tag: alberto rojasaudrey harrisnyr

December 2008

New Year’s Resolutions: The Beginning 2008

Last year, we asked our authors about their faves and the future. Now we’re doing it again. First up is Scott Bradley, co-editor of The Book of Lists: Horror, which I’ve already mentioned was definitely one of my faves of this year.

What was the best book of the year?

We Disappear by Scott Heim (please note: we did not insist that Scott pick a Harper Perennial book or a book that is also by someone named Scott.)

What was the best movie?

Although there are some still to be released that I’m looking forward to, my favorite is a tie between The Fall and Milk.

What was the best song/album?

Wow—I honestly can’t think of any new music in 2008 that blew me away.

Favorite Blog?

Yikes, I don’t really read any blogs regularly.

Who was the person of the year?

President-Elect Barack Obama

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To try to be happier, less high-strung, and get a better handle on my diabetes.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

As things seem slightly apocalyptic at the moment, I’m not sure. But I hope it’s going to get better, because if it gets worse, we may be in some real trouble.

NYR: toby barlow

Resolutions and opinions from Toby Barlow, author of Sharp Teeth, which the LA Times praised as “a kooky combo of grit, goofiness and gusto [that] demonstrates that fantasy, unlike more literary offerings that play it too safe, may just be the place to find true exuberance and stylistic innovation.” Toby’s new year’s resolution might just be the best one I’ve read so far.

What was the best book of the year?

Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief

What was the best movie?

I didn’t see a good movie this year, unless you somehow count the box set of 30 Rock’s second season. That was epic.

What was the best song/album?

Dr. Dog’s “Fate.”

Favorite Blog?

My favorite blog this year was fivethirtyeight. But ever since the election I’ve pretty much given up on that whole interweb doo-hickey.

Who was the person of the year?

That guy who runs the office of President-Elect.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

No matter how bad the economy gets, I’m not going to eat my neighbors, my editor, my agent, or any of my family. And by family, I mean my immediate family.

NYR: rakesh satyal

Today’s answers come to us from Rakesh Satyal, editor extraordinaire, whose recent and upcoming Harper Perennial books include Love and Sex with Robots and Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm, as well as many books that are not at all about sex.

What was the best book of the year?
A tie between Netherland by Joseph O’Neill and We Disappear by Scott Heim.

What was the best movie? Slumdog Millionaire What was the best song/album? Song: Sam Sparro, “Black and Gold.” Album: TV on the Radio, “Dear Science,” Favorite Blog? It’s still fourfour.typepad.com. (blogger’s note: I am obsessed with Rich, the proprietor of fourfour’s, cat.)

Who was the person of the year?
Barack, obvi. Followed quickly by Jack Donaghy.

What is your New Year’s resolution?
To pleasure-read 50 books.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009? To www.graeters.com. Recession be damned.

NYR: lac d. su

In his last post, MS wondered if there would be more new year’s posts. Will there ever!!!

The below answers come from Lac D. Su, author of I Love Yous Are For White People, a true story of heartbreak, culture clash, and survival on the streets of Los Angeles, on sale this May.

What was the best book of the year?

Sadly, I was too busy writing my memoir I Love Yous Are For White People this year and I didn’t read a single book.

What was the best movie?

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” starring Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, and Jonah Hill. It’s the only movie I saw this year. I haven’t been to the theatre in eight years. Sad.

What was the best song/album?

“Lay it Down” by Al Green. I missed Al and am happy he came back with this track. Legends never lose their strut.

Favorite Blog?

The Olive Reader, of course. (note: we did not pay him to say that.)

Who was the person of the year?

Barack Obama.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To cut down on chewing so many damn pieces of Nicorette gum. I hopped on the gum to quit smoking, but now I’m hooked on the gum. Though, my jaw is now as strong as an ox.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

In the book world, I see original paperback becoming the new hard cover. It’s cheap and convenient. People are broke these days. We can’t afford the Kindle. Some hardcovers cost as much as a tank of gas. Audio books even cost a grip. My memoir, I Love Yous Are For White People, is a measly $10.19 on Amazon. That’s perfect under the economic circumstances.

NYR: dale hrabi

Answers from Dale Hrabi, author of The Perfect Baby Handbook, a subversive guide to raising a kid who’s better than all the other kids.

