Memorable reads of 2006

By rough count only about 25% of the books I read this year were new in 2006. So this list is simply those books that I found most memorable, regardless of when they were written. Memorable is generally equal to a recommendation!

Fiction:

Trance

Trance (2005) – Christopher Sorrentino. One of the best in recent years, a telling of the Patty Hearst/SLA saga.

Aberration of Starlight (1980) – Gilbert Sorrentino. A four-sided tale of a summer in New Jersey in the 1930s.

Passing On (2004) – Tom LeClair. Musing on death or how to leave this world.

The Emperor’s Children (2006) – Claire Messud. Set in NYC leading up to 9/11, characters trying to find their mission.

Journey to the End of the Night (1934) – Celine. WWI and beyond, trying to find some hope in a grim world where people frequently disappoint.

Against the Day (2006) – Thomas Pynchon. The world circa 1893-1914, perhaps mapping through various transformations to today?

Torpor (2006) – Chris Kraus.  The story of a trip to Romania in around 1990, deals with abortion, the Holocaust, a fading marriage.  Engaging.

Non-fiction:

Against Method (1975) – Paul Feyerabend. An argument for creative thinking in science, and a caution to rationalists.

Bing Crosby: The Early Years 1903-1940 (2001) – Gary Giddins. The story of the first true multi-media sensation, who seemed to be only capable of falling upward.

Palimpsest (1995) – Gore Vidal. His first volume of memoirs, to age 40.

Rip it Up and Start Again (2005) – Simon Reynolds. A thorough review of the post-punk bands.

The Origin of Wealth (2006) – Eric Beinhocker. Economics with an evolutionary twist.

I Remember (1975) – Joe Brainard. A book of memories of growing up in Tulsa, OK.

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