• layat

More books read!

More books read. Yippee!

#6 Teeth by Hugh Gallagher

Back of Book Blurb:

Neil is a dentally challenged, reluctantly hip downtown scribe whose life's work is Dusted, the 'zine that once earned him the title of New Jack Poet Warrior. But when the mag folds, Neil is left with an aching mouth and the realization that the icons of his time are either dying young, cashing in or dropping out. It's a time of reckoning—the perfect moment to cancel dental appointments and take off on a drift through the global ghetto. From the gritty grind of New York to the dark glitter of Hollywood, through the tropical wilds of Indonesia and the crumbling squats of East London, Neil embarks on a soulful search for a woman to love and a place to call home. But answers will remain elusive until the roaming writer tests both his friends and his beliefs, and commits to a plan to make peace with his teeth.

My Comments:
He drifts around trying to write his Manifesto only to give up in a moment of enlightenment that occours in all places, a Hindu temple. I thought it was a great book though in places it reads more like a satire than a book. It really summed up the restlessness that many people in their 20s today feel (kinda like a modern On the Road, thought I wouldn't say it was that good).

#7 Goat: a Memoir by Brad Land

Back of Book blurb:
With a uniquely hip narrative style, gritty with plenty of heart, Land recounts what it's like to pledge a fraternity in order to gain his peers' respect and admiration. Complicating matters, Land has never recovered from an earlier assault, in which the trusting and naive 20-year-old picks up two strangers in need of a ride, who proceed to rob, beat and abduct him. Traumatized, Land doesn't receive sympathy from police, who insist the kidnapping must be linked to wrongdoing on his part. His assailants, whom Land wryly nicknames "the smile" and "breath," are later captured, but the crime's emotional fallout dogs Land as he tries to move on, deepening his attachment to his younger, self-centered brother, Brett, who betrays him at every chance, including going after his fragile sibling's girlfriend. When Brett leaves for Clemson and joins a fraternity, Kappa Sigma, the author follows, thinking it will help him fit in with others and heal, but barbaric hazing rituals of humiliation and intimidation revive the phobias linked to his abduction. As the abuse against new pledges ("goats") continues, Land questions the value of the frat group's thinking, the surrendering of one's will to violence and his desperate need to belong, especially after another pledge dies of a heart attack following an intense round of hazing. In the end, Land, now 27, walks away from it all, reclaiming himself from his dark past and brutally bleak present.

My Comments:
This book was sweeping in its emotions. Written in a narrative style that borders on stream of thought, you travel with Land as he is abducted and as he recovers. Or tries to. After his abduction he follows his brother to college and pledges to his brother's frat. Brett (the brother) tries to warn him not to go through with it but Brad misunderstands and pledges anyways. He then becomes a goat- as the new pledges are called. And then the hazing starts. At times you want to shake him and at others you want to cry. The confusion in his mind as his hazers make him relive what his attackers did to him is both amazing and heart rending. The fact that this is a biography not a novel makes it even more so.

# 8 The Void by Teri Jacobs

Back of book:
Alternating between the real world and the netherworld of Xibalba, a hellish realm where demons torture unfortunate souls, Teri Jacobs's debut novel, The Void, covers the gamut of gruesome ways to die. And there are many, which this book describes with blood-curdling clarity. There's something special about photographer Leslie Starr, but only the demons of Xibalba and Coatl, the Dark Man who plagues her every step, know what that something is. Determined to bring Leslie's soul to Xibalba, Coatl draws her back to her ghostly hometown by killing those closest to her.

My take:
This book has a really cool premise. You see its all based on ancient Mexican religion and philosophy. In it a father makes a pact with a Mexican Shaman so his daughter would live. The shaman doesn't worship the fluffy-bunny Gods of Mexico (of which I don't think there are many). Nope he's a preist of the Gods residing in a hell called Xibalba. The end results of this pact? Lots of people get tortured to death and Leslie is followed by a Dark Man, an agent of the Gods. So thats the plot. What kept it from being the next DaVinci Code? The delivery. The plot advances in fits and starts. The characters are contradictory. The torture is described in such detail you worry about the author. In some places it is verbose and in some it is so under described you have to re-read several times. The end? Not sure what happens. Its rather hard to tell. With that said it is a good first effort by Jacobs, and I will pickup other books by her. If only to see how she has improved.

#9 Acorna's Triumph by Anne McCaffery

I think this book was for young adults. Or something. Its the last in the series and like any good last-in-the-series books it wraps up all loose ends and everyone is happy. Don't get me wrong the series is great, very imaginitive. Just don't expect to take anything away but a few hours well spent.
  • Current Music
    Flogging Molly - If I Ever Leave This World Alive

(no subject)

Hey guys, Ari here (moderator in case you don't know). I'm sorry some of your posts haven't been showing up but livejournal has been really messed up lately and won't let me access the posts. Don't worry I'm working on it.
  • Current Music
    Arab Strap- Toy Fights
  • layat

100 books, eh?

