Steven’s Top 5 Books of 2015

steven rabbit

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

9781594486630“This shockingly candid memoir by the polymath creative engine behind Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag, and Portlandia scratches a nerve, revealing uncomfortable truths behind musical competition, the creative process, and the embattled humanity of this celebrated virtuoso.  It can’t all be rock and roll fun.”

Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chestnutt by Kristin Hersh

9780292759473“Vic Chestnutt was a complicated artist with a complicated relationship with the world.  Songwriter and suicide survivor confined to a wheelchair whose only means of self-expression was a guitar manipulated with withered claw and primal, vocal wailing, his recordings are the closest we have to a sonic instantiation of existential pain.  His celebrated friendship with Kristin Hersh, frontwoman for Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave, captured in this slim, second-person narrative, is a raw and devastating primary documentation of his tortured life.”

Looking at Pictures by Robert Walser

9780811224246 (1)“Newly translated by Walser biographer Susan Bernofsky, Lydia Davis, and Christopher Middleton, Looking at Pictures captures Walser’s love for the visual medium and the frequently overwhelming beauty and power conveyed enigmatically by brushstroke.  This collection contains fleeting, elegant literary sketches, whimsical and precise biographical essays, and simple, profound meditations on the nature of creativity.  Gorgeously illustrated with obscure, classic paintings, the pieces in this compilation are all reactions to the strange and majestic concussion of abject emotion you get from looking at pictures.”

The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits

9780385538985“In the tradition of diaries, The Folded Clock is brazenly confessional, necessarily self-involved, occasionally rambling, and steeped in nostalgia for the struggles of the past.  These intimidatingly brilliant vignettes describe, through perpetual inquisitiveness and an obsession with culture on every scale, a woman searching through her life for evidence that she has lived it.  This extraordinary diary weaves accidental but irrefutable aphorisms out of mundanity and imprecisely but perfectly encapsulates the examined human experience.”

Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

9781501111679“Largely eschewing the fantastical for a subtler terror extrapolated from everyday cruelty, this new collection from the chaos emperor of literary horror fiction addresses the grand atrocities lying dormant but accessible within every mind.  Interspersed with autobiographical vignettes to tee up each story, this is King’s most personal and unsettling work to date.”

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