Jenny Lawson

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, September 2012: 15 fresh or compelling, 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: TOM BISSELL, „Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation“, 301 pages, 2012. [Nonfiction / Creative Writing]

02: JOHN GARDNER, „Nickel Mountain“, 312 pages, 1963.

03: PADGET POWELL, „Edisto“, 192 pages, 1984.

04: MICHEL BUTOR, „Mobile“, 319 pages, 1959. [Journalism / Collage / Nouveau Roman]

05: ROBERT BOSWELL, „Crooked Hearts“, 352 pages, 1967.

06: MOIRA CRONE, „The Not Yet“, 272 pages, 2012. [Dystopia / Science Fiction]

07: ROBERT COOVER, „The Public Burning“, 544 pages, 1977.

08: RICHARD E. KIM, „The Martyred“, 240 pages, 1964. [Korean]

09: WILLIAM SAROYAN, „The Human Comedy“, 256 pages, 1943.

10: LARRY WOIWODE, „Beyond the Bedroom Wall“, 625 pages, 1975.

11: JONATHAN RABAN, „Bad Land: An American Romance“, 384 pages, 1985. [History / Nonfiction]

12: TIM THARP, „Falling Dark“, 256 pages, 1999.

13: ELIZABETH TALLENT, „Museum Pieces“, 233 pages, 1985.

14: DONALD ANTRIM, „Elect Mr. Robinson for a better World“, 192 pages, 1993.

15: LEWIS NORDAN, „Wolf Whistle“, 290 pages, 2003.

16: DOROTHY ALLISON, „Two or three Things I know for sure“, 112 pages, 1995. [Memoir]

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

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

02: HERMAN KOCH, „The Dinner“, 300 pages, 2008. [Netherlands; German title: „Angerichtet“]

03: KLAUS MANN, „Der Wendepunkt. Lebensbericht“, 737 pages, 1942. [Memoir]

04: MAGDA SZABO, „Door“, 272 pages, 1987. [Hungarian]

05: MILENA MICHIKO FLASAR, „Ich nannte ihn Krawatte“,  [Austrian; Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Verlag Klaus Wagenbach!]

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

4 of 5 stars: KRISTEN D. RANDLE, „The only Alien on the Planet“, 228 pages, 1995. [Young Adult; recommended if you liked „To Kill a Mockingbird“]

4 of 5 stars: DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, „This is Water“, 64 pages, 2005. [Nonfiction / short, likeable commencement speech]

4 of 5 stars: ARNO GEIGER, „Der alte König in seinem Exil“, 192 pages, 2011. [Nonfiction / Memoir, Austrian]

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This month, to find new titles, I went through several lists of personal recommendations from my favorite living author, Stewart O’Nan (Link).

The 15 books that I picked weren’t, for the most part, HIS recommendations. But all the authors make appearances on THESE (O’Nan-curated) lists:

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Underdog Literature, August 2012: 15 fresh or forgotten, 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: PETER HELLER, „The Dog Stars“, 336 pages, 2012.

02: RAFAEL YGLESIAS, „A happy Marriage“, 384 pages, 2009.

03: JONATHAN TROPPER, „One Last Thing before I go“, 336 pages, 2012.

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

05: LAURIE NOTARO, „I love everybody“, 240 pages, 2004. [Comedy / Memoir]

06: CAITLIN MORAN, „How to be a Woman“, 320 pages, 2011. [Comedy / Memoir / Feminism]

07: PETER DE VRIES, „The Blood of the Lamb“, 248 pages, 1963.

08: RUTH PICARDI, „Before I say Goodbye“, 128 pages, 1998. [Memoir]

09: DONALD RICHIE, „The Japan Journals: 1947 – 2004“, 510 pages, 2004. [Memoir]

10: KAMAL al-SOLAYLEE, „Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes“, 224 pages, 2012. [Memoir]

11: LAUREN GREENFIELD, „Thin“, 224 pages, 2006. [Photography / Nonfiction]

12: CARL NIXON, „Rocking Horse Road“, 234 pages, 2007. [Crime, New Zealand, German edition here.]

13: ÉDOUARD LEVÉ, „Suicide“, 123 pages, 2008. [Nonfiction / Memoir, German edition here.]

14: STEPHAN THOME, „Fliehkräfte“, 474 pages, 2012. [German]

15: KEVIN KUHN, „Hikikomori“, 240 pages, 2012. [German; Hildesheim / writing colleague of mine.]

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

01: WILLY VLAUTIN, „The Motel Life“, 240 pages, 2006.

02: MARCUS JENSEN, „Oberland“, 506 pages, 2004. [German]

03: JEFF NOON, „Vurt“, 342 pages, 1993. [Sci-Fi / Cyberpunk]

04: INIO ASANO, „Solanin“, 424 pages, 2006. [Slice-of-Life Manga]

05: JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN, „Pulphead“, 365 pages, 2011. [Essays / Cultural Criticism; German edition here.]

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

4 of 5 stars: BRIAN SELZNICK, „The Invention of Hugo Cabret“, 544 pages, 2007. [Illustrated Novel, for kids: If you’re older than 12, you might be bored. But it works really well for the target audience, and I enjoyed it.]

4 of 5 stars: FUNNY VAN MONEY, “This is Niedersachsen und nicht Las Vegas, Honey: Auf Tabledance-Tour durch die Republik”, 224 Seiten, 2012. [Nonfiction, German]

5 of 5 stars: JOACHIM HELFER, RASHID al-DAIF, „Die Verschwulung der Welt: Rede gegen Rede. Beirut – Berlin“, 199 pages, 2006. [Nonfiction, German]

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