Okay, time for me to update my totals. I read some of these quite a while ago, so the synopses might not be so great.
5. Shoplifting From American Apparel
by Tao Lin
This guy is kind of infamous for having a very unconventional style. It's very blank and unadorned feeling - which I think is an intentional stylistic decision on the writer's part. Anyway, this is about the driftings of unmoored youth in the 21st century. The characters mostly have few prospects, few goals, and little in the way of things to do. There's a mixture of sadness, rage, and joy expressed throughout the book, and this left me feeling a bit weird. Not for everyone, but this is a cheap, short introduction to Tao Lin's style.
6. Star Maker
by Olaf Stapledon
Supposedly seminal science-fiction. I did not care for this at all. At times way too didactic, and at other times boring inventories of various species of alien. The narrative picked up a bit in the second half of the story, but at this point in the history of science-fiction it's pretty much standard fare. Not recommended at all.
7. Land Grid
by Mike Kitchell
This is a chapbook with three short stories in it that a guy I kinda/sorta know wrote. There's a strong element of psycho-sexual, sometimes "Lynchian" horror running through the whole thing. It's totally sold out, but you can download the PDF via his website
. It's still a bit rough around the edges in places, but he's constantly releasing new stuff and refining his style.
8. The Leviathan
by Joseph Roth
Another short one. A story about the downfall and possible redemption of a Jewish coral merchant in Tsarist Russia at the close of 19th century. Works in an interesting allegory about sin and temptation and - maybe - the devil. I highly recommend it.
9. Customer Service
by Benoît Duteurtre
A story about alienation as a result of the customer service industry in the modern era. Started out with a bit of a Kafka-esque feeling (specifically as in The Trial
), but then took a few twists and turns that were both expected and unexpected. I had mixed feelings on this, and you might relate to it more or less than I did, depending on your political feelings and your past experiences with customer service.