Monday, December 20, 2010

I recommend Keith Richards “Life” to anyone who still cares about rock ‘n’ roll music. This is the story of the Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones are what rock ‘n’ roll is about. Younger people don’t get it. For many under 50-year-olds, no doubt for many over, the Rolling Stones are just this crap old band that has put out mediocre music for decades. I agree with all that, and think they would be better off if they had broken up in 1973, leaving a clean legacy, much as the Beatles did. The old Rolling Stones vs. Beatles war is done. The Beatles won. It was a massacre. But history has not had its final say. The Stones put out 7 brilliant rock records that stand up well, as far as I am concerned they put to shame, any and all of the Beatles discography. In case there is doubt those 7 records are: Out of Our Heads, Aftermath, Between the Buttons, Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Finger and Exile On Main Street. I find it curious I can put "Life" at the top of my favorite books of 2010 without shame. Probably says something about 2010. Probably says something about me.


  1. Keith Richards: Life (Little Brown)
  2. Patti Smith: Just Kids (Ecco)
  3. Tana French: Faithful Place (Viking)
  4. Rob Young: Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music (Faber and Faber, UK)
  5. Jennifer Egan: A Visit From the Goon Squad (Knopf)
  6. Lane Smith: It’s A Book (Roaring Brook)
  7. Paul Auster: Sunset Park (Henry Holt)
  8. Abdul Salam Zaeef: My Life With the Taliban (Columbia)
  9. Cynthia Ozick: Foreign Bodies (Houghton Mifflin)
  10. Karl Marlantes: Matterhorn (Grove/Atlantic)
  11. Mick Houghton: Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman’s Visionary Record Label (Jaw Bone)
  12. Martin Amis: The Pregnant Widow (Knopf)
  13. Greil Marcus: When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison (PublicAffairs)
  14. Philip Dray: There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America (Doubleday)
  15. Chris Hedges: Death of the Liberal Class (Nation)
  16. Jonathan Franzen: Freedom (FSG)
  17. Ian McEwan: Solar (Nan A. Talese)
  18. Declan Kiberd: Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece (Norton)
  19. Andrew Hsiao & Audrea Lim: The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad (Verso)
  20. Orly Castel-Bloom: Dolly City (Dalkey Archive)
  21. Christopher Hitchens: Hitch 22 (12 Twelve)
  22. Safiya Bukhari: The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison & Fighting for those left behind (Feminist Press)
  23. Eric Davidson: We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988 – 2001 (Backbeat)
  24. Julian Rios: The House of Ulysses (Dalkey Archive)