Posted by Jason Diamond
Note: This list doesn’t reflect the view of anybody else involved with Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and yes, I do realize it’s a mix of fiction and non. Sorry.
1. The Possessed by Elif Batuman
I don’t believe that anybody on this planet is either the smartest or funniest person alive. But if I am in fact wrong, I believe Ms. Batuman could easily hold down both titles. In the least cheesiest way I can possibly say this: The Possessed was nearly impossible to put down, and upon finishing it I cried out, “good god, this world is filled with crazy people!”
2. The Instructions by Adam Levin
I never thought I’d hear myself saying that I really “connected” with a book well over 1,000 pages that was about a 10-year-old Jewish kid named Gurion Maccabee, starting a revolution in four days, but Mr. Levin proved me very wrong. If you missed it in 2010, please take a part of 2011 to read The Instructions. It may change your life.
3. Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever by Justin Taylor
I forgot where I said it, but somewhere I made the proclamation that Justin Taylor will end up being one of the greatest writers of my generation. I stand by that, and I am still amazed that somebody could bust out of the gate with a short story collection that was as enjoyable as Mr. Taylor’s debut.
4. Girls to the Front: The True Story of Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus
The most important book about a music scene to come out in years isn’t just about a music scene, it’s literally about a revolution, and Sara Marcus was the perfect person to deliver it’s story.
5. The Melting Season by Jami Attenberg
You know that scene in Risky Business where Tom Cruise says that sometimes you just need to say “what the fuck?” The Melting Season is the novel that backed that claim up. That and the fact that Jami Attenberg is a writer that deserves your constant attention so she can leave you in awe, page after page.
I was going to write a letter to Shane Jones, thanking him for having such an incredible imagination, but I figured this would suffice.
7. Everything is Going to be Great by Rachel Shukert
I hate to say that Rachel Shukert is a humor writer, because she really is much more than that. Everything is Going to be Great proves that she’s sort of like the new Fran Lebowitz, except much drunker, and way funnier.
8. The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
Ms. Eisenberg is a treasure. She is one of the greatest living short story writers in the world, and in 2010, somebody decided to put all of her stories in one book.
9. A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell
Mr. Sampsell spared no detail from his formative years — and we’re all the better for that.
10. Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat
I had no clue what to expect after reading his novella, 03 (which I really liked…I think), but holy crap was this light years better than that. This wins the award for “Best Book to Read While Drinking Red Wine and Listening to Beirut.”
Also very awesome: When the Come for Us We’ll be Gone by Gal Beckerman, The Ask by Sam Lipsyte, Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom, Citrus County by John Brandon,Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore, Saul Bellow: Letters, What He’s Poised to Do by Ben Greenman, Skippy Dies: A Novel by Paul Murray, Witz by Joshua Cohen, The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer, Long, Lost, Happy by Barry Hannah