My Best of 2004

Alas, everyone else is doing it… I’m not usually very current with my consumption, so here is my very short list of favorites from 2004:

New Novel:

Vanishing Point, David Markson (Perhaps not as great as his previous This is Not a Novel, but still worth much more than most novels)

New in Paperback:

VAS: An Opera in Flatland, Steve Tomasula (Review forthcoming, formally inventive and topically relevant)

Poetry:

New Impressions of Africa, Raymond Roussel (Review will be up on Monday)

Short Fiction:

Novelties and Souvenirs, John Crowley (I prefer his novels, but he is a wonderful writer of realistic fantasy)

Comics:

Locas: The Maggie and Hopey Stories, Jaime Hernandez (700 pages in the life of… epic and mundane, beautiful simple art)

Buddha Volumes 3-4, Osamu Tezuka (the godfather of Japanese comics fictionalizes the Buddha’s life, quality Japanese comic that is overshadowed by the proliferation of really bad ones)

Music:

Sonic Youth “Sonic Nurse” (The best album they’ve done since… “Daydream Nation”)

P.J. Harvey “Uh Huh Her” (bluesy, rocking, I can’t stop listening to it)

Denison Witmer “The River Bends and Flows Into the Sea” (A Philly local who writes great songs, indie rock-ish)

TV on DVD:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons 6 and 7 (Some people malign the last two seasons, but this is pure gold television)

Millenium Season 1 (Really really dark, which isn’t usually my style, but I couldn’t stop watching and eagerly await Season 2 in January)

New TV:

Lost (a nice blend of reality and fantasy, with a great sense of pacing, and a slow unveiling of characters)

Veronica Mars (Not only a fun, well written show, but one of the few I’ve seen that takes on class disparity on a regular basis)

Movie:

The Saddest Music in the World, Guy Maddin (Odd, beautiful, grainy, funny, and I’ll be damned if there isn’t some political metaphor in there about public outcries of pain and sadness)

Honorable Mention for Novels that Came out Last Year Which I Want to Recommend Anyway:

Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore (Many may know him for his comics (Watchmen, From Hell, Promethea) but this proves that he can write prose too, a centuries spanning work revolving around Moore’s home of Birmingham, England)

Oracle Night, Paul Auster (this continues many of Auster’s preoccupations and tropes, but it is to his credit that it feels new and inventive)

My Paris, Gail Scott (see my review)

The Blond Box, Toby Olson (Duchamp, a science fiction novel, a murder mystery, a meditation on art and sexuality, Olson has it all and it’s wonderful)