A Year of Random 10

It’s been a little over a year since I started posting random 10’s on Fridays.  In 53 weeks since the first post, I posted 50 lists.  The question isn’t which band has shown up the most, the question is how many more Nine Inch Nails songs have there been than any others.

First this weeks Random 10

  • One More Time – KornUntouchables
  • Stay – Onesidezero(self-titled)
  • For All the Sin – NothingfaceViolence
  • A Story at Three – AFIThe Art of Drowning
  • N.I.B. – Black Sabbath(self-titled)
  • Electric Red – MeshuggahObZen
  • One Inch Man – KyussAnd the Circus Leaves Town
  • Rushmore – Erik FriedlanderBlock Ice and Propane
  • Tangerine – Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III
  • Just a Taste – Fiona AppleTidal

Clearly the only way to finish off a list that started with that loud of a half hour was Fiona Apple.

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2009 Books Read

Here’s my five favorite books that I read this year.  I read about 20 books in total this year which is pretty good, although I definitely went through some long stretches where I wasn’t reading anything.  Tomorrow I’ll have some books that I have my eye on for the next year.

  • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño

I wrote this when I finished the epic 2666.  Having had some time to reflect and absorb it, I really enjoyed reading (and being challenged by) this book.  Generally, these types of books are the ones that I really enjoy; those that are dense, intelligent, and challenging.  You’ll probably see that reflected in a lot of these choices.

  • The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

The story of a child genius who undertakes a cross-country trek on his own, while trying to understand the family dynamic he’s running from.  The book is illustrated with T. S.’s drawings and kept me entertained throughout.

  • The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia

Steampunk novel in which an automaton making her own living as an alchemist attempts to win her independence from her creator in the midst of a political uprising.  This was an excellent book, one that I loved as I was reading it, and one that I didn’t have to think twice about including on this list.

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Very good book. Don’t read the last few chapters anywhere someone might look askance at tears running down your face. One of the reviews on the back mentions Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and this did remind me a bit of that. But where Slaughterhouse Five has a bit of a “cracked” look at WWII, The Book Thief plays it straight for the most part. Similar to Vonnegut’s famous “So it goes.” to mark the passing of the countless dead in World War II, the narrator, Death itself, unrelentingly reminds us of how overworked it became in those times. The story is fantastic, with enough dark/dry humor to make the inevitable tragedies of war bearable.

  • The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

So, remember when I mentioned “dense, intelligent, and challenging”, this book pretty much embodies all of those things.  Pynchon is legendarily difficult, but this one was short enough that it didn’t get overwhelming.  I remember starting Gravity’s Rainbow a couple years ago and giving up a couple chapters in, but I’m glad I came back to this author.

Some other books I read this year are listed below, most of these I liked – but there are a couple on here that I wouldn’t recommend (Drood and Outliers).  Just about everything I read are novels, with a volume or two of poetry thrown in every now and then, but if there’s anything spectacular that you read this year, drop it in the comments.