Being by nature really quite modest, I’m hesitant to spotlight The Best Blog Post of 2010. True, it’s mine, but a virtuous performance cares not one jot who the performer is. The rendition is what really matters. I don’t even have to cite Foucault to bask in the glow of this certainty. The glory of The Best Blog Post of 2010 is that it breathes life into an exhausted form, you know, the obligatory year in summary reading list. Everyone has one. James Wood’s got one and Coetzee does too. Ends up, however, that innovating on a form even as piddling as a blog post takes time. Which is why I happily follow in the steps of Wood, Coetzee and others, here, here, here, here and here. Theirs are very good lists by the way. Much better than mine so please pay them a visit.
As for my favorite reads of 2011, here they are:
Farmer by Jim Harrison, a slim novel filled with beautiful descriptions of rural life. A cowhide rug is to Farmer what liver is to Portnoy’s Complaint. Except only a wee bit different.
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates explores inauthenticity without employing this jargonistic term. Thankfully.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. As I said in a comment to Karyn on her very fine blog, Whitman’s poetry is so grand I don’t care if it’s verse and not prose fiction. It can even be termed statistics for all I care.
Herzog by Saul Bellow solves the problem of existence. This can’t be shown. Only felt.
The Dog of the South by Charles Portis is an American odyssey rife with humor. Portis’ storytelling voice is his great, abiding gift to anyone who cares to read him.
Embers by Sándor Márai is simply exquisite. Five, 10, 15 years from now, I will remember 2011 as the year I read Embers. Just fantastic.
Although I haven’t mentioned non-fiction on Interpolations before, Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is a very fine book. He argues that a low-fat, high-carb diet is unhealthy because it leads to insulin resistance, obesity and the diseases of civilization. For brief articles by Taubes, I direct you here and there.
Have a great holiday season!