Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sad Boston news, and Useful Best-Book Lists

It's funny how, when Christopher leaves the country, I suddenly find so much to blog about.

First, I'm sad to have confirmed what I'd suspected was going on: the great indie/activist South End Press has officially left the Boston area. They had talked about opening this NY office, but it wasn't clear whether they were moving all operations there. It seems they have. They are now housed at the Medgar Evers College of City University of New York and are working wtih the college’s Center for Black Literature and DuBois Bunch Center for Public Policy.

I'm particularly sad as the Press is named after my neighborhood, which is showing fewer and fewer signs of the activist spirit that was once so strong, having fallen victim to serious gentrification. I take refuge in that gentrification, I suppose, but I also find it deeply troubling. Alas, the Lucy Parsons Center - the "independent, non-profit, radical bookstore and community space" - remains in the 'hood... for now.

Having said all that, I hope the South End Press prospers in their new home and continues to publish amazing, important books.

I also wanted to post today about best-of lists that are more than just your typical best-fiction round-ups of the year (which are so dominated by the usual suspects, both in authors and in publishers). Though there isn't much more indie cred found in these lists, I did enjoy two somewhat different takes on this idea:

  • The Guardian did a Best of the Decade list, including reviews of certain titles.
  • Details did a list of The 25 Greatest Gen X Books of All Time, which was their effort to show that men do, in fact, read, and read somewhat widely. I was surprised by some choices - such as Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies - and disappointed in others - including Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors, which really is a fail, folks - but there was a lot to like on the list. (Thanks to Jeff Gordinier for giving me the heads-up about it, though they accidentally missed his own X Saves the World!)

For those who love to read every best-of-year book list you can find, head over to see the full list provided by Largehearted Boy. You can spend hours clicking away!

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