You do realize you would have to read around 2 books a week in order to do 100 books in a year? Just checkin'

Currently on my bookshelf:

Silent Spring: Rachael Carson.

Origionally picked up for a class this book is as compelling as it was when it was first released. While many species seemed to have 'bounced back' you can tell by reading that many have not. When is the last time you saw 2500 red-wing black birds? This book is an essential for any modern enviromentalist.

Like Death: Tim Waggoner.

A quick note: I'm a huge horror book fan. This has the best of many elements. It has enough gore to make you squirm, but not enough to make you lose your lunch. Its plot is intricate and twisted with twists right up until the end. Its a great book to try and wrap your mind around.

Flesh Gothic: Edward Lee

Another I picked up in the airport. Now this novel is gorey. And makes me squirm. Did I put it down? Nope. Its also got *gasp* a really involving plot. You spend half of your time trying to figure out what is going on and who is in control. And what they are in control of. Suspense and horror mixed well.

Ender's Game. Orson Scott Card.

Yet another mind trip. Great book. Read it.

KK- 1-4. I've read more I just have to remember what they were.
  • Current Mood
    blah blah
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

Book 13...still a bit behind, but will do it...

Hey - seems like this room is dying, but I will continue to post until I get around to moving my list somewhere else.

Book 13 - Collection of Scary Stories.
An independent German radio-play broadcasting company produced "The Cabinet of Dr. Fritz" and I spent an hour or so reading Sticks, by Karl Edgar Wagner, and The Bleeding Man, by Craig Kee Strete. There were a few other short stories in this issue, but not worth mentioning. I don't normally read horror stories, but these ones were radio plays (so only script with sound effects) in 3D sound. Spooky...and especially helpful to get through a long batch of tedious homework. The second story mentioned was written by a First Nations person (Indian if you're American, Aboriginal if you're Australian...I'm Canadian and generally we can't make up our minds about what term to use, lol), so it was interesting to get a small dose of the cross-cultural influences in the story. Thoughts: generally, I understand why my horror-fan sweetie enjoyed these stories, and probably has more issues of the series, but, as mentioned, I wasn't a horror fan, had a bit of trouble catching the story line without a narrator, and was distracted with homework. The quality of the radio play itself (sounds, editing, etc) was quite good. =)

note: for those who want to argue with me about whether you can actually 'read' an audiobook, I say that if blind culture uses the word "read" for an audiobook and "see" for looking at something with their fingers, then it's really snobby for a sighted person to not do the same. For that reason, all audiobooks I get through this year are considered 'read' and qualify for this list.

p.s. I went book shopping the other day and found a translation of some of the Marquis de Sade's work...I am fascinated with the French Revolution and am looking forward to studying how he used writing as an outlet to cope with the horrors he suffered. =D...also, being an ex-future-sexologist, the subject matter is also interesting. =)
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

more books on my list

#9 - Long Time No See (Ed McBain)
I read "Lightning" a couple of years ago and loved the fact that it was a fluff book without too much gore. It was a wonderfully relaxing read after a tough year at University. This book, however, was a disappointment. It really sucked. Occasionally I was blessed with a description of what it is like to live in the inner-city of New York, but there was a lot of speculation about what it means to be a blind person (I'm marrying a blind person) and a pseudo-psych overtone about dream interpretation (I spent 5 years studying Psychology at University). Anyway, I got through this audiobook washing dishes and can't wait to return it to my sweetie, telling him that he was right.

#10 - The Pusher
Another Ed McBain, hoping that the other book was a fluke. It wasn't. I guess "Lightning" was his best book, or the fact that I should have kept it as the only book of his I read. Meh...this one here is about the drug culture of New York, something that I don't have any experience in at all, so at least I don't have to be sickened by how blatantly wrong it is in some points. =). Often though he seems to go into lecture mode, explaining needless details for awhile...something that I am sure Steven King would not approve of (he explained why in "On Writing" - a fabulous read).

