Monthly Archives: December 2013

My BIG End of the Year Classic and my Best of 2013 lists.

My BIG End of the Year Classic and my Best of 2013 lists.

At the end/beginning of each year I read one BIG classic novel that I’ve overlooked in my long reading life. It’s a tradition dating back centuries and it is received at our house with the greatest of anticipation, something like waiting to hear who’s been chosen Pope. The idea is to slow myself down amid the ruckus of the holiday season and take the time to immerse myself in something long and time-honored. And, of course, to fill some of those yawning gaps in my reading.

This year I have chosen Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End. At 906 pages in the beautiful Everyman’s Library copy I own, it certainly fits the bill of being BIG. And considering how much I loved Ford’s The Good Soldier I am looking forward to diving into the deep end of this one.

It’s also time for my Best of 2013 Lists which I humbly submit here:

Here, in no particular order, are my Best Books of 2013 (published in or near the year):

Robert Littell’s Young Philby

The John Lennon Letters

Cary Holladay’s Horse People

James Salter’s All That Is

Sylvie Simmon’s I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen

Robert Boswell’s Tumbledown

Frank Bidart’s Metaphysical Dog

Kurt Vonnegut’s Letters

Nicholson Baker’s Traveling Sprinkler

Herman Koch’s The Dinner

Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge.

Corey Mesler’s Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite (so sue me)

And now, the best books I read in 2013, regardless of when they were published:

Don Quixote

Edward St Aubyn’s “Patrick Melrose Novels”

James Salter’s All That Is

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

Frank Bidart’s Metaphysical Dog

Adolfo Bioy Casares’ The Invention of More

Dante’s Divine Comedy (Robin Kirkpatrick, trans.)

John Berryman’s Henry’s Fate

Anthony Powell’s Books Do Furnish a Room

Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet

Sharon Olds’ Satan Says

Vonnegut’s Letters

Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary

Charles McCarry’s The Better Angels

W. S. Merwin’s Finding the Islands

Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge

Top movies I saw (regardless of release date):

The Ascent (Shepitko)

Life of Oharu (Mizoguchi)

My Dog Tulip (Fierlinger/Fierlinger)

Bubble (Soderbergh)

The entire DVD set: The Complete Pierre Etaix

 Tampopo (Itami)

In Darkness (Holland)

Lovers on the Bridge (Carax)

Holy Motors (Carax)

Gervaise (Clement)

Le Notti Bianche (Visconti)

Before Midnight (Linklater)

Last Holiday (Cass)

The Bothersome Man (Lien)

Hamlet (Kozintsev)

Amour (Haneke)

Frances Ha (Baumbach)

Hitler’s Children (Ze’evi).

And my Top cds of 2013 (I believe all these were released in 2013):

Chuck Prophet’s Temple Beautiful

David Bowie’s The Next Day

They Might be Giants’ Nanobots

The wonderful 4-cd set Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (worth the price for Patti Smith’s ‘Drifter’s Escape’ alone)

Valerie June’s Pushing Against a Stone

Jethro Tull’s Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight

Stephen Stills’ box set, Carry On

The Oblivians’ Desperation

Elvis Costello’s Wise Up Ghost

Rob Jungklas’ The Spirit and the Spine

Jessica Haeckel’s Gemiinii Riisiing

John Kilzer’s Seven.

AND, easily, the highlight of my year was the marriage of my son, Toby, to Marda Lugar, in Eads, Tennessee, on June 15th.  Bless you, my loves.

Second highlight: Welcoming our new Border Collie, Saskia, into the family.

I am reviewed

….kindly, by Marie Browning at Chapter 16:

One wee new poem

…here in Pea River Journal:

One new poem

….here in Electric Rather: