Francis Spufford

Underdog Literature, December 2012: 15 fresh or brilliant, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature December 2012 WordPress.

Here are 12 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles – all published in 2012 – that might deserve more attention:

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01: RICHARD KRAMER, „These Things happen“, 272 pages, 2012. [quirky domestic drama, written by a former „My so-called Life“ writer.]

02: PHILIP SINGTON, „The Valley of Unknowing“, 298 pages, 2012. [set in the GDR, a story in the style of „The Lives of Others“]

03: LEANNE SHAPTON, „Swimming Studies“, 336 pages, 2012. [Essays / Memoir, German title: „Bahnen ziehen“ (Link, Perlentaucher)]

04: KEVIN YOUNG, „The Grey Album“, 476 pages, 2012. [Essays / Experimental]

05: WILEY CASH, „A Land more kind than Home“, 320 pages, 2012. [literary Thriller]

06: GILLIAN FLYNN, „Gone Girl“, 419 pages, 2012 [Thriller / Bestseller].

07: JESS WALTER, „Beautiful Ruins“, 337 pages, 2012 [Bestseller].

08: FLORIAN ILLIES, „1913 – Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts“, 320 pages, 2012. [German (Link: Perlentaucher)]

09: PIA ZIEFLE, „Suna“, 304 pages, 2012. [German]

10: VERONIQUE BIZOT, „Un Avenir“ / „Eine Zukunft“, 130 pages, 2011. [French; German edition (Link, 2012)review at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Link)]

11: KERSTIN EKMAN, „Schwindlerinnen“ / „Grand final i skojarbranschen“, 448 pages, 2011. [Swedish, German edition 2012 (Perlentaucher)]

12: MICHEL ROSTAIN, „The Son“ / „Le Fils“ / „Als ich meine Eltern verließ“, 160 pages, 2011. [French Memoir, German Edition 2012 (Perlentaucher)]

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Here are nine 2012 books that I’ve featured / mentioned here before… and that might (still) be worth a look:

01: STEVE ERICKSON, “These Dreams of you”, 309 pages, 2012.

02: SHANNON MESSENGER, “Keeper of the Lost Cities”, 496 pages, 2012. [Young Adult / Fantasy]

03: CLAIRE LEGRAND, “The Cavandish Home for Boys and Girls”, 352 pages, 2012. [Young Adult, Horror]

04: FRANCIS SPUFFORD, “Red Plenty”, 448 pages, 2007. [Science Fiction; German version published in April 2012: „Rote Zukunft“, Rowohlt]

05: JENNY LAWSON, “Let’s pretend this never happened”, 318 pages, 2012. [Memoir / Comedy]

06: NICK HARKAWAY, „Angelmaker“, 482 pages, 2012. [post-modern, absurdist Sci-Fi Noir]

07: GAITO GASDANOW, „Das Phantom des Alexander Wolf“, 192 pages, 1947. [Russian emigré writer, new German translation]

08: GERMÁN KRATOCHWIL, „Scherbengericht“, 311 pages, 2012. [German, Link (Perlentaucher)]

09: NORA BOSSONG, „Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung“, 296 pages, 2012. [German, Link (Perlentaucher)]

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Here are 3 books not published in 2012 (…to round up „Underdog Literature’s“ usual „15 new recommendations, every month“ format):

01: TAIYE SELASI, „Ghana must go“, 336 pages, 2013.

02: SAMANTHA HUNT, „The Seas“, 193 pages, 2004.

03: J.L. CARR, „A Month in the Country“, 135 pages, 1980.

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: SIMON MAWER, „The Fall“, 442 pages, 2003.

02: NATALIA GINZBURG, „All our Yesterdays“, 300 pages, 1952.

03: KVETA LEGATOVA, „Zelary“ / „Der Mann aus Zelary“, 156 pages, 2001 [Czechian].

04: WILLY RUSSELL, „The Wrong Boy“, 506 pages, 2002.

05: MARKUS FELDENKIRCHEN, „Was zusamengehört“, 318 pages, 2010. [German]

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: ALEXIS M. SMITH, „Glaciers“, 174 pages, 2012.

