Monday, July 22, 2013

Best Books of 2013 So Far: Stefan Merrill Block

Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door, was unable to limit himself to one favorite book. He was also unable to limit his list to four or five. He reminds us of us, so we let him get away with it. Plus we just adore him. 

Here are some of Stefan's favorite books of 2013 so far. Get a pen out; this is a great list. 

I keep promising myself I will devote my reading time to important old books, but how can I reach for the academic-dull spines of the Stendhal and Musil on my shelf when 2013 keeps seducing me with so many wonderful offerings? 

Some of my favorites: the new Rachel Kushner novel, The Flamethrowers, was a gutsy and brilliant treat. Sarah Bruni’s The Night Gwen Stacy Died is a great and peculiar love story; it’s perfect for fans of Joy Williams and Lorrie Moore. 

The paperback release of The Middlesteins, Jami Attenberg’s addictive book about family and obesity, gave me an excuse to read it all over again. 

On a recent road trip, I listened to the audiobook of Drinking with Men, read by the author. The drive was seven unbroken hours, and when I arrived I wouldn’t get out of the car until I got to the end of the chapter. 

I’m very braggy this week because I’ve just gotten my hands on the new Donna Tartt novel, The Goldfinch. I’m only two chapters in, but that little glimpse was enough for me to clear my evenings so that I can scarf down the rest. Kate Christensen’s new memoir, Blue Plate Special, is a deeply charming, honest, funny and beautiful book; I am a good eater, but Christensen’s lush and inventive descriptions of food are even better than the actual dishes. And the book I’ve been cheerleading for most is Eric Lundgren’s surreal, dystopian, heartbreaking debut, a philosophical mystery called The Facades, out this September. 

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