A Year of Favorites: Duncan B. Barlow


Year end lists are always problematic for me. Sometimes the things that have the most impact on me, things that are new to me, can be a year or a century old. So, I find myself, pulling things off of my shelves and checking publication dates, cursing that they hadn’t been published within the year. I’ve attempted to force myself into the box of a year. Here is a brief list since I am presented continually with things that inspire me.

A very short list, in no particular order:

Gregory Howard Hospice – When I finally got a copy of this book in the mail, I couldn’t put it down. I found myself reading it while sitting in the park, standing in the line at the post office, waiting for food at a restaurant. I simply didn’t want the story to end. We’re lucky to have a Gregory Howard in the world.

Sarah Gerard Binary Star – I was already a fan of Two Dollar Radio, so I bought Sarah’s book when I had the opportunity. The parts I love most are the bits that stray from the direct narrative line. The luminescent bits of science and self-annihilation.

Valeria Luiselli The Story of my Teeth – A book of stories, like a mouth full of teeth, Luiselli’s book is a testament to the value of the storytelling.

Sean H. Doyle This Must be the Place – A refreshingly tender book told in snapshots. The blunt edge of realism mixed with modern self-reflection. It was a quick read that I made a few times over.

Selah Saterstom Slab – I’d heard bits of this book over the years and it was good to get to read it finally. Selah’s work always roots me in the south and has me looking to the stars. A combination of “low” culture and literary brilliance, her books never disappoint.

Rain Taxi – A little book of love I get in the mail. It’s nice to have a thing like Rain Taxi in this world.

Music: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Meat Wave, Michael Rault, Crocodiles, and Fat White Family.

Places: Budapest, Sofia, Warsaw, Cluj-Napoca, and Krakow: I had never been to these cities before and the generosity of the friends I met there and the gorgeous architecture I saw while on tour were an inspiration to me.

As for the books not on this list, it’s only for the sake of time and not the lack of love. Here’s to another great year of book publishing!

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