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Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Loves Me Some Book-Readin’…

Posted by on April 15 at 9:47 AM

Sadly, my day job can keep me away from the Intra-Nets for days at a time, but I saw this plea from Cienna attached to my last post, about Chuck Palahniuk’s newest, glow-in-the-dark book:

Paul, on a somewhat related topic:

What is the best book you have read in the last year?

and I can’t just let a question like that disappear into the Wi-Fi Ether.
The best book of 2005 was, as I wrote for The Stranger, readily apparent in February. And I’m glad you asked, because it’s brand new in paperback, so nobody has an excuse. I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and On Beauty as well. But if we’re talking 2006, we have to discuss Apex Hides The Hurt, by Colson Whitehead. It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year, but it’s not exactly…to use the parlance of the times…unimpeachably the best book of the year. And, in fact, if you’re somebody who enjoys Palahniuk, you should give Whitehead a shot. He’s got a lot of the same elements that people in Palahniuk’s….um, cult…seem to enjoy—disaffectedness, cynicism—only he’s, you know, a good writer. So there’s that.

Unrelated, Party Crasher-wise: No Easter parties, Seattle? I got, like seventy Passover invites: aren’t the lapsed Christians gonna represent?

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For my money, the best book of 2005 was "When They Severed Earth from Sky" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul Barber. It deals with myths and legends that started as eyewitness accounts of ancient cataclysms, a prime example being the volcanic collapse that created Crater Lake, then survived only through generations and generations of oral history that evolved into epic narratives.

Elizabeth Barber is an anthropology professor at my alma mater, Occidental College. I have not read her book, but I do remember that she often wore a traditional folk-dancing costume and waltzed around the dining hall.

It doesn't rhyme, but Lindy's post sounds like a verse in some sort of folk song: "Lizzie Barber waltzed around the dining hall/at my alma mater...etc, etc."
Christ is risen!

Thanks Paul. I will read your suggestions and then quietly judge you on them.

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