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Friday, 20 December 2013

Staff Picks 2013: Jason

What a year! Tons of great books and I have to narrow it down to ten (well, I guess I don't really have to, but that's what I asked everyone else on staff  to do so I'm continuing the trend). As events director of the store I get pretty busy and this year was no exception however I can always find time to do some reading. So, here are some of my favorites:


Autobiography, by Morrissey
And people who are uglier than you and I they take what they need, and just leave...
Anyone who knows me knows I've been waiting for this for awhile and I'm happy (not a word one normally associates with anything Mozzer-related, I guess) to report that it delivers the goods! If you ever had the misfortune of being on Morrissey's bad side, you're in here and boy, do I feel sorry for you. Oh man, now I gotta go listen to all my Smiths LPs in a row and in order again.


Marble Season, by Gilbert Hernandez
Easily my favorite GN of the year. It's clear to me that 2013 was Beto's what with four incredible new books out, each completely distinct.  The semi-autobiographical MS was the best though - in my estimation- not least because it was the only one my daughter and I could pass back and forth, pointing out our favorite characters and panels to each other. "Lucio's really weird, but kinda cool in a way too". Agreed, Addie, agreed.


Julio's Day, by Gilbert Hernandez
And here's my second favorite. If my daughter thought parts of Marble Season were weird...JD was a the best trip I took all year, an amazing cast of characters (and thank goodness for that character key at the beginning) surround and affect the titular character throughout from his birth 'til his death. Decades pass between pages yet it's never too confusing to follow. Strange, sad, disturbing and beautiful, an easy top tenner for me.


Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright

Seriously, what the hell, man? One of the most enjoyable reads of the year.  Spoiler alert: celebrities are weirdos. Spoiler alert 2: I don't think we're getting anymore of these because we aren't supposed to, I guess.


There Once Lived A Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband. And He Hanged Himself: Love Stories, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (trans. Anna Summers)
Discovering Petrushevskaya was a real treat this year. As an avowed fan of short fiction I'm always on the look-out for those authors who master the form and whose stories leave me both wanting more and completely satiated at the same time. TOLAGWSHSH did just that with Petrushevskaya's seventeen affecting snapshots of sad mating rituals and tragic private lives. Upon finishing I scrambled to read her previous collection (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby, in stock, handily) as was not disappointed.


Bouvetøya: A Cultural History of an Isolated Landmass, by Freddy Dewe Mathews
Part fact, part mythology, this beautiful book provides a "history" of  an uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean.The awesome people at It's Nice That alerted me to this little treasure and I contacted its author directly to obtain some for the store.  Photos and  questionable accounts all compiled by an author who's never been there. Limited...and very recommended.


Susceptible, by Geneviève Castrée
A real heartbreaker this one. An autobiographical account of a young life and the tumult caused by broken relationships, poverty and growing up at the mercy of adults and their selfishness. Castrée's beautiful illustrations ( loved the cursive lettering) and her forthright narrative meld wonderfully and make this memoir a uniquely affecting experience. One of 2013's most underrated gems and one of D+Q's best books ever.


Woman Rebel: the Margaret Sanger Story , by Peter Bagge
I was familiar with Sanger's story, sure, but Bagge's celebration of the dynamic women's rights pioneer was an eye-opener all the same. Welcome to how comic-bios should be. A substantial and enlightening tribute to an important and often-misunderstood public figure.


White Girls, by Hilton Als

To be honest, I'm not yet finished reading this. It sits beside my reading chair (yes, I have a reading chair), I've been reading a bit every day and I've been loving every word of it.  Acclaimed for good reason, Als (theatre critic for the New Yorker), is an acute observer of "White Girls" ( a class that includes authors Truman Capote and Flannery O'Connor in its ranks) and his collection is both poignant and scathing. Necessary reading.



If you don't know It's Nice That it's time to get acquainted. Besides their amazingly well-curated website (my morning coffee read) and their superb magazine Printed Pages, these guys also put out one heckuva fantastic year-end round-up. Last year's edition sold out before we could get our hands on a copy so I was proactive in making sure we got this one - and it does not disappoint.! Featuring the best in art and design from the past year, INT 2013 is limited and one of the best book purchases you could make - if you're into nice things, that is.

Other books that came out in 2013 that I really liked: The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz, Tenth of December by George Saunders,  The Collected Stories by Stefan Zweig, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley, I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary MacLane, The Property by Rutu Modan,  Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine Ed. John Szupnar, Bas Jan Ader: Death is Everywhere by Alexander Dumbadze, Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dr. Dominic Walliman + Ben Newman, A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths by Tony Fletcher

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