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

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A Very Long Engagement
Sebastian Japrisot

same old war, new kinda story. this book excels in two categories; realistic portrayal of a highly romanticized period of our history and delivering these images in a unique packaging. my wheels were spinning from the start wondering where this narrative was going to wind up. pleasantly, this brain folly continued throughout. kind of an all's quiet on the western front (of erich remarque) meets ten little indians (of agatha christie).

curiously, marty tried reading this after i did and she didn't make past page 50. when asking her about it she likened the narrative to the camera work on most reality tv shows, jerky and unpredictable. to me, lack of predictability is half the reason for reading this book. but, something you should know, marty has only recently decided it's ok to stop reading a book after she's started it. given this, i think she's overexcited at wielding this newfound ability.
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Isaac Asimov

i had a professor once say that an indicator of excpetional science fiction is when the fiction greatly outweighs the science, meaning the story is the key and the science merely adds nuance. asimov wrote with such subtlety if you removed ten percent of the content, the story would be contextually anachronistic. and, this was like the third or fourth novel the dude ever wrote. i think he scored an exceptional high school conselor because he's definitely doing what he should be doing.
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A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson

h biggs summed it up best when he said this book gave him a persistent case of the shakes. you see, based on bryson's message, earth's blind date with an astral body (aka planet-killer) isn't a matter of IF but instead WHEN. and, if the debris in space doesn't end us, a homegrown microbe will. think for a moment if AIDS became an airborne virus. then think how many times the dolt you share a copier with at work got you sick this last winter. granted, he talks about a host of other science-related stuff, but like h biggs, i walk away with a pant load of paranoia.

remember, not IF but WHEN.
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Trial (manuscript)
Patrick Tully Dorsey

just about anyone can wire an outlet, change the oil in their car or cook a good omelet. and those who can't can learn how. writing a book is different. sit down and try to write a twenty page story about something. hell, i'll even let you double space it. when you're done with that, give me 500 pages on that or another topic. and please see that it is interesting and that i give some kind of shit about the people in it and for god-sake, see that you don't confuse me with wild ramblings and asides, lucidity is important. no small assignment nor easily learned.

so imagine my admiration when i heard that this guy i know wrote a book. a whole, complete book. this guy is not a novelist. he is not some privileged fella sitting in a vermont cabin pecking away old-style on a metal typewriter. he is a guy who gets up in the morning, drinks a cup of joe, scratches himself in a few spots, grunts at people who talk to him before 10am and yells at traffic when driving home from work. he's just a dude like you or me (insert the female equivalent if you don't have a penis). he's like us except that while you and i were watching episodes of alias and sopranos, he was writing a book.

now about this book. i enjoyed it. i consumed it. i felt privileged to get this early glance at someone's passion before others get the proverbial looksey. now considering all of the above baggage i'm admittedly hoisting, how legitimate are my opinions? if it was written by someone i didn't know, what would i think? if it was written by someone i didn't like, what would i think? fact is, i'm not sure i can answer those questions. while he shops for a publisher, the only feedback i'm certain of is that i surely enjoyed this book written by a guy i know.
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Ender's Shadow
Orson Scott Card

think of how many times you've come to the end of a good book or film and thirsted for more. even though it is not, it cannot be, as intriguing or compelling as its predecessor, ender's shadow is remarkably good. there can be no doubt that card delivers entertainment in this quasi-experimental technique, weaving in and out of the first novel at key points he accentuates the intial work in significant ways.
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Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

this is not the first time i've read this book and sadly and like some other things it will never be as good and sweet as it was the first time, but that said, it's still crazy good.

for reasons i won't discuss here (in the event you haven't read it), i view this to be a book of import and consequence especially for a young and hopefully impressionable mind. oddly though i struggled over giving this as a gift to a nephew of mine because some of the subject matter, if really poured over and considered, is intense. while i think this science fiction novella is a good exercise for a questioning adolescent, there is a part of me that wonders if it is my place to make that decision for someone else's child and for all the stupid stuff i say on a daily basis, i don't really want to be the guy who pisses off some young person's parents, especially on the matter of literature, because that has the ingredients of being pretty messy.

in the fifteen seconds i just sat here looking at the flashing cursor, i'm going to say i don't know. but i do hope my children read it.
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The Davinci Code
Dan Brown

consider brown's great technique for telling a tale of mystery. next consider his well researched conspiracy angle. then consider that what i like most about this book is what it does to the more spiritually zealous among us and you may be nearing in on what a jerk i am. watching the tailspin these folks fall into at the mere mention of this novel is worth its hardbound expense, and allow me stress the word novel there.

and not that this book is any mystery to anyone at this point, it definitely falls into one of the better quick reads available. at least it was the most ravenouse my wife has been for a book since she stopped reading the laura ingles wilder series.
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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon

luby tells me that it's near prerequisite to know/like/understand comics to enjoy this book.

my breadth of knowledge on comics would not fill the back of a bazooka joe wrapper.
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