What was the best book of the year?
For me, Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth—a highly unlikely achievement in epic werewolf poetry—was the best new novel. But I spent far more of my time reading classic ‘40s children books by Elizabeth Enright and the CB2 furniture catalog which is hilariously zen.

What was the best movie?
I raved to my friends about Let the Right One In, the Swedish horror movie about a charmingly bleak pre-teen vampire in a ‘70s housing development. Most of them quickly changed the subject. Runner up: Slumdog Millionaire.

What was the best song/album?
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay, even though I thought it was called “Viva La Loco.” I’m a sucker for pop songs that feature melodramatically sonorous chimes.

Favorite Blog?
Apart from the various political sites that kept me happily agitated until November 4, I liked Joseph Sullivan’s “The Book Design Review” and “Style Rookie,” a blog by a preternaturally fashionable, funny 12-year-old named Tavi who claims to “enjoy vulgar thoughts.”

Who was the person of the year?
Besides a certain President-Elect? I’d say brainy, breakout political commentator, Rachel Maddow. It’s not easy to be both caustic and adorable.

What is your New Year’s resolution?
To go to sleep before 4 a.m. Which means I have to stop watching educational Abba documentaries on YouTube at 3 am. So that’s not going to happen.

Where do you see the world going in 2009?
Downhill. And then to the kitchen to get a snack. A Pop Tart, if we’re lucky.

NYR: ann herendeen

Yesterday we had answers from the author of a subversive child-rearing guide. Today we have answers from Ann Herendeen, author of a subversive historical romance, Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander.

What was the best book of the year?

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Like a lot of readers (and novelists) I don’t usually enjoy collections of short stories—too many condensed nuggets of truly exceptional writing, instead of one long wallow of fiction. But I discovered Lahiri a year ago through a story (“Year’s End”) in The New Yorker, and her writing is just too wonderful for me to deny her book the No. 1 slot on my list.

What was the best movie?

Milk (of course). It’s topical and also just right for the mood of the times. Plus, who can ever get enough of “straight” actors kissing each other…

What was the best song/album?

Lucinda Williams’ album Little Honey. The best song is Right In Time, but that’s from an earlier album. I’m a bizarre New Yorker—I like country/rock.

Favorite Blog?

Teach Me Tonight

This blog began as an outgrowth of RomanceScholar, a listserv for (primarily) academics who study romance novels in (primarily) college English depts., and also including some authors. The blog is a perfect example of how the study of popular culture can be presented in a scholarly way without losing the senses of pleasure, fun, and sexy entertainment of the subject itself.

Who was the person of the year?

Obama of course. Sigh. Too obvious. And yet inevitable.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To eventually let go of revising my second novel and begin writing my third. That will mean figuring out what the third book IS…

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Can’t do anything but go up. Temperature…rising. Population…rising. Inflation…increasing.

But to separate out a very small portion of the whole world: print. I’d like to say that, having been an Amazon Kindle user for most of the past year, I don’t see print going away any time soon. Yes, it’s great to have a portable reader that holds many titles, a way to read the New York Times on the subway, and a format that allows me to read without those damned reading glasses (by increasing the type size).

But on the other side: there simply is no better interface between “content” and the part of the human brain that appreciates it than the printed page. It’s fast, user friendly and oh-so-simple. The Kindle has no page numbers, only “locations,” much the way early VCRs only counted spool rotations instead of time. If you don’t have an identifiable “search term” to enter into the box, there’s no Kindle equivalent to just riffling the pages, knowing whatever it is you’re looking for was on the upper left. It’s mind-blowing, until you’ve tried it, how slow it is, clicking through a list of headlines, clicking again to read the full story, clicking through each page, clicking “Back” to the headline format, “Back” again to the Sections List…

By contrast, with the dirty, inky full-page print version, you just turn the pages, scan the articles, knowing immediately whether the item is worth reading or will bog you down in tedium, all in a fraction of a second.

E-readers will undoubtedly catch on (probably already have) for things like textbooks and business manuals. But for fiction and all the pleasurable nonfiction (history, biography, etc.) there’s no substitute for the paper book.

NYR: henry ferris

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means lots more NYRs! The first one today is from editor Henry Ferris.

Best book of the year: A MERCY by Toni Morrison (one of the few real artists writing today)
Best movie of the year: CADILLAC RECORDS
Best album of the year: THE WAY I SEE IT by Raphael Saadiq (because musically I wish it was still 1975)
Best blog: I’ve never read a blog (yes, I’m that old)
Person of the Year: Hmm…I give up…is it Barack Obama?
New Year’s Resolution: Believing that Barack will make it all better.

