it’s nice to read stuff written by people who actually leave their computer and mix with the world and then report back.

  2. Kevin Lincoln

      About a Mountain by John D’Agata, which Blake did great service to earlier this year; and Blood Horses by John Jeremiah Sullivan, just a tremendous combination of memoir, sportswriting and cultural history/ethnography. As for fiction, Gass’ The Tunnel dominated a month of my life and redefined my understanding of literature, sort of like how an axe redefines a piece of firewood.

  3. Shane Jones

      Gravitys Rainbow and Blood Meridian were two books that I loved and thought about a lot this past year.

  4. Victor Schultz

      A Time for Everything by Karl O Knausgaard was great and strange.

  5. Tim

      Probably John Jodzio’s collection.

  6. Mike Young

      Tom Drury, Charles Portis, James Robison’s The Illustrator and Mark Anthony Jarmon’s Nineteen Knives.

  7. Brad Johnson

      I’ll add another vote for Gass’ The Tunnel. Greatest thing I’ve read in five years even.

  8. Ryan Call

      the changeling by joy williams

  9. ZZZZZIPPP

      ZZZZIPPP READ HANNAH FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR SO IT HAS TO BE THAT

  10. Ogawa

      Mason & Dixon pretty much ruined me for anything else this year. Incredible book.

  11. Madison Langston

      best: 7 Controlled Vocabularies by Tan Lin, Everything Is Quiet by Kendra Grant Malone
      can’t stop thinking about: Tsim Tsum by Sabrina Orah Mark, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, Nox by Anne Carson

  12. jereme_dean

      MOTORMAN at the beginning of the year.

      DYING (belletto) at the end of the year.

  13. jh

      in watermelon sugar-braut
      epitaph for a small winner-de assis
      ravel, double jeopardy, i’m gone–echnoz

  14. Andrew Ervin

      The Book of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck.

  15. aaronb

      The Instructions

  16. Eric Anderson

      I’m looking forward to reading Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers over the winter break. I read Eden Eden Eden last summer and felt gutted for a few days. I also finally read Hamsun’s Hunger and Blanchot’s Death Sentence. Both worth getting lost in.

  17. M Kitchell

      i’mma do a whole friggin post on this shit ‘cos i read like 300 books this year and a lot of them were AWESOME

  18. Landon Manucci

      Also, the year I fell in love with Don DeLillo. I read White Noise, The Names, and Great Jones Street. And yet there’s still so much more. I think Libra is on deck.

  19. William Owen

      Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
      Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee
      English Fragments by Martin Corless-Smith

  20. Tim

      Brilliant! Which parts?

  21. letters journal

      Yeah, Motorman is up there for me too.

  22. Postman

      I’m going to limit this to fiction:

      Tree of Smoke by Cormac McCarthy
      Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz
      Just Kids by Patti Smith
      Amulet by Roberto Bolano
      The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
      Dean’s December by Saul Bellow
      Berg, as well as Three, by Ann Quin
      The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary
      Black Spring by Henry Miller
      Long Lost Happy by Barry Hannah
      Omensetter’s Luck by William Gass
      Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
      Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion
      Stories and Texts for Nothing by Beckett
      Prose of Thomas Bernhard
      Silk by Alessandro Baricco
      The Madness of the Day by Maurice Blanchot

  23. Nate

      Wave Books knocked it out of the park this year with ALL their books. Michael Earl Craig’s Thin Kimono and Mary Ruefle’s Selected Poems were particularly tasty.

  24. Postman

      *Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, though it will be a matter of time before McCarthy writes a beast with the same name, a beast that will end us all.

  25. ZZZZZIPPP

      AIRSHIPS AND CAPTAIN MAXIMUS SO FAR

  26. ZZZZZIPPP

      AT-SWIM-TWO-BIRDS AND PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN WERE ALSO TWO THAT KEPT ZZZZIPPP GOING BACK

  27. jereme_dean

      zzzzippp, i still have that book to send you. Same address?

