Bibliomania

Books We Love and a Few Books We Don't

Bibliomania

Roger Gathman

Year
1. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
2. Tie: Bad Jews and Other Stories by Gerald Shapiro; My Date with Satan: Stories by Stacey Richter
3. High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner's Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars by Charles H. Ferguson
4. Farewell to an Idea: Episodes From a History of Modernism by T.J. Clark
5. Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward Chancellor
6. Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century by Mark Mazower
7. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
8. Lieutenant-Colonel du Maumort by Roger Martin du Gard (Not coming out officially until January 2000, but I'm putting in a plug anyway)
9. Selected Non-Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Eliot Weinberger
10. Tie: Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa, 1880-91 by Charles Nicholl; The Vanished Kingdom: Travels Through the History of Prussia by James Charles Roy

Decade
1. Infinite Jest: A Novel by David Foster Wallace
2. How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman
3. The Ruins by Trace Farrell
4. What Is Philosophy?, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, translated by Hugh Tomlinson (Deleuze is also the saddest loss of the Nineties -- goodbye, G.D.)
5. Tie: Dawn Powell's novels, through Steerforth Press; Joseph Mitchell, Up in the Old Hotel
6. Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure by Dan Baum
7. Midnight in Sicily : On Art, Food, History, Travel
8. Dossier Secreto: Argentina's Desaparecidos and the Myth of the "Dirty War" by Martin Edwin Andersen
9. The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson
10. Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, translated by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike

Desert Island
Crusoe 2000 doesn't rummage around for dog-eared Clancy paperbacks. He looks for a decent laptop, with a built-in 56K Fax/Modem and FIR Fast Wireless (4MB transfer rate) Infrared port, and of course a battery pack. The question now becomes: "What 10 sites would you go to for your literature?"
1. Books Online: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books.
2. Gallica: http://gallica.bnf.fr/Princi_crit.htm.
3. Alchemy: http://www.levity.com/alchemy/home.html.
4. Deleuze: http://www.imaginet.fr/deleuze/.
5. Middleton (a hypertext edition of Thomas Middleton's plays): http://www.tech.org/~cleary/middhome.html.
6. Luminarium, 16th-17th century English lit base: http://www.luminarium.org/ lumina.htm.
7. Hypertexts of classic American literature: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/hypertex.html.
8. Kafka: http://www.kafka.org.
9. Joyce: http://www.joycean.com.
10. Anarchy: http://www.spunk.org/library/index.

My list is heavily weighted toward the retrospective, which makes sense. 1999 was, for obvious reasons, a good year from which to survey the century. I thought Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson's huge novel, was clearly the most ambitious and interesting coming-to-terms with the 20th century. Stephenson is that odd novelist, like Defoe, who is as competent a journalist as he is a storyteller. His articles for Wired have invested him with the aura of actually knowing what the fuck all that software code business is about. Read him now, while he isn't quite "literary."

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