5 of 5 stars: MARLEN HAUSHOFER, „The Wall“ / „Die Wand“, 284 pages, 1962. [Austrian]

4 of 5 stars: DANIELA KRIEN, „Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen“, 240 pages, 2011. [German]

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Underdog Literature, May 2012: 15 fresh or remarkable, off-the-wall titles

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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: RICHARD FORD, „Canada“, 432 pages, 2012.

02: JOSHUA HENKIN, „The World without you“, 336 pages, 2012.

03: DIRK WITTENBORN, „Fierce People“, 335 pages, 2003.

04: STEPHEN L. PECK, „A Short Stay in Hell“, 108 pages, 2012.

05: CAROL RIFKA BRUNT, „Tell the Wolves I’m home“, 368 pages, 2012.

06: KAZUSHI HOSAKA, „Plainsong“, 169 pages, 2011. [Japan]

07: STEVE ERICKSON, „These Dreams of you“, 309 pages, 2012.

08: RAYMOND FEDERMAN, „Double or Nothing“, 267 pages, 1971. [postmodern / Typography]

09: ANDRI SNAER MAGNASON, „LoveStar“, 275 pages, 2002. [Science Fiction, Iceland]

10: GREG RUCKA, „Alpha“, 304 pages, 2012. [Thriller]

11: RACHEL MADDOW, „Drift. The Unmooring of America’s Military Power“, 276 pages, 2012. [Cultural Studies / Essay]

12: AUSTIN KLEON, „Steal like an Artist“, 160 pages, 2012. [Cultural Studies / Self-Help]

13: JOHN VAN DE RUIT, „Spud“, 352 pages, 2006. [Young Adult, South Africa]

14: ANNETT GRÖSCHNER, „Mit der Linie 4 um die Welt“, 250 pages, 2012. [Journalism/Travel, German]

15: MATTHIAS SENKEL, „Frühe Vögel“, 298 pages, 2012. [German; Link to Amazon]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: FRANCIS SPUFFORD, „Red Plenty“, 448 pages, 2007. [Science Fiction; German version published in April 2012: „Rote Zukunft“, Rowohlt]

02: JUNICHIRO TANIZAKI, „The Makiota Sisters“, 544 pages, 1946. [Japan]

03: LYNNE TILMAN, „Haunted Houses“, 208 pages, 1995. [Young Adult]

04: MARK OLIVER EVERETT, „Things the Grandchildren should know“, 256 pages, 2007.

05: LIZ MOORE, „Heft“, 352 pages, 2012.

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

1: 4 of 5 stars: BRAD KESSLER, „Birds in Fall“, 256 pages, 2006.

2: 4 of 5 stars: JHUMPA LAHIRI, „The Namesake“, 304 pages, 2003.

3: 4 of 5 stars: WOLFGANG HERRNDORF, „Tschick“, 253 pages, 2010. [Young Adult, German]

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Summer Reading List – 29 good… and 29 *great* books

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My reading list, this summer?

Here are 29 books… that I suspect to be pretty good.

And another 29 books… that I suspect to be great.

Update, spring 2013: I managed to read a good number of the books. See the orange text for my ratings!

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Good books…

01: JAMES FREY, „Bright shiny Morning“, 501 pages, 2008.

02: ALICIA ERIAN, „Towelhead“, 336 pages, 2006.

03: LYNN COADY, „The Antagonist“, 352 pages, 2001.

04: SAPPHIRE, „Push“, 179 pages, 1996.

05: HOWARD ZINN, „You can’t be neutral on a moving Train“, 224 pages, 1994.

07: CHRISTIE HODGEN, ‘Elegies for the Brokenhearted’, 256 pages, 2010.

08: DODIE SMITH, ‘I capture the Castle’, 352 pages, 1948. [Coming of Age]

09: JOHN B. THOMPSON, ‘Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the 21st Century’, 440 pages, 2010. [Cultural Studies / Nonfiction]

10: JERRY MANDER, ‘Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television’, 376 pages, 1978 [Essay]

11: RUSSELL BANKS, ‘Affliction’, 368 pages, 1989.

12: LAWRENCE DURRELL: ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, 884 pages, 1957.