#11 - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey)
A wonderful read. There are a few sentences here and there that I found to be absolute gems, both artistically and grammatically. It's also obvious that the author knows her European history, and it was great to piece together the clues about how "Aragon" is an area in Spain (being one of the kingdoms that consolidated under the rule of Isabella and Ferdinand in order to create what we know of as Spain). There are groups of people who are also metaphorical representations of traditional, historical peoples (such as Jews, Gypsies, Monks, etc). I also loved how she took the theology of Judea Christianity and made a mirror image of it, without losing a lot of its ideas. For a fantasy book though, you are overladen with names and political intrigue (worse than Tolkien) and you have to get two-thirds of the way through it before it starts looking like a fantasy novel. I found it to be a powerful read, and one that didn't quite leave me when I was forced to put the book down for a time (sleeping, eating, school, work, homework, etc). I recommend it and am looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.

#12 - The Seventh Man (John Berger and Jean Mohr)
I needed to read this book for a history paper about labour migration and was very interested by what it told me. I had never read such a blatantly socialist work before, and it was neat seeing how truly capitalistic all of my teaching has been up-to-date. It was also challenging in my quest to become more politically aware and to figure out where I stand in the left-right continuum. It's from 1975, so it also has a hopefulness about it that would have been demolished in 80s culture. I'm glad I got a glimpse of this time though, and I was changed in reading this book. I just don't know how useful it will be for my paper, =).
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

Book #8

To Hell and Back on the Red-Eye of Death, by Don Brubaker.

An abridgment of "Absent from the Body" - but I'll let it count anyway.

This is the first of the strong Christian death-and-returned stories I have ever read. It's interesting that God and Christ and other supposedly universal figures can still be steeped in our North American mythology. Perhaps those are the constructs that we could understand, and so they are revealed with those symbols. Perhaps it is our mind creating the whole experience and draws from its own resources.

Either way, it isn't a recommended book and I am about to run some errands, including donating this to a library. I don't need it anymore.

hugs - continue reading!
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

Book #7 - the Girl who Loved Tom Gordan

Steven King.

Generally a repeat of "Gerald's Game", but less interesting as the main character is only 9 years old. I liked the ending though, and there was a very insightful paragraph about the nature of life at times biting you in the ass and how fairness is not a part of the equation. Unfortunately, as S.King quoted that paragraph in "On Writing", it was disappointing to find that it was the only nugget of pure wisdom in the text. Oh well, it's read. =).

I have other Steven King's on my list to read (The Stand, Bag of Bones, and Misery), but will get to them later. Already working on Book 8 and 9...I like to read a few simultaneously.

Happy travels all!
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

Book #5 and #6

The Bookseller of Kabul - written by a Norwegian journalist who stayed with a family for a year after the war against the Taliban. It's a poignant look at how disjointed their sense of identity and national history is, having survived so many upsets in the last century, but also how the spirit that has carried them through so much is starting to heal all. Sometimes the author reveals herself to be a journalist instead of primarily a fiction writer, but I felt I could also trust that what I was seeing was a clean window into that country (I know it's only a window, but at least I had the chance to see some).

The Witch of Blackberry Pond (I think...) - a cute little award-winning children's book of a girl who grew up in Barbados and makes her way into Puritan Connecticut (I believe). The culture shock and her coming-of-age is nicely described, and I wish I found the book 15 years ago. It was still a delightful read.

And no, I won't riddle myself with children's books in order to attain my 100...but a few here and there won't hurt, =D.

Textbooks btw count for three, even for the simple fact that I read them three times during a semester. Perhaps then they should count for five each, lol.

Take care all, and happy reading.
I'm reading, f- off
  • leolac

Goal to read 100 books in a year...

So far, thanks to audiobooks and a hard puzzle, I have read Steven King's "On Writing" and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express", and am working on Henning Menkell's translated "The Return of the Dancing Master."

On Writing, I believe, is an excellent read and something that all should attempt to get to. Not only is there great advice about writing better and getting started in the business, but a thorough story about Steven King's early years and a moving account about his accident and recovery. I found it an intense read though; I found myself reading only half a tape at a time and then walking around the apartment in circles just to give my mind a time to stop doing so.

Rita Hayworth etc. is a confirmation that the movie is true to the book and have enjoyed reading it, though the movie would be faster next time I feel like parusing the story, =). It is a wonderful story, and King is a great author.

Murder was fun...a bit obvious, but only because of the hacks who came after Christie and imitated her style to the point that most murder mysteries are familiar to me in the way that others believe there is a such thing as deja vue.

The Return of is obviously a translation (from Swedish) and I find a lot of the sentences too short and choppy, making the whole tale seem disjointed and awkward. I also groaned in times when the author attempted to "build suspence" - but it's been awhile since I attempted to read a paper book in a week instead of a semester, and being on a roll I am still curious to see how all of this is going to fit together. It's also fun to find moments when the text is translitterated instead of just translated. Engaged to someone who's first language isn't English or French (being Canadian) has also prepared me to look for and be amused by such cross-cultural moments.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday!