December 14, 2011

Most overlooked books of 2011


Recently, Emily Temple at Flavorwire ran her choices for the “most criminally overlooked books” this year. We don’t want to arrest anyone here at Melville House, although I would like to present my own list of titles that I think are deserving of your cold, hard cash or at least deserving of a trip to the library. Such as: The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto. Why didn’t this book garner more attention when it came out? It may very well be the best novel she’s written since Kitchen, and is definitely her most grown up. Another was Helen DeWitt‘s Lightning Rods, which made for very uncomfortable subway reading, since I absolutely knew for a fact that everyone in the car thought I was a total pervert. Judge all you want, people, but this novel was worth the risk.

The Jokers by Albert Cossery, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis, is also a novel that people should have been raving about but really weren’t. I also couldn’t put down White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race (Edited by Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay) from Verso.

And, because I work at Melville House and am biased, but mostly because it’s great, I enjoyed Chris Boucher‘s How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, which is based on the late sixties hippie handbook that you or your parents might have read back in the day. Also, the bleak world of Derek Raymond still haunts us, along with Mukoma wa Ngugi‘s debut, Nairobi Heat. We have so much to offer you, people, if you just let us in your lives. There’s still time left before 2012 begins…

What do you think, readers? What were some of your favorite books of 2011?