2009 Book & Music Recap

This is the first part of my annual recap of my year in media. Tomorrow I will probably look back at the movies of ’09.

I didn’t really keep up with music this year as much as I normally do. But in no particular order, the releases I was most fond of from this year were:

1. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid
2. Chuck Ragan – Gold Country
3. A.A. Bondy – When the Devil’s Loose
4. Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t
6. The Monsters of Folk – s/t
7. M. Ward – Hold Time
8. Mindy Smith – Stupid Love

I should probably confess to loving half of Only By the Night but hating myself for it.

The books I read this year are listed below. I again fell short of my goal, but in this age of illiteracy I consider any number over zero to be a personal triumph.
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Minimalist Readings With Chuck

Yesterday I was skimming through Chuck Palahniuk’s Nonfiction when I came across him mentioning his two favorite short stories. The first, he said, was Mark Richard’s “Strays,” but I can’t seem to find it online anywhere. But in searching I came across someone else who said their favorite short story of all time was Richard’s “The Birds for Christmas,” which is actually online and is, in fact, quite good.

Chuck’s other favorite short story is one by Amy Hempel entitled “The Harvest.” I wish I could remember more about what Chuck said about these stories, but I do remember that he loved Hempel’s first line: “The year I began to say vahz instead of vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me.” You can read the rest here. So there you go: as they say down South, “Two stories a day keeps the swine flu away.”