Are we jumping on the decade-ending bandwagon? Way. Still, when your goal is to change lives, its not always clear how you're going to accomplish this. So, as we began prepare our year-end Top Ten lists we started thinking about the last decade as well and like everybody else we thought we would weigh-in on what we liked and/or influenced us and/or brought us joy. Over this week we are going to hit books, movies, television and music. And then next week, or shortly thereafter, we will begin rolling-out our year-end lists. Cool? Great.
(1) Cruddy by Lynda Barry (2000). There is maybe no book other than The Basketball Diaries that we aspire to writing more.
(2) Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (2000). Fathers, sons, pain. And killer graphics.
(3) American Skin by Don De Grazia (2000). Quite simply, we read this and we believed we could write the book that would become Lucky Man.
(4) Radiant Days by Michael A. Fitzgerald (2007). A debut novel like few others. All hail the Fitzgerald.
(5) Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Nico Henrichon (2006). War is hell. And then some.
(6) Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno (2004). Compulsively readable and we don't care what Jason Pettus thinks about that.
(7) Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman (2004). Pop culture as an endlessly humorous intellectual exercise.
(8) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (2006). Uhhhm, wow.
(9) When The Messenger is Hot by Elizabeth Crane (2004). Short stories, slamming and true, not to mention the inspiration for the delightful Ms. Crane becoming the long-time muse for this blog.
(10) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (2000). Too good. We never understood why people hate on the Eggers and we still don't.
The next twelve (in no particular order): Vacation by Jeremy Shipp (2007), Breaking it Down by Rusty Barnes (2007), Black Flies by Shannon Burke (2008), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000), Dear Everybody by Michael Kimball (2008), Half Empty by Tim Hall (2004), Stories by Scott McClanahan (2008), The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginetta Correli (2008), Three Fallen Women by Amy Guth (2006), Bughouse by Steve Lafler (2001), The Love Book by Ken Wohlrob (2007), Talk: A Novel in Dialogue by Corey Mesler (2002).
And finally, as we worked on this list we were struck by how many of these books came out around 2000 and that there was even some other work we hoped we would be able to include such as Naked by David Sedaris (1998) and Meditations from a Movable Chair by Andre Dubus (1999) that as turns out came out just prior to the new Millenium. But then it hit us, we started writing around 1999 and during those first few years as we tried to find some traction many of these authors pointed the way and gave us hope, not because we thought we could be as good as them, but because what they wrote about spoke to us and spoke to what we hoped to write ourselves.