Friday Round-up: what some of us at Shelf Life Books are into right now…

Brendan: 100 Bullets: Brother Lono is a great continuation of Brian Azzarello’s award winning series, illustrated by Eduardo Risso. It’s the usual grimy, violent, hyper-graphic, drug fuelled, revenge based trip you’d expect. If you liked any of Azzarello and Risso’s previous work, this is definitely worth the read.

Jesse: Reading Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky. Considered one of the best sci-fi novels of all time, despite being not widely available since its publication in 1972. Circles the black market underground sustained by the off-limits Zone, a dangerous area littered with mysterious objects left behind by alien visitors.

Karlene: Fanny Howe‘s Radical Love, a collection of five previously out-of-print/obscure novels: Nod, The Deep North, Famous Questions, Saving History & Indivisible. If you grew up reading & loving Anais Nin, then somewhat grew out of Anais Nin, drawn to something more political, slightly grittier, still lovely, as contemplative, more philosophical, more rage, more children/childhood as root cause of later event(s), etc., then you should probably be reading Fanny Howe. Better known for her prize-winning poetry – her newest collection came out in July (she is 73) – though often referenced by both Chris Kraus (Aliens & Anorexia, I Love Dick, I deeply love these genre-indifferent works of fiction/biography/memoir/philosophy) & Masha Tupitsyn (Love Dog, Beauty Talk & Monsters, essays & fiction as filtered through film theory/cultural critique, very very good, I cannot emphasize enough).

Emily: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He explains the necessity of having capital in a form such as shares or land, & inequality as being largely a part of cultural or social backgrounds & inheritance of wealth. Adam Smith’s dream is unrealizable because of inherited wealth as opposed to labour wages.

Kevin: Michel Houellebecq‘s The Possibility of an Island – clones, cults, the future, and sex-crazed entertainers populate Michel Houellebecq’s bleak survey of our increasingly hedonistic present. The train of mini-essays/exegeses that litter the novel are, as usual, completely spot-on, precise, and completely depressing; no one quite writes like Houellebecq: sabre-sharp while melancholic, somehow simultaneously removing all hope for mankind while quietly restoring it. Cloned thumbs in the air.

Jesse: Loved the graphic novel The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, featuring Maggie from Love and Rockets. Read a 14-pg excerpt here.