d e t a i l s

  i try to make reading a daily part of my existence. there are a number of reasons for this but i imagine you're interested in exactly zero of them. so deem yourself spared. as for how i choose what to read, i use a genre-based rotation. the rotation changes from time to time but below is the present pattern:

POPULAR FICTION (e.g. ken follet, dan brown, john grisham)
CLASSIC LITERATURE (e.g. alexandre dumas, victor hugo, charles dickens)
SCI-FI/FANTASY (e.g. isaac asimov, orson scott card, robert heinlein)
PHILOSOPHICAL (anything from raw philosophy to the merits of bhudism)
MODERN LITERATURE (e.g. upton sinclair, william faulkner, theodore dreiser)
INSTRUCTIONAL (something towards making a better me)
HISTORICAL BEST-SELLER (from the kahn reading project)
NON-FICTION (e.g. michael lewis, jon krakauer, bill bryson)

the purpose of the above serpentine is rut and glut avoidance. i am desperate to not become a boorish one-category reader and i also love (!!!) the sweeping arcs of subject matter landscapes this practice forces my mind to ambulate through. from a fox hole in WWII europe to solar systems not yet seen (and in times not yet conceived) to how to make your child laugh more to the roman forum at its peak the potential behind this exercise offers limitless candy and vitamins for your mind (and soul).

if you think i'm missing a category, i'd appreciate to hear your argument. and, i'm ever interested in hearing about people's favorite reads, so please hit me up with yours.

The Clan of the Cave Bear
Jean M. Auel

READ BEFORE BOOKS FROM : 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017


Lake Wobegon Summer 1956
Garrison Keillor

people either seem to hate or love ole garrison. i certainly don't hate him so i must fall more on the love side, although it seems a little strong. not many can argue his ability to tell a story. he's good. i think the burn for many is the connectibility they have with his tales. depending on where and who you are, you may not be able to identify with his yarns and if that's the case, i reckon he could be little bumpy to read.

in summer, garrison deals with one of the age-old issues our society just can't seem to best ... sexual maturation. the agony our young people go through in our culture seems absolutely inane. everyone knows about it, everyone lived it, yet many can't seem to recall their awkward, questioning periods for anything. our elders are fearful of what this means and often times what was ok for them, ain't ok for their youngins'. hopefully works such as this will take us back to when we struggled with this period of our lives so that we may better associate with our children as they venture on this tumultuous and sucky ride.
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The Two Towers
J.R.R. Tolkien

i do not subscribe to some people's rule of finishing books you start. if i don't like a book for any reason, i put it down. i simply have too many books i hope to read to spend time on one that isn't panning out. i have a short list (20) of books stacked in my bedroom that are on the to be read next list and another 100 in my library that have been directed to me in one manner or another. what is unique about this book is that this list is reserved for those that i have finished and even though i did not complete this one, i have something to say.

i read and enjoyed the hobbit. when very young, i tried this subsequent series but it did not hold my attention and i moved on. when i heard the movie was coming out, i decided to give it another try in that i hate how movies ruin any potential enjoyment to be had by reading the (always-better) book it was based on. the first book in this series was ok. at the end i felt it was a pretty long path for a fairly basic story. this second one is even worse. i'm 150 pages into it and these guys haven't done a thing but walk around the country looking for each other. sure, they bump into a curious fellow or two along the way, but that's about it. they prattle on about who they know and where they come from and sing the occasional weird-ass song about what i honestly cannot say because i've learned to skip any longish italicized sections in tolkien's works (studied on their own they may possess merit, but interspersed as they are they simply prolong my agony). in the end i have concluded that if these ax and bow wielding do-gooders had a car this series would not be a trilogy but instead an 80-page novella.
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The Corrections
Jonathan Franzen

i typically only read books that come highly recommended from some source i deem reliable. this was one such book. the danger with this routine is that with adulation comes expectation and when it is not quick to deliver, i am quick to tire. i'm sure in the right time, right place and right frame of mind, it may have caught my rapture a little sooner but as things were, it did not.

