Charles Bock was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has an MFA from Bennington College, and has received fellowships from Yaddo, Ucross, and the Vermont Studio Center. He lives in New York City and is the author of the runaway New York Times bestseller Beautiful Children. Visit his website at www.beautifulchildren.net.
After I turned in my list, the editor of this blog asked for 100 words on one or two of the books. I was resistant because the request immediately would place that book as my fave or as better than the others. Which it would not be. The books on this list all thrilled and impressed me. They all deserve attention, would be a treat for your eyes. Seriously, If you are looking for something to read, you can’t go wrong with anything on my list. Still, I decided to be agreeable. A hundred words is not a lot.
So: the book with the lowest profile. The Hammer of God: The Art of Malleus Rock Lab. Malleus actually refers to a trio of Italian rock poster artists; this anthology of the work they’ve done in their six years together as a poster collective. Fucking amazing. The art in this book is sensuous and dreamlike and tinged with erotic dread and longing. Most of the posters cannot be done justice by words (at least not by me). But here’s an attempt at describing what’s inside, or a taste of it, anyway:
A Queens of the Stone Age poster. A renaissance-era, very sexy looking Mary Magdaline-type woman. Her head is surrounded by rays of sunlight. She looking to heaven, and is crying. We see her robe opened; her chastity belt. We see her standing knee high in keys that don’t work.
That, my friends, is genius.
Okay, now to the other genius-ey works I was exposed to in 2008:
- A Person of Interest by Susan Choi
- The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
- Blindness by Jose SaramagoStoner by John Williams
- Slash by Slash
- Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis by Jonathan Cohn
- Lush Life Richard Price
- Go With Me by Castle Freeman Jr.
- Black Flies by Shannon Burke
- State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
- Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures: short stories by Vincent Lam
- Farewell Navigator stories by Leni Zumas