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Josh Landon’s top 5 books of 2012

By Josh Landon

The Passage of Power by Robert Caro
The fourth volume in Caro’s (insert hyperbolic adjective here) Lyndon Johnson biography is a must-read for his depiction of Robert Kennedy alone. Wow, who knew he was such a [expletive deleted]?

Zona by Geoff Dyer
Ostensibly a shot-by-shot analysis Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film “Stalker,” this book quickly spins off the rails (as is Geoff Dyer’s trademark) into long and fascinating discursions about the authors lifelong desires and regrets, and whether we actually, deep down, really want what we think we want. I should probably add that it’s also extremely funny.

Rule & Ruin by Geoffrey Kabaservice
Geoff Kabaservice’s supremely readable and entertaining book about the collapse of a moderate wing within the Republican Party couldn’t be more relevant in light of the country’s ongoing fiscal cliff/plan B/debt ceiling debates which are, apparently, never going away. Ever.

NW by Zadie Smith
Worth reading if only for Zadie Smith’s incredible ear for dialogue. An insightful, if frequently uncomfortable, look at urban life in the 21st century.

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
This story about the rise and fall of a fictional upstate New York commune in the 1970’s was my outside-my-comfort-zone read of the year. It’s the kind of book you get excited about by the time you get halfway through because you realize you now have the perfect Birthday/Mother’s Day/Christmas gift for the next year.

Bonus Book (originally published in 2008)
How to Be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to Not Hating Work by Megan Hustad
I deeply regret not having the opportunity to read this book in my early/mid 20s. The book, which culls the best ideas from a century’s worth of “career” books (some brilliant, some tacky), is filled with ideas and suggestions that will flat-out make you a happier person.

Josh Landon is a National Account Representative to Barnes & Noble, Follett, & BAM for Oxford University Press, and the B&N Rookie of the Year 2012 Award winner.

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