that is not to say though that it didn't have some really great moments and phrases and imagery, it's just to say that the book came highly recommended and well we've already covered that.
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A Painted House
John Grisham

i am a student of english, used to be at least. i appreciate and respect the written word, always have and quite likely forever will. and while i revel in the technical capabilities of our language's writers the first and foremost requirement in this craft for me is the story beneath the text. now granted a story told in a ingenious and innovative way offers a literary thrill to a word-dork like me, but the story cannot get lost in the science. t.s. elliot for instance, considered by many to have written some of the most eloquent and skilled prose ever seen, in my eyes loses the reader in morass of language and style therefore rendering his wasteland and other efforts impotent to move most humans. this is tragic. painted house is not. and because of this it resides on the opposite end of the spectrum. it is raw, uncut storytelling whose delivery is so brazenly simple, it reminds one of listening to an aged relative rocking in a chair, sitting on a porch, staring up at a tree as they talk about their youth. hat tipped.
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Ghost Story
Peter Straub

every time i read a book of this ilk, i swear at its conclusion that i will never read another book of this ilk. yet here i am years later, rifling through the pages, subconsciously noting the number of times i furrow my brow or think "what?!? that so couldn't happen". this condition is called recidivism. basically, as a younger fellow, i devoured these books staying up till i'd see the sun cutting through the slats of my bamboo blinds only to sleep through first, second and third periods hours later. i reckon it's something as simple as exposure and reality that make it difficult to enjoy the likes of king or straub anymore. for me, reminiscence makes this hard given i have more sentimentality in my body than i have water. and, because of this i too occasionally venture to my roots in attempt to experience this sense of youth once again. all that doesn't matter though because after reading this quasi-respectable effort for its genre, i'm totally done. for good. baked. i swear. never again. and i could'nt mean this any more than i do.

see you in a couple of years.
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The Moviegoer
Walker Percy

i remember a professor once waxing on about when reading or writing significant literature, every angle, sentence and even word should matter and be carefully selected and crafted. after attempting this a time or a hundred i concluded it unreasonable and discarded the advice as pedantic nonsense. my process became one of throwing buckets of words on a stack and pointing to the tangible pile in the morning, clapping my hands and exclaiming "all done." then, later, i would read someone else's pile of words, like percy here, and see how mud hut my construction appeared in contrast. and then even later you finally get what that doddering old prof was prattling on about. moviegoer's creation came from such loins and each angle, sentence and word carries imagery and observation and in the end you not only see the world but also feel it and know it with unexpected realism and clarity. simply, percy's skillful use of language should leave you dumbfounded. but allow me to qualify that by adding in order to get dumbfounded one must slow down their mind and read in an almost tantric state, letting the words move them and not the other way around as is our compulsion. because when absorbed properly it's like riding atop a verbal mosh pit and someone keeps grabbing your ass.
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Eric Begosian

hmmm. what to say? something positivish. something reasonable. something not scathing.

well, the cover's kind of cool.
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The Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Wolfe

bonfire is a schizophrenic read in that the deep and numerous characters keep this work moving all over the scale. one minute you're in the head of a crack dealer and the next in the pants of a money marrying trollop from the south. if you elect to read this i suggest taking long pauses in your day to spend in its pages else you may find yourself spending as much time recalling what circle of society your currently visiting as you do actually reading the text. overall bonfire tells an entertaining story but smacks of a lot of work ingesting it.
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Chuck Palahniuk

the only movie i have watched more than american beauty in the last six months is fight club. for this reason one should not be shocked to hear that every word read in this book, from the maker of fight club, rang out in my mind in edward norton's lazy jack-drawl. this author, whose name i cannot pronounce, writes in a melodic and prancing style that soothes me while crafting sentences and thoughts that hijack my mind forcing it down thoroughfares without the owner and operator's permission. this author who i simply call chuck, or charles out of respect, left me singing his words in my head, again.
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Holidays on Ice
David Sedaris

Sedaris is to Christmas as Phillip Roth is to adolescent and/or jewish angst. And, if I have to explain, you most likely wouldn't understand and I'm not going to be the one to make you. Suffice it to say, this book _will_ make you laugh. If it does not, I'll buy you lunch. Now, I won't eat this lunch with you because it would be blindingly apparent to me that you are one of the lamest and thickest humans scraping around this planet but for this I will buy you lunch and because of this, you will eat it alone.
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The Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. Tolkien

this series is not as much a trilogy as it is a single and continuous tale that is divided between three novels, which i am now a third of the way through. for this reason the experience does not seem complete nor satisfying in that it essentially ended in the middle of a sentence. all that hype and suck. too much hype and suck. the first word to enter my mind upon reading the last line of this story: suck. the second thought to run through my mind wondered how they would handle this 'suck' ending in the movie because if they did it by the letter, they would have left a lot of patrons thinking suck. (i've since seen the film, and they did make applicable adjustments). unfortunately, i'm afraid i'm a victim of this novel's legend and received less than i expected and for this reason am left in a lackluster mood. perhaps the second and third installments will correct this patina left on my opinion. otherwise i will have more suck-ridden pieces to write.
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