  28. RGV

      The Other City by Michal Ajvaz
      The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz
      Case Closed by Patrik Ourednik
      Europeana by Patrik Ourednik
      Severin’s Journey into the Dark by Paul Leppin
      Blaugast by Paul Leppin
      The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano
      Amulet by Roberto Bolano
      Of Kids and Parents by Emil Hakl
      Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

  29. ZZZZZIPPP

      YES BUT IT IS FINE JEREME ZZZZIPP JUST BOUGHT “RAY”. YOUR RECOMMENDATION WAS ENOUGH. THAT BOOK SHOULD GO TO SOMEONE ELSE.

  30. jereme_dean

      My apologies. I’m really bad at “time” and organizational efforts.

      Let me know what you think of it?

  31. Adam

      I’m going to say Matterhorn for its look at war up close, the politics of it, the pure fuckery of bravery. For pure humor, it’d be pretty hard to beat The Ask. As for an oldie I discovered this year, I’d have to say that Young Hearts Crying gave me a whole new perspective on marriage and family. And not a good one.

  32. Miguel

      The Age of Sinatra by David Ohle, Jane Unrue’s Atlassed, Kamby Bolongo Mean River by Robert Lopez, The Wavering Knife by Brian Evenson, In the Year of Long Division by Dawn Raffel, Michael Kimball’s Dear Everybody, and As A Friend by Forrest Gander. All slayed me this year.

      I know you didn’t say stories, but Conjunctions:52 had two unbelievable ones among unbelievables: Shelley Jackson’s “Flat Daddy” and Stephen Wright’s “Brain Jelly.” Also, Amber Spark’s “These Are Broken, Funny Days” from the most recent NYTyrant and Deb Olin Unferth’s “There Could be As Many As Nine” and Tao Lin’s “Corey Dan Ormand and Chiquita Jenning” from NOON (2009).

      Good year y’all.

  33. Tony O'Neill

      fuck me i read a lot of books i liked this year, but i just got done with a book i’ve been meaning to read for years – leaving las vegas by john o’brien – and it totally fucked me spiritually and mentally. also 86’d by dan fante really killed me this year. shit, i cant remember so good…. the books are all bleeding into one, and i cant remember when i read them so by virtue of being the last truly capital G great book i read in 2010, i guess leaving las vegas wins by default.

      (when ive sobered up tomorrow im gonna remember a whole bunch of books i read this year and kick myself in the ass)

  34. ZZZZZIPPP

      DON’T WORRY JEREME ZZZZIPP HAS NO CONCEPTION OF TIME

      AND IS THE SAME WAY

      WILL PASS ON OPINION WHEN FINISHED

  35. Guest

      I know I’m pretty late to the party, but ‘The Stones of Summer’ is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

      I started working my way through Vollmann’s everything this year.

  36. Landon Manucci

      Grapes of Wrath

  37. Landon Manucci

      Also, the year I fell in love with Don DeLillo. I read White Noise, The Names, and Great Jones Street. And yet there’s still so much more. I think Libra is on deck.

  38. Sean

      I just read two McCarthy, Suttree and Child of God.

      Suttree was a fucking masterpiece.

      Child of God a trick.

      odd

  39. Ani Smith

      big year for mccarthy i guess, outer dark killed me.

  40. damon

      What no Witz?

  41. Trey

      is that a positive or negative reaction to Child of God? I once had it recommended to me but haven’t gotten to it yet

  42. Guest

      And, The Complete Fiction of W.M. Spackman is VERY good.

  43. Cassandra Troyan

      Yes, Blake, yes! This is such an underrated book. Have you read Eden Eden Eden?

  44. Sean

      If you want to read Child of God because it’s the Cormac you need to fill the set, go ahead.

      But for him, weak.

      I usually submerge myself in his novels. I read Child of God in maybe 1.5-2 hours. There wasn’t much to pause on, except the Blacksmith scene, the making of an ax.

