Was It Good for You?

The year in books

Was It Good for You?


The year in books, sure, we can wrap it up just like that, all lickety-split and Chaucer's-your-uncle, right? Readah, please.

Remember, though, the Harry Ransom Center's exhaustive and illuminating "From Out That Shadow" exhibition (presented in conjunction with the University of Virginia but built mostly from the HRC's vast holdings) documenting the life and works and death of that genre genius and social reprobate Edgar Allan Poe; recall literary fabulist Margaret Atwood headlining (as they say in the biz) the Texas Book Festival in support of her post-apocalyptic thriller The Year of the Flood: A Novel (Nan A. Talese); access memory of a new Thomas Pynchon opus (Inherent Vice: A Novel) with a plot carousing its quirky characters through a Seventies version of Raymond Chandlerland, the ubiquitous and seemingly eternal Kirkus Reviews going belly up among other gasping concerns in the economy's fetid fish tank, former Austinite Michael Schaub editing his first issue of Bookslut.com, the garish travesty of celluloid adaptation visited upon Alan Moore's acclaimed Watchmen, the milieu of Charles Dickens brought vividly to local stages via improvisations by Parallelogramophonograph, and e-books finally coming into their own with the Kindle and other user-friendly devices.

Also, despite that much of the year was spent in intense training under the mentorship of a voodoo houngan and in the informative company of several aged herbalists, the bio-mystical machinations undertaken after those studies proved insufficient to restore vitality to even the most potentially viable corpse, and so our plans, our grand scheme toward organic reanimation, has failed, and thus David Foster Wallace is still dead and will likely remain so and, as far as modern letters go, oh, how that continues to totally, relentlessly suck.

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More Top 10s
Robert Faires’ Top 10 Dance and Classical Joys of 2018
Robert Faires’ Top 10 Dance and Classical Joys of 2018
In this year’s dance and classical offerings, extraordinary depictions of loss and suffering continue to haunt

Robert Faires, Dec. 28, 2018

Wayne Alan Brenner’s Top 10 Arts-Related Things I Enjoyed in 2018
Wayne Alan Brenner’s Top 10 Arts-Related Things I Enjoyed in 2018
Representational and digital art, plus theatre rooted in history proved especially mind-blowing this year

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 28, 2018

More year in books
Paradise, Loss
Paradise, Loss
The year in reading, 2005

Shawn Badgley, Jan. 6, 2006

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Restaurant Options to Pair With Smithville’s Small-Town Charm
Restaurant Options to Pair With Smithville’s Small-Town Charm
Things to do when you’re out east of the big city

May 17, 2019

Those Who Canelle Don’t Get Bitten
Those Who Canelle Don’t Get Bitten
New cinnamon-based spray keeps the mosquitos away

May 15, 2019


year in books, Harry Ransom Center, From Out That Shadow, Edgar Allan Poe, Texas Book Festival, The Year of the Flood: A Novel, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice, Kirkus Reviews, Michael Schaub, Bookslut.com, Alan Moore, Watchmen, Parallelogramophonograph, Kindle, David Foster Wallace, Top 10s

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