10. Marcovaldo, by Italo Calvino
The main character in Marcovaldo is called Marcovaldo. I like him a lot. I think he is a good person trying to do his best and I like that about him. Calvino could do anything he wanted.
9. Et Tu, Babe, by Mark Leyner
Lots of things happen in this little book. The President explains how he has sex with his wife who is the size of a Times New Roman lower-case ‘o’. I like the blurb on this book almost as much as the book itself: “A portrait of the artist as a flashbulb-tanned, steroid-swollen, priapic monster.” Good, right?
8. Pafko at the Wall , by Don DeLillo
I think this on its own is probably better than Underworld as a whole. I feel strongly that DeLillo did something very right with this. When I think of it, I think of sick all over Frank Sinatra’s sleeve.
7. Snow White, by Donald Barthelme
Out of everyone, I am most happy that Barthelme existed. I like to hold this book in front of my face and flick the pages and sort of half pay attention. “A canned good is more interesting than him.” Such a good line.
6. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, by George Saunders
I felt sad and political when I read this. Saunders makes me feel how serious silliness is. He makes me optimistic and scared.
5. Small Pale Humans, by Daniel Spinks
This is my favourite thing on the internet. Bear Parade was among the first things I read when I was starting to appreciate ‘internet literature’. Small Pale Humans is almost certainly the longest thing that I have read on the internet without realizing I was reading something on the internet.
4. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
I am 90% certain that The Metamorphosis is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. There’s an audio version of it that I absolutely love. In my imagination, I am giving Kafka a hug with my trousers around my ankles, crying my eyes out.
3. In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan
This book is the most gentle thing I have ever read.
2. Christie Malry Own Double Entry, by B.S. Johnson
I wish people like B.S. Johnson wouldn’t kill themselves. It seems much more difficult with the knowledge that B.S. Johnson, John Kennedy Toole and David Foster Wallace couldn’t hang on. Just now I want to squat on the kitchen counter and for my head to explode, straight upwards, and keep going.
1. The Dead, by James Joyce
I feel embarrassed trying to write about The Dead. If you haven’t read The Dead, read The Dead. If you have, perhaps you know what I mean.
Crispin Best’s debut chapbook MEN was recently published. His short fiction has appeared online at Eyeshot, Wigleaf, Robot Melon and many others. He has lived in Tokyo, Manchester and Cambridge but now lives back in London, next door to the house he grew up in. Find him HERE.