Edited by Greil Marcus
Stranded explores a concept that I've always been intrigued by because of my penchant for list-making: if you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one cd with you, which one would it be? Essays were collected from about 20 rock critics, answering the question.
I've been meaning to read it ever since I read Marooned, the second book in the series, published in 2007 (Stranded was published in 1978). The essays in Marooned were so smart and witty, I found myself laughing and excited even reading about albums I didn't care for. Stranded did have a group of essays which had a similar effect, but this one felt somewhat more formal; many of the people just wrote a very straight-forward piece on their favorite album, without at all playing around with the concept of being stuck on the island (which is where most of the humor came from with Marooned). However, there were still some gems, and if I put aside the concept and just look at the essays for being a piece on an album, I'd say they were pretty solid. One of the most exciting parts of the book was the 50 page addendum called the Treasure Chest, a large list of albums and songs that the editor thought were "unmissable" in the world of rock music. Despite being written sort of glossary style, the notes written with the entires made it my favorite part of the book. Overall, I'd give it about 3/5.
Books read this year: 8