Keaton's Top 10 Books of 2022

BEST OVERALL BOOK

The Twilight World: A Novel By Werner Herzog, Michael Hofmann (Translated by) Cover Image
By Werner Herzog, Michael Hofmann (Translated by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593490266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - June 14th, 2022

At the age of 80, the legendary and idiosyncratic German filmmaker has now turned to writing fiction as only he could do it. Mingling history, imagination and memory, this astounding novel recounts the real life odyssey of Hiroo Onoda--the Japanese soldier who infamously waged a one man guerrilla war in the Philippines jungle for decades after the end of WWII. It’s a character study like no other by one of the world’s foremost storytellers in any genre…or medium.


THE OBVIOUS CHOICES


Saint Sebastian's Abyss By Mark Haber Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - May 10th, 2022

This choice is not only obvious because Mark is my boy and fellow Brazosian. Although, that’s probably part of it. But the main reason is that his second novel is just so damn good! It’s a ludicrous and poignant takedown of academic criticism told through the relentless rivalry of two ex-friends obsessed with the work of an obscure painter. Oneupmanship and pettiness abound! You’ll come for the dark humor and whirlwind storytelling, but you’ll stay for the holy donkey!


The Passenger By Cormac McCarthy Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780307268990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 25th, 2022

There was no way The Mac’s first novel in 16 years (after The Road) would not make this list. It doesn’t matter that it’s only the first of two companion novels and completely different from the now classic books he’s written before. The exacting minimalist prose, profound ruminations on the human experience, and a pitch perfect sense of place (mostly New Orleans) are all here. This time around, though, the tragic lives of a brother and sister offer up a more Faulknerian exploration of the tension between a haunted past and an uncertain future. It’s a fitting coda to a remarkable literary career. IMHO, Cormac deserves the Nobel.


LET'S GO TO THE MOVIES...AND READ


It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror By Joe Vallese (Editor), Carmen Maria Machado (Contribution by), Bruce Owens Grimm (Contribution by) Cover Image
By Joe Vallese (Editor), Carmen Maria Machado (Contribution by), Bruce Owens Grimm (Contribution by)
$25.95
ISBN: 9781952177798
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Feminist Press - October 4th, 2022

This collection of queer critics’ takes on horror movies--from The Exorcist to Us and beyond--is indispensable for lovers of the spookies, as well as anyone who likes taking deep dives into the fetid depths of pop culture. Spanning decades of cinema, the complicated relationship between horror and its LGBTQIA+ fans is dissected here into the good, the bad, and the terrifying. It’s an illuminating and entertaining read about all our favorite nightmares.  


My Life as a Godard Movie By Joanna Walsh Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781945492648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - October 18th, 2022

Intelligent. Probing. Melancholy. This thin volume uses the films of the celebrated French New Wave auteur as a jumping off point for a soul searching inquiry into the nature of beauty. Who decides what/who is beautiful? What does our attraction to beautiful people and our own attempts to become more so say about us? Part film criticism, memoir, and feminist theory, it’s a book-length essay to unpack over many readings.


Cinema Speculation By Quentin Tarantino Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780063112582
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Harper - November 1st, 2022

Arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of the past 30 years, Quentin Tarantino delves into the movies that shaped him. Bullitt (Steve McQueen!), Deliverance (Ned Beatty!), The Funhouse (Tobe Hooper!), and many more get their own close readings, along with Q’s views on Hollywood culture during the mid 20th century and his own moviegoing memories. Manic, insightful, and undoubtedly cool. What more is there to say?  


THE THROWBACKS


The Ballad of Black Tom By Victor LaValle Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250817556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - September 6th, 2022

Re-released just this year in a snazzy new hardcover edition (and originally published in 2016), LaValle’s cult novella reimagines HP Lovecraft’s story "The Horror at Red Hook" from the perspective of a Black character. It is one of the finest examples of the recent trend in “reclaimed” literature, most notably for its tandem condemnation of Lovecraft’s virulent racism and adulation for the particular brand of eldritch horror he unleashed upon the world. Read it now in preparation for LaValle’s newest novel, Lone Women coming next March!


Norse Mythology By Neil Gaiman Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393356182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 6th, 2018

Adventure, humor and magic abound! The stories of Odin, Thor, Loki, and all the other gods of the ancient North made for great bedtime reading with my son this year. Although coming from famously fragmented sources, Gaiman’s masterful retelling weaves these myths together into a flowing prose narrative that is just the perfect introduction to these thrilling tales. It’s always a pleasure to revisit Asgard.


FOR THE KIDS


The Ogress and the Orphans By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781643750743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - March 8th, 2022

 

Another great bedtime read for my boy and me! I thoroughly enjoyed Newbery winner Barnhill’s latest middle grade novel. It’s a heartwarming work of fantasy but also a thinly veiled critique of the forces that can make or break a community. The generous Ogress only wants to find a welcoming home of her own, but the nefarious mayor of the nearby town directs the simmering anger of the unhappy citizens against her. Now, only a retinue of enterprising orphans and a talkative murder of crows can help her. It’s a socially conscious fantasy everyone can enjoy. 


Shuna's Journey By Hayao Miyazaki, Alex Dudok de Wit (Translated by) Cover Image
By Hayao Miyazaki, Alex Dudok de Wit (Translated by)
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250846525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - November 1st, 2022

While not purposely written for children, this graphic novel/manga from the legendary creator of Studio Ghibli’s panoply of anime classics, can be read and cherished by any reader. Originally published in 1983 but only now finding its way into English translation, this is an epic quest adventure told through sparse narration and sumptuous illustrations. A young prince leaves his home in search of a sacred grain that can change his people’s fortune. However, what he finds will test the very fabric of his heart and mind. A timeless tale to share for generations.


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