Another year without a clear winner... But nonetheless a bunch of notable books.
Scanning the 'Best Books of the Year' lists these past weeks yielded, without major surprises: Patti Smith's memoir, Justin Spring's Samuel Steward, Moffat's Forster, Christopher Hitchen's memoir, Edmund White's City Boy, Christopher Isherwood's diaries, The Sixties (Chatto & Windus), Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall.
In the TLS, Clive James points to Paterson's 'wild and wonderful' Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets (Faber). Andrew Graham-Dixon's Caravaggio (Allen Lane) was mentioned twice. David Wooton writes:
The evidence for Caravaggio's life is fragmentary - Primarily a series of court cases involving sex and violence - but Graham-Dixon turns the very recalcitrance of the material into an enthralling read, and he makes the paintings speak with astonishment eloquence. Graham-Dixon is first-rate on Counter-Reformation spirituality, but, surprisingly, he doesn't seem to have read enough about the history of sex - there is no reference to Michael Rocke's Forbidden Friendships or Tessa Storey's Carnal Commerce. Wad Caravaggio really a pious pimp, as Graham-Dixon suggests? Read the book, and decide for yourself.
In the Financial Times: Sviatoslav Richter's biography by Karl Aage Rasmussen (Northeastern University Press).
As last year Band of Thebes asked several dozens of authors to select their favorite LGBT books. Neil Bartlett reminded me of Journeying Boy, the early diaries of Benjamin Britten (Faber and Faber).
In French, the Lautréamont volume in La Pléiade, Rimbaud's posthumous correspondence by Jean-Jacques Lefrère, and the second volume of Mauriac's biography by Jean-Luc Barré, are worth mentioning...
A very happy New Year, and hopefully, soon, Cedilla by Adam Mars-Jones (I have pre-ordered it at Amazon.com)...