donlon books’ most brilliant reads of 2016

Conor Donlon and the team at Donlon Books share the books that got them most excited this year.

20 December 2016, 10:35am

Walk to the top of Broadway Market, in east London, and on the left, just before you hit the crossing to London Fields, directly across from the Cat and Mutton is one of London's most loved literary lairs. Specialising in works you're unlikely to find in the more pedestrian of bookstores, Donlon's is home to a library of the unusual, the beautiful, the outrageous and the rare. For their picks of 2016, the team at Donlon have split the books that impressed the most into those that you can look at lovingly and those which you can read with wonder. From lost plays and ideas around augmented reality, to the New York club scene of the 80s, prepare to be thrilled and intrigued by Donlon's most brilliant books of 2016.


Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler
JRP-Ringier, (second edition) 2016

We love this book, which features over a thousand objects, and ephemera from the artist Tony Oursler's private archive. Lots of strange, dark stuff in here relating to the occult, demonology, magic, the's right up our alley.

Washington Square by Dave Heath
Stanley Barker, 2016

Portraits taken during the late 1950s in and around New York's Washington Square of the outsiders, misfits, beatniks, and hippies who hung out there.

ZZYZX by Gregory Halpern
MACK, 2016

A mesmerising portrait of contemporary California, with photographs that have Halpern's light, distinctive touch. Won Photobook of the Year at Paris Photo.

Making Memeries By Lucas Blalock
SPBH Editions, 2016

A pretty incredible book. Features a new series of photographs by Blalock, each of which can be "activated" via an app which was specially designed for the book. An inventive take on augmented reality.

Beyond the Clouds by HART+LËSHKINA

This is the first book by duo HART+LËSHKINA, with intimate photographs that straddle the line between art and fashion. 


Drugs by Cookie Mueller & Glenn O'Brien
The Kingsboro Press, 2016

A lost play, written back in 1983 and never before published or performed.

Life and Death On The New York Dance Floor by Tim Lawrence
Duke University Press, 2016

A chronicle of the New York club scene of the early 1980s. Rigorously researched, with great track listings from all the iconic venues of the era.

Chelsea Girls: A Novel by Eileen Myles
HarperCollins, 2016

This is great, just great. A kind of autobiographical novel by an incredible poet. Filthy, funny - a perfect book.

The Argonauts by Maggie NelsonMelville House, 2016

Sort of queer theory, sort of memoir - unlike any other book we're ever read.

True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell by William E. Jones
We Heard You Like Books, 2016

Probably best to quote John Waters on this one: "Boyd McDonald may have been an alcoholic, sex-obsessed lunatic who masturbated chronically while encouraging his perverted readers to send in endless descriptions of their gay sex lives with heterosexual men but he remained pure in spirit. His 'Straight To Hell' chapbooks join Valerie Solanas's 'SCUM Manifesto' as the most radical (and hilarious) filth classics in modern literature."