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Top Reads of 2015: Fernando Sdrigotti


As always, I wish I could have read more in 2015. That said, it is still hard to cut down to only 10 titles. It needs to be done, though — people love lists. Here is mine, in no particular order.


Michel Mourre, In Spite of Blasphemy (John Lehmann)
A remainder from last year’s summer reading list, In Spite of… is an autobiography that deals with the aftermath of the infamous Notre-Dame affair, and beyond. An interesting and odd book about the prehistory of the Situationist International.


Susana Medina, Philosophical Toys (Dalkey Archive Press)
A witty, funny, and sensual novel, with an unlikely balance of fetishism and philosophical rumination. Medina is one of the most remarkable contemporary writers in London.


Nicolás Mavrakis, El recurso humano (Milena Caserola)
Sadly not translated into English, yet, El recurso… imagines a near future where marketing succeeds in taking over every single aspect of our lives. A dark and funny book from a talented Argentine writer and critic.


Jean Cocteau, The Holy Terrors, trans. Rosamond Lehmann (New Directions)
A strange and slightly disturbing story about a brother and sister living in a fantasy world. Imagine The Cement Garden but by a writer with a sense of humour. This translation has been praised many times, with reason.


Michel Houellebecq, Soumission (Flammarion)
A highly problematic but challenging and well-crafted read, from one of Europe’s most acerbic pens. Undoubtedly reactionary, Soumission also posits very pertinent questions about the future of Europe and French Republicanism.


Darran Anderson, Imaginary Cities (Influx Press)
A fantastic journey through a constellation of ideas about that most familiar and yet alien of spaces, the city. If I believed in miracles I would call Imaginary Cities a miracle. Imagine a book with the wealth and depth of research of an academic monograph, but well-written.


Joachim Schlör, Nights in the Big City (Reaktion Books)
Nights in London, Berlin, and Paris, from 1840 to 1930. Schlör’s book traces the changes in the imaginaries of the city at night, in an engaging and well-researched way. Part of the sadly discontinued Topographics Collection. The good news is that it will be re-released by the publisher in 2016.


Stuart Braun, Berlin, City of Exiles (Noctua Press)
Another well-researched and well-written book, Berlin… explores the radical history of this city through a large parade of exiles, from all walks of life. A rare example of a city’s history recounted mostly through the histories of its immigrant population.


Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (Penguin)
An exploration of images of suffering and death mainly through war photography, by one of the most brilliant writers to have dealt with the power of images.


Robert Sproat, Stunning the Punters (Faber)
Nine accented London stories by a very sensitive and witty writer. At times it is hard to determine whether the focus of these monologues is London life or language itself. Sadly a rare book and an obscure writer. Hopefully more people will read him.

Fernando Sdrigotti is a contributing editor at 3:AM.

Top image: “Old book bindings” by Tom Murphy VII – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

First posted: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015.

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