Jason's Top 5 of 2011

Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down And Semi-Dirty In Seventies New York by James Wolcott.
I mentioned this one a couple posts ago but didn't tell you that it's also one of my favorites of the year. It is! Recommended if you're even remotely interested in the literary and music scenes in early-seventies New York City. Necessary, even!

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
I've been lucky enough to check out a lot of great children's books this year but this was my absolute favorite. The animals'deadpan delivery combined with the perpetrator's deserved comeuppance makes it a laugh-out-loud treat. One of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Funny in a general way, but so sad in the specific, Wilson's novel is getting much-deserved end-of-year praise. Performance art and family dysfunction...and now I hear Nicole Kidman's bought the film rights?

Streakers by Nick Maandag
Very funny story about a group of guys who take streaking very seriously. One of them isn't that good at it, a couple are OK, and one has really mastered the art. Reading about people you'd probably rather not hang out with makes for great entertainment.

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Another book receiving heaps of praise, Time Magazine called Sullivan "the best essayist of his generation" and this collection does nothing to disprove their claim. Essays on Axl Rose, the Tea Party Movement, and Christian Rock music festivals...if you've enjoyed the essays of D.F. Wallace and/or C. Klosterman, you'll find much to like in these pages.

other notables: Paying For It by Chester Brown, The Death-Ray by Dan Clowes, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, My Name Is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee & Matthew Forsythe, Just My Type by Simon Garfield, The Chairs Are Where The People Go by Misha Glouberman & Sheila Heti, That is All by John Hodgeman, The Hour of The Star by Clarice Lispector, and Woolgathering by Patti Smith.

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