Michael Rock

Graphic Designer / United States / 2x4

Michael Rock’s Book List

My list is comprised of books I admire for diverse reasons: the structure of the sentences, narrative complexity, the relationship to other books, the use of genre, the singular voice of the author. I draw from them differently. Some I use as models for argument, others I read to refresh my ear when I have been stuck on something, still others remind me to be more daring or fearless. My list is heavily weighted toward novels as they are the most important to me.

2 books
Janet Malcolm

An elegant essayist from the pages of The New Yorker, Malcolm is a fascinating analyst and intricate structuralist. While this book-length essay encompasses all her techniques, my favorite essay is her magazine profile of the artist David Salle composed entirely of possible first paragraphs from a potential profile.

Joan Didion

Joan Didion is another brilliant sentence composer with a clear, unflinching approach to her subjects. The essays are almost perfectly structured and I often attempt her stirring combination of the autobiographical and the cultural. Didion is able to capture the essence of a specific moment in subtle but precise ways.

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