      I mean it’s fine, his themes are there, etc., but done so much better in his other works.

      Suttree is a boat-ride during a flood, only you have no boat–you are pushed downstream on your wet, happy ass.

      read it

  45. Matthew Simmons

      The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich and The Ask by Sam Lipsyte.

  46. Johndavidharding

      Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School

  47. keedee

      In the midzt of Witz right now. It hasn’t killed me. It’s fun and layered and humbling, but I think I expected more from it. I’m still expecting more, because I still have half to go.

  48. MM

      Woolf’s “Waves”

  49. Tim

      Gotta check out Bats Out of Hell next, it’s kicking my ass. I actually felt the other day like reading it leveled me up as a writer and reader.

  50. Blake Butler

      i just ordered it a few days ago. i can’t wait to be creamed again.

  51. Cassandra Troyan

      You will not be disappointed, though I would say Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers annihilates more, mostly due just to the breadth of the novel. It definitely induces a different kind of intensity.

  52. William Owen

      The ones before were new books, but two other’s what rocked me were Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison and The Voice Imitator by Thomas Bernhard.

  53. David

      Worse Than Myself by Adam Golaski

  54. Kevin Sampsell

      My big discovery this year was Leonard Michaels. The Men’s Club was particularly outstanding.

  55. Kevin Sampsell

      Scott McClanahan too. My favorite new novel may have been The Ask.

  56. rk

      Ohle’s Age of Sinatra or Kimball’s Dear Everybody.

  57. ZZZZZIPPP

      SURE THING TIM

      CAN’T WAIT TO LEVEL UP

  58. Budnewman

      to those that have read both Eden and Tomb, how is the latter in terms of density. i can’t deny that Eden left an impact on my psyche but the suffocation got a bit white noise boring after a while, which made it sort of an obligation to finish. glad i did of course….

      what i’m asking is, does Tomb have more space?

  59. Budnewman

      fav book of the year was Despair by Nabokov #fyi

  60. Jesse Hudson

      I discovered Derrida this year after ages of being under the impression that he was impenetrable. Fortunately, I was proven wrong. And his “Of Grammatology” would be the book that blew my mind the most this year.

  61. Anonymous

      Of the authors that I’ve read and then had to read everything else by them because I was so amazed, it’d be George Saunders, DFW, and Bolano. I’m reading Barthelme now, and I think it will be the same way. Oh, and Thom Jones. I also read Lydia Peelle’s RFAAOB, and it’s definitely the best new collection I’ve read this year. I feel lame though because all you people are so diverse in your readings. My wishlist just from my few months reading here at HTMLG has increased ten-fold.

  62. Anonymous

      Of the authors that I’ve read and then had to read everything else by them because I was so amazed, it’d be George Saunders, DFW, and Bolano. I’m reading Barthelme now, and I think it will be the same way. Oh, and Thom Jones. I also read Lydia Peelle’s RFAAOB, and it’s definitely the best new collection I’ve read this year. I feel lame though because all you people are so diverse in your readings. My wishlist just from my few months reading here at HTMLG has increased ten-fold.

  63. Guest

      In later summer 2010, I read The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro… a perfect book, really. Not a false note anywhere. Complete and whole and rich and unexpectedly moving. More than any other, it stays with me. Lots of great books in the comments here…

  64. Ty

      Duncan the Wonder Dog was my favorite book that came out this year, and Grace Paley’s Collected Stories was my favorite that didn’t.

  65. Tina Suarez

      wow Bud, i am totally in the same boat as you. alternately enjoyed and was bored by Eden, would like to get into Tomb but interested in what others think of it first………….?

  66. John Holten

      I’m really glad this is out in the US. One of the more interesting books I read last year in the British edition. His follow up, the 5 volume Min Kamp is redefining what the novel can do and has overtaken the literary world in Norway and Sweden.

  67. Adrian M

      Distemper by james nulick. Disturbing in every sense.