More to come today, because my New Year’s Eve resolution is getting all the NYRs in my inbox up (including mine!)

NYR: larry smith

Faves from Larry Smith, one of the editors of Not Quite What I Was Planning, the book that started the six-word memoir craze, and the upcoming (as in, on sale in a week) Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak.

What was the best book of the year?

The best I read was rereading The Great Gatsby. And the book that came out this year that stuck with me quite deeply is One More Year, a first book of short stories by Sana Krasikov.

What was the best movie?

Trouble the Water (though I haven’t seen a bunch of the just-released Oscar-contender types).

What was the best song/album?

By far the best thing I heard this year was Bollywood hip hop of unknown name, blasting through the speakers of a cab I hailed around midnight one night this fall. Every time we stopped at a light or in traffic, the cabbie would turn down the volume, turn back to me and yell “Happy cabbie! You’re in the happy cabbie. Life is good! Have no stress! Happy cabbie. Happie. Cabbie. Happy cabbie.” He must have repeated that phrase 30 times in the 15 minute ride from Soho to Park Slope. It was surreal and awesome.

The new Kanye West album is good, too.

What’s your favorite blog?

Cassette From My Ex

Who was the person of the year?

Studs Terkel

What is your New Year’s resolution?

More yoga, more sleep, more clarity.

Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Back to basics.

NYR: dennis cass

From Dennis Cass, author of Head Case:

What was the best book of the year?

Paul Tough’s Whatever It Takes

What was the best movie?

Wall-E

What was the best song/album?

Sad, but true: I haven’t followed new music since my son was born. Thank goodness Tears for Fears sounds as fresh as ever.

What’s your favorite blog?

Nathan Bransford runs a charming, intelligent agent/publishing blog. Not that it matters, but he is also handsome. (blogger’s note: yes! that blog is a favorite of mine. And I’m not just saying that because I know Nathan reads the Olive Reader.)

Who was the person of the year?

If I wanted to try to look cool, then I’d pick someone other than Barack Obama. Instead I’m going to try to look cool by picking Barack Obama.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To be on my computer less. (No offense, Internet!)

Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Only good places.

NYR: torsten krol

Answers from the uber-mysterious (his official bio reads: Torsten Krol is a writer. Nothing further is known about him.)
Torsten Krol, author of Callisto:

What was the best book of the year?

I seldom read books during the year in which they were published, I have so much catching up to do. My recent reading includes War Made Easy by Norman Solomon, in which is related the sad story of American media’s too-cooperative response to Bush’s War on terror post 9/11 re WMD’s and the Osama-Saddam connection. Questions were not raised until the second term, but even then lacked bite until it became obvious the whole house of cards was collapsing. Editors, be skeptical of your government! I’m also reading Elias Canetti’s Auto-da-Fé (1935) in which a pedantic idiot marries unwisely. Know the feeling.

What was the best movie?

Two best movies, and both from the Bradster – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Burn After Reading

What was the best song/album?

I always buy the latest CD of One Hit Wonders, for their encouragement potential.

Favorite Blog?

Don’t pay much attention to them.

Who was the person of the year?

Everybody will be submitting B. Obama, but I’m going for Sarah Palin, who has kindly reminded us of how unblushingly ignorant yet pushy a really unsuitable Republican can be. Tina, keep those costumes for use again in 2012. We have not heard the last from Moosegal.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

I am firmly resolved not to dictate terms to myself.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Into a very crowded toilet.

NYR: sebastian horsley

Answers from Sebastian Horsley, whose sex, drugs, and Savile Row memoir Dandy in the Underworld got him kicked off U.S. soil

What was the best book of the year?

“Dandy in the Underworld.” How can I top that when the logical thing would be to top myself?

What was the best movie?

Any movie, even the worst, is better than real life. I hate real life only as a human being who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. Life lies in a pit, covered in shit. It is a cesspool of buffoonery. It is a place so ugly I treasure my beauty. Oh well, miserable or not, life is the only worthless junk a man possesses; those who love life deserve it.

What was the best song/album?

Mine. I’ve waited so long to sing this song. And if you don’t like it, you’re still going to hear it. Was it a cry, a scream or a song? Who cares? Worship baby. I am not by temperament averse to the messianic role.

