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


The Human Stain
Phillip Roth

coming into this the one thing, the only thing, i expected was that it would not be as good as portnoy's complaint, the only other work by this author i have read. i was wrong. it was not only better but quite a bit so. i loved portnoy for it's frankness, its sexual frankness which is the best kind of frankness in my not-humble-enough opinion. the human stain is also frank and also deals in sexuality, but it is more, oh so much more and a consequential sort of more. this book has changed me and i will take its notions with me as i mature and grow as a professional, a parent, an individual and as part of the collective. powerful stuff and so fabulously told.

and, don't see the movie. don't even look at the glossy dvd cover. just read the book. it is/was all that is needed.
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Harry Potter #5
J.K. Rowling

i think my interest in this series waned somewhere between the third and fourth installments. too much redundancy and predictability and not enough meat. perhaps if i could read faster or had more time to give they'd rub me differently, but as it is i need my books to jump off the page and take me places, new places, not places i've already been.
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Friday Night Lights
H.G. Bissinger

i didn't go into this with any agenda but the stories told in here convincingly spoke to my theory about youthful celebrity. it's all bad. ten kinds of bad really. of every core character portrayed, it appears only one was able to make a healthy transition from the fanciful idolatry he experienced in youth to the painstaking anonymity he met later in life. it's painful to take in, truly. and just when you you feel all is hopelessly flawed, the author walks through another door and you see this world from an entirely different perspective, one that shows how all this disfunction actually serves as a curative elixir to part of the population. more than that, it's the only medicine in town. the dynamic here is quite complex and this book does wonders to expose the depth of the paradox in a way that is so very captivating, right to the end. it is simply a spectacular read.
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Intruder in the Dust
William Faulkner

i received one of those email chain letters the other day that contained this dissertation on how great american society was in the 1950's (at least this one focused on that date) and how jacked up today's society is by comparison. you know, the whole to hell in a hand-basket kinda stuff; children minded their parents, addressed elders as sir, loved their country, held the door for ladies, believed in an honest days work, appreciated what they had, respected family values and on and on and on. while i agree with some if not many of their points i'm commonly compelled to respond to the individual who sent it with my own list. mine would be equally simple but list things like; racial lynchings, slumlords, child labor, american indian extermination, slavery, unchecked sexual harassment and on and on and on. instead i think i could recommend this book and others like it. it would be a cleaner, less confrontational way to approach the conversation.

i'm ever astounded reading literature discussing our younger america. knowing that these things happened in this society on this soil by our distant relations really disturbs me. and i don't know if i'm more comforted by the fact that these social ills are no longer so prevalent or more plagued by the fact that it was ever this way to begin with.
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American Gods
Neil Gaiman

it's unfair for anyone to have to follow gabriel garcia marquez. especially when that anyone specializes in graphical novel work.

and to put things right i'm following with faulkner which should drive any loose nails home in my first stroll through gaiman's written world.
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One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

if you could meld the randomness of vonnegut into the descriptiveness of faulkner, you'd have a sense for the style gabrial garcia marquez works in. his manner is both heavy and constant. allowing your mind to wander for even a sentence is asking for narrative discord, in that such a lapse can leave you sitting in the wrong decade or continent, because it is in single disconnected sentences that main characters die, wars begin and incestuous relationships produce offspring. and given the randomness of the presentation it's not like you can anticipate such events because one sprawling paragraph can jump you forward twenty years and then back seven as if all storytellers treat time in this way. and if the erratic timeline doesn't unseat your footing, the exotic naming of characters (Jose Arcadio Buendia, Colonel Aureliano Beundia, Mauricio Babilonia, Santa Sofia de la Piedad) should keep the gears in your mind warm and spinning.

obviously, this is not an easy or leisurely read. you're going to work to experience what is to be had. at least the morsel inside contains a mysterious and whimsical world rife with the unexpected and sometimes unimaginable. should you elect to wiggle this loose from your bookshelf, i suggest getting a few good nights of sleep under your belt as to not be left in the wake marquez's century long adventure creates.
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All the King's Men
Robert Penn Warren

we were all taught in high school english that there are good writers and good storytellers. a defining quality is that a storyteller had to rely on their narrative to be effective and a writer could get by on their use of language alone. never before have i seen a better example of this tenet than with All the King's Men. virtually every facet of the story itself is unremarkable, considerably cliche even. but the manner in which Warren describes these people and events is truly breathtaking. truly.

what compelled me to finally read this was the recently released movie based on the work. i've long been critical of film adaptations of exceptional novels. it's kind of like re-making the mona lisa using legos. it's fine as a wintry weekend time-spoiler but not exactly something you should subject others to. the flaw in this particular treatment is amplified by the fact that this art works because of how it is presented. it doesn't need someone to come in and fix it or re-do it because i can say with one thousand percent certainty, and this without having seen the film, there is no way they are going to improve upon what is already there. although, if your goal in life is to take great things and make them mediocre, plug away hollywood. plug away.
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