13: SUZETTE MAYR, ‘Monoceros’, 280 pages, 2011.

14: AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”, 240 pages, 2005.

15: JOHAN HARSTAD, “Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?”, 478 pages, 2005. [Young Adult, Norway] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: CATHERINE CHUNG, “Forgotten Country”, 304 pages, 2012.

17: CHARLOTTE ROGAN, “The Lifeboat”, 275 pages, 2012.

18: EDMUND WHITE, “Jack Holmes and his Friend”, 392 pages, 2012.

19: MARK OLIVER EVERETT, „Things the Grandchildren should know“, 256 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

20: NICK ANTOSCA, „Fires“, 194 pages, 2006.

21: AMY WALDMAN, „The Submission“, 300 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

22: ARMISTEAD MAUPIN, „Tales of the City“, 296 pages, 1978.

23: MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH, „Only Forward“, 310 pages, 1994.

24: KIRSTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

25: TONY EARLEY, „The Blue Star“, 304 pages, 2008.

26: JOSE MANUEL PRIETO, „Rex“, 336 pages, 2009.

27: GARTH STEIN, „The Art of Racing in the Rain“, 321 pages, 2008.

28: DIETMAR DATH, „Für immer in Honig“, 1035 pages, 2005 [German].

28: WALTER TEVIS, „The Queen’s Gambit“, 183 pages, 1983.

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Great books…!

01: JESSE BROWNER, „Everything happens today“, 224 pages, 2011.

02: SLOAN WILSON, „The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit“, 288 pages, 1954.

03: CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH, „The Rules of Inheritance“, 304 pages, 2012.

04: LIZ MOORE, „Heft“, 352 pages, 2012. 2 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

05: EOWYN IVEY, „The Snow Child“, 352 pages, 2012.

06: ANDERS NILSEN, „Don’t go where I can’t follow“, 244, 2007. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

07: ADAM LEVIN, ‘The Instructions’, 1030 pages, 2010

08: JAMES SALTER, ‘Light Years’, 308 pages, 1975.

09: DAVID MARKSON, ‘The Last Novel’, 220 pages, 2007. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

10: DOROTHY BAKER, ‘Cassandra at the Wedding’, 256 pages, 1962.

11: TIM WISE, „White like me. Reflections on Race from a privileged Son“, 250 pages, 2004.

12: JOACHIM MEYERHOFF, „Alle Toten fliegen hoch“, 319 pages, 2011.

13: JEANETTE WINTERSON, “Why be happy when you could be normal?”, 256 pages, 2011. [Memoir]

14: ISMET PRCIC, “Shards”, 400 pages, 2011. 3 of 5 stars. Not recommended.

15: GUY DELISLE, “Jerusalem”, 334 pages, 2011. [Graphic Novel; nonfiction] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

16: WILLIAM MAXWELL, “The Folded Leaf”, 289 pages, 1945.

17: ERIC WALTERS, “Safe as Houses”, 160 pages, 2007. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended for younger readers.

18: SHARON M. DRAPER, “Out of my Mind”, 295 pages, 2010. [Young Adult] 4 of 5 stars. Recommended.

19: ALISON BECHDEL, “Are you my Mother?”, 224 pages, 2012. [Graphic Novel / Memoir]

20: PATRICK DeWITT, “The Sisters Brothers”, 352 pages, 2011.

21: DOROTHY CANFIELD-FISHER, “The Home-Maker”, 320 pages, 1924.

22: C.D. PAYNE, “Youth in Revolt”, 499 pages, 1995. [Young Adult]

23: KAUI HART HEMMINGS, “The Descendants”, 283 pages, 2007.

24: E.L. DOCTOROW, „The Book of Daniel“, 320 pages, 1971.

25: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Century’s Son“, 320 pages, 2002.

26: ANDRE DUBUS, „Selected Stories“, 496 pages, 1988.

27: TOVE JANSSON, „Fair Play“, 179 pages, 1989. 4 of 5 stars. Recommended. But her „Summer Book“ is even better.

28: FRANCIS SPUFFORD, „Red Plenty“, 448 pages, 2007.

29: JUNICHIRO TANIZAKI, „The Makiota Sisters“, 544 pages, 1946.

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