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Monday, December 5, 2011

Choose my book - December


Time to let you all decide what I should read next. Basically I not only have too many cards, but too many books as well and am paralyzed by making such a momentous decision. I was able to whittle the choice down to 12 books: 10 new ones, one holdover from last month and one new suggestion. Every single one of them I have in my possession except for the reader suggestion, so there will be no epic chase like there is for Fear and Loathing because I'm too stubborn to to just buy the damn thing online. I'm still working on Still Life with Woodpecker because I was lazy and didn't read on Saturday and I didn't read any yesterday because I was convinced by an interested party that there were much better things to do in bed than read Tom Robbins.

I am so glad I sprung for the wireless video game controllers now.

The poll is up in the corner, vote for as many or as few as you like. Or don't vote at all, see if I care. Here's a rundown on the choices for this month.

Small Beer - Ludwig Bemelmans

I had never heard of Ludwig in my life when I encountered this book at a Goodwill book sale and snapped it up.  It looked kinda funny and had lots of cartoony illustrations inside. Plus there was a tuba on the cover. Turns out it's a book by the guy who wrote the Madeline series. It's apparently a collection of short stories.  There is virtually nothing about this book online other than a review in Time that you need a subscription to read so I'm going into this one cold. I'm guessing this one will get virtually no votes but might end up being one I pick up anyway after reading a couple of the top picks.

Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way - Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is a bad mickey-fickey. He was Elvis fighting a mummy in one film! Plus my wife bought me this book. Maybe she's trying to tell me something. Oh, also my catechism sponsor was named Bruce Campbell. Not the same one, but a cool guy nonetheless.

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is my mother's favorite book. I've never bothered to read it. Now you can force me to read it.

Cakes & Ale - W. Somerset Maugham

This one's on the list mainly because I liked the cover of the edition I have. I think it makes fun of Thomas Hardy which is always a good thing. That depressing gawdawful man was the bane of my high school and college career. Seriously, I was forced to read Tess of the ScoobyDoos four times. Four times! It kept getting stupider and stupider every single time! To this day I root for Alec out of spite. Oh yeah, this book. It's a satire. And it's short. I could probably knock this out in a lunch hour or two.

A Canticle for Liebowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr.

Gotta have some sci-fi on the list. Science! And Nukes! And pastrami, kraut and bagels!

The Cyberiad - Stanislaw Lem

Another collection of short stories, this time sci-fi. Stanislaw is the dude who wrote Solaris, for all you vintage foreign sci-fi film fans and/or George Clooney fans. Yes, you can be both... I tried reading this in high school and was utterly bewildered. Time to try again, maybe?

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash - Jean Shepherd

I misspelled poor Jean's name in the poll. Too late to fix it. More short stories, more humor, more satire. Between this list and last month's list you probably have a good handle on the types of books I like. You may not recognize this book or the author but EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU has seen a film based on it and will likely watch it in this calendar month. You might watch it ALL DAY LONG. Ever heard of A Christmas Story? Yep, based on stories from this book. The narrator in that film is Jean himself. You can also see him telling Ralphie to get the hell to the back of the line to see Santa.

Maus - Art Spiegelman

I've had this for a long time and haven't been able to bring myself to read it yet. Art Spiegelman is a brilliant underground comic artist. He's also depressing as fuck. The subject matter in this book is really depressing. It doesn't help that I have family members who lived (and some who didn't) through that mess. Gotta have some serious in the middle of all this comedy. In a list of top graphic novels of all time, this is right up there.

Men At Work - George Will

After I drew this, it occurred to me that I might actually have George's book lying around. Indeed I did! Gotta have at least one baseball book in the list.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe

Hunter was last month's journalist, Tom is this month's. This book is actually my dad's favorite, I think, and I had his copy for a long time when I was a kid. Ken Kesey, The Merry Pranksters, the Grateful Dead and a bus. Hippies... Hippies EVERYWHERE. Maybe I need to read this one and Gatsby back to back. Or at the same time. Alternate pages, perhaps.


We Could've Finished Last Without You - Bob Hope

Here's the holdover from last month. Gotta have one two baseball books on the list. A memoir of the Atlanta Braves by their promotions director back when they were the worst team in baseball.


The Big Short - Michael Lewis

Here's the reader suggestion for this month. The Moneyball guy exposes some of the absolute horseshit going on in Wall Street that has brought about the current bullshitty state of our economy. Not one financial ratfucker has spent one nanosecond in the clink for trainwrecking the world, but there's plenty of resources available to prevent people from exercising their right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. This might not be the best book for me to read as my blood pressure has already jumped pretty drastically just from typing this.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy - Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

And after that fnord, this is probably a good book to end the list upon. I'm a closet Discordian anyway so why the hell not?

6 comments:

Hackenbush said...

Even if you do read Gatsby, which has some of the greatest lines in it in modern literature, especially the beginning and end, see the movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow sometime. It's underrated in my opinion.

camclow said...

Either Gatsby or The Big Short. Gatsby is timeless. The Big Short is relevant to this time.

Dhoff said...

Sorry about Tess. Even as a lit PhD, I can't make it 20 pages into that book. Ugh.

Better read Gatsby before it comes out in 3D!

night owl said...

I voted for Cakes & Ale for the Thomas Hardy spite reason. Return of the Native might be the worst memory I have from high school. And there are so many bad memories.

cynicalbuddha said...

I love Tom Wolfe's non-fiction stuff, his fiction is way to long winded. A Man if Full was a 100 page short story or novella at best stretched into a 1000 pages of fluff. The Right Stuff great read. I took me a little while to get into Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but I'd read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest so I was interested in how fucked up Ken Kesey really was, guess what pretty fucked up. Plus in that time frame Hunter S. Thompson crosses over into the book so then you have to read Hell's Angels too. So unless you want to make the commitment or having to read a couple more books after that one or even before EKAT stay away. And I still think you need to put Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams on the to read list.

And The Great Gatsby is a good book but I hear all these people tell me how awesome it is, just like Catcher in the Rye, which is also a good book, but life changing? I don't think so.

paulie3jobs said...

I voted for Jean Shepard, only because Christmas is coming.

Major props for the picture of Burgess Meredith. One of my all time favorite Twilight Zone eps.

If you are wondering (and for some reason I doubt most of you are, just because you probably already know it)
"Time Enough at Last"