Favorite Blog?

Fuck off. That is like asking a man crawling across the Sahara desert if he would prefer Malvern or Perrier water. The worst is not to die of thirst.

Who was the person of the year?

Me. Being banned from your shitty little country – the US of A. Obviously you were frightened of me. I was a threat to national insecurity.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To be known by everyone in the whole world, to sleep with everyone in the whole world, and to be adored by everyone in the whole world. Apart from that – nothing really.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

We’re in a sewage pipe baby. We’re going to have to crawl along it until we die. Oh but what about Obama I hear you squeal. A black at the White house! He’s no more black than you are me. Everyone’s coloured, or you wouldn’t be able to see them. He’s half-black half -white. Must be confusing for the cunt. Doesn’t know whether to rob you or shoot you. Don’t be fooled. Men who have greatness within them don’t go in for politics. He’s just another white at the Black house.

Our fate lies not in the stars but in ourselves – a star.

Good fucking night. Happy Kiss My Ass.

NYR: lee konstantinou

From Lee Konstantinou, author of the upcoming Pop Apocalypse: A Possible Satire:

What was the best book of the year?

I was impressed by Joseph O’Neill’s NETHERLAND. The man writes beautiful sentences. Marilynne Robinson’s HOME is pretty amazing, too.

What was the best movie?

This has been a pretty bad movie year for me, one of the worst on record. I’ve been too holed up writing — dissertation, fiction — to get out and about. New episodes of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA are about as close as I’ve gotten to a favorite moving picture kind of entertainment/art.

What was the best song/album?

I’ve been listening to Vampire Weekend’s self-titled first album far more than I perhaps should. It’s a bit addictive.

Favorite Blog?

Glenn Greenwald’s Salon.com blog is one of the most intelligent and relentless political blogs out there. If there is some bloggy equivalent of the Pulitzer, he should win it for his spot on coverage and analysis of the FISA amendment battle.

Who was the person of the year?

No doubt about this one: Sarah Palin. She turned a seemingly played out presidential election into an episode out of THE ONION. The fact that McCain-Palin didn’t win made the whole farce merely funny rather than funny and horrifying. I fear for 2012.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To develop something resembling a social life in ’09.

Where do you see the world going in 2009?

2009 is the year we all become economists, cause all our futures are hanging in the balance. And that’s no joke.

NYR: hugh van dusen

Responses from esteemed editor Hugh Van Dusen:

Best book: IN SPITE OF MYSELF by Christopher Plummer (knopf)
Best movie: FROST/NIXON
Best song: I don’t do songs
Best blog: ditto
Person of the Year: Obama
New Year’s resolution: I couldn’t possibly go public with this.

NYR: ross raisin

From Ross Raisin, author of Out Backward and owner of the best accent I’ve ever heard:

What was the best book of the year? The Wolf, Joseph Smith.

What was the best movie? Il y a longtemps que je t’aime.

What was the best song/album? Not sure what their album is called, but the one by a band called Daisy, Kit and Lewis

Favorite Blog? I still don’t really understand fully what a blog is.

Who was the person of the year? Boris Johnson. Just kidding. Obama.

What is your New Year’s resolution? Not to let anything get in the way of writing.

NYR: scott heim

From Scott Heim, author of the excellent We Disappear and Mysterious Skin, one of my all-time favorites:

What was the best book of the year?

As usual, there’s a stack of books beside my bed that I’ve yet to read. But of the 2008 books I did read:

fiction: Robert Crais, “Chasing Darkness”

poetry: James Tate, “The Ghost Soldiers”

and a sublime classic I hadn’t read until this year:

William Maxwell, “So Long, See You Tomorrow”

What was the best movie?

1st place: Let the Right One In.

A close 2nd: Man On Wire.

What was the best song/album?

I can never pick just one. So here are five:

Portishead, “Third”

Cut Copy, “In Ghost Colours”

MGMT, “Oracular Spectacular”

Mogwai, “The Hawk Is Howling”

Grouper, “Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill”

Favorite Blog?

<a href=“http://passiveaggressivenotes.com” title=”

www.passiveaggressivenotes.com”>Passive Aggressive Notes

Who was the person of the year?

Since anyone in his or her right mind will answer Barack Obama, I’ll change it up a little and say Michelle Obama.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To do something with my frequent-flyer miles.

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

It will probably involve a handbasket. But then again, with the election of Obama, I’m hoping that things can only get better after the past 8 years.

NYR: dan fante

From Dan Fante, author of the upcoming (as in, next fall) 86’d

What was the best book of the year?

Roget’s Thesuarus

What was the best movie?

The Cyalis commercials

What was the best song/album?

Meloncoly Baby

Favorite Blog?

None

Who was the person of the year?

Joe The Plummer

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To resolve my sexual obsession with small furry creatures

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Not to Disneyworld.

NYR: erica barmash

My inbox is empty (well, empty of new year’s resolutions, at least) and it’s time to post my own answers:

What was the best book of the year?

It didn’t come out this year, but In the Woods by Tana French was my favorite. I never knew a thriller could be so beautiful. My second favorite was Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, a book of short stories by Kevin Wilson that won’t officially be released until April of 2009. Of books that were released this year, I really liked Have You Found Her by Janice Erlbaum (a memoir you can believe!), Have You No Shame by Rachel Shukert, and When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson.

What was the best movie?

Say what you will about them, but I was most thrilled with life after seeing Step Up 2: The Streets and Twilight. And blown away by Rachel Getting Married and Revolutionary Road.

What was the best song/album?

I read a lot of books, saw a lot of movies, and watched a lot of TV shows this year. Something had to suffer for it.

Favorite Blog?

My awesome cat news blog, World Wide Whiskers. If we’re talking other people’s blogs, then it’s Jezebel all the way.

Who was the person of the year?

My dad.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Get an agent for the novel I wrote this year, write another one, floss daily, take vitamins, go to disney world

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Someplace good.

January 2009

NYR: diana spechler

Just when you thought it was over, we pull you back in. Here’s another set of resolutions, this time from Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire.

What was the best book of the year?

The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block

What was the best movie?

Burn After Reading

What was the best song/album?

I don’t know…I like the oldies.

Favorite Blog?

Post Secret. Is that a blog?

Who was the person of the year?

If I said anyone but Obama, I would be striving for uniqueness, rather than for honesty. So Obama. But Huckabee is up there, too, because he was so scary. He wound up being a person of the moment, rather than of the year, but it was a scary, scary moment.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

I want to do more selfless acts. Does that sound like a lie? I just read it over and it sounds like a lie.

NYR: jeanette perez

The new year’s resolutions just keep on comin’. Today’s are from editor Jeanette Perez, whose recent books include Who by Fire and Noise.

What was the best book of the year?

This is a tough question for an editor as I think all the authors I work with were top notch this year. I’ll mention a few of the debut authors and their books, which I think you should all seek out: Who by Fire by Diana Spechler, The Bookmaker by Michael J. Agovino, The Bitter Sea by Charles N. Li, Fat Envelope Frenzy by Joie Jager-Hyman, and The Matchmaker of Perigord by Julia Stuart.

What was the best movie?

Well, it definitely wasn’t the new Indiana Jones. I’ve been horrible about going to the movies lately, but I can’t wait to see Wendy and Lucy. I also thought The Dark Knight was great.

What was the best song/album?

Song — Single Ladies by Beyonce

Album – In Rainbows by Radiohead

Favorite Blog?

Jezebel

Who was the person of the year?

Obama (of course!) and my new best email friend David Plouffe

What is your New Year’s resolution?

To read more!!

** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009?

Around the sun again. But seriously, I hope the new year brings some much needed optimism.

NYR: alberto rojas and audrey harris

It’s 4:42 pm on Friday. Spend the last 18 minutes of the day reading this new year’s resolutions double-shot, from publicity hotshots Alberto Rojas and Audrey Harris.

Alberto:
What was the best book of the year? 2666
What was the best movie? Slumdog Millionaire
What was the best song/album?Viva la Vida — Coldplay
Favorite Blog? Towleroad
Who was the person of the year? David Axelrod
What is your New Year’s resolution? More fiber
** Bonus question: Where do you see the world going in 2009? To Wal-mart

Audrey:
What was the best book of the year? Family Planning!
What was the best movie? The Diving Bell and the Butterfly!
What was the best song/album?Skinny Love—Bon Iver!
Favorite Blog? Helado y Asado!
Who was the person of the year? Obama!
What is your New Year’s resolution? To use fewer exclamation marks.

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