Thursday, April 22, 2010

The reading list

I have been reading myself to sleep for years and I also have books stashed all over the house and in my car for those moments that I don't have something else requiring attention. My current reading list includes the following: "The Eighth Dwarf " by the late Ross Thomas. I recently finished his "Cast a Yellow Shadow". His stuff is fun to read; interesting characters and semi-believable plots. "Pretty Boy Floyd" by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. Just started it, but it already feels like McMurtry. One of my favorites by him is "Roads--Driving America's Great Highways". "Emperor Of The Air" by Ethan Canin. It's too early to say what I think about it. "Comfort Me With Apples" by Ruth Reichl. I used to read Ruth's stuff when she was at Gourmet magazine and always enjoyed it. The book is the literaru equivalent of comfort food. "Hardcore Troubador--The Life And Near Death Of Steve Earle" by Lauren St. John. Talk about suffering for your art! "The China Lover" by Ian Buruma. An historical fiction about a Japanese woman's life from being born in Manchuko in the 1930's through the turbulence of WWII and the postwar period in both Japan and the U.S. There are several other books that have disappeared for the moment, buried under a pile of the detritus of construction. I'll find them when I sweep! Nothing I read is particularly literary, but then I enjoy conversation more than any other activity so conversational books are fine with me.


Aaron Kinney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
democommie said...


Really, you just don't fucking get it. I don't like you, I don't want you here. Since it's my blog, I get to make the call.

Dave von Ebers said...

Whoa, dude. That’s, like, real books and everything. I’m in the process of reading David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” the second time through. It’s a great read, but it literally takes at least two read-throughs, I think, to “get.” Unfortunately, I really don’t have extended blocks of time to read, so I can only get through maybe 10 to 15 pages at a stretch, if I’m lucky. Not the ideal way to read a roughly 1,000 page novel. I literally started reading it in late January 2009, got through it by about last November, and immediately started over. But I think it’s worth it.

Bukko Canukko said...

I divide my reading by rooms. Living room, that's for newspapers and periodicals that come in the mail. My bathroom book is "The Long Emergency" by Jim Kunstler. It's about how our current civilization is f@cked because of peak oil, and as we begin running out -- we already passed peak in 2006 -- things will get increasingly brutish. We've lived through the peak of humanity, my friend. I pity those who come after us. They will die cold, hungry and in pain.

Kunstler's got a piss-taking blog titled "Clusterfuck Nation" that's full of doom and attacks on Republicans (as well as feckless Democrats.) He's from up your neck of the nation, sort of, living off the grid in the N.Y. Adirondacks. Puts out a new post every Monday. Worth a read.

My bedroom book is still "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." I've been working on that for two years now. Not that it's a bad book, but those 18th Century sentences are so convoluted, yet full of philosophy. I read one, then have to chew it over in my mind to glom Gibbons' full meaning on the nature of mankind. And when I can no longer concentrate enough to appreciate what he's saying, then it's time to go to sleep.

SeattleDan said...

In the bedroom, I am reading Dirk Hayhurst's Bullpen Gospels, which is a funny and touching memoir about the author's life and career in minor league baseball.

In the office, I am reading Moving Millions: How Coyote Capitalism Fuels Immigration. It's by an old friend of mine, Jeffrey Kaye who used to be a correspondent for PBS News Hour. Very interesting stuff.

And I really liked Ross Thomas. His Chinaman's Chance is a lot of fun. I should re-read it.

Dave von Ebers said...

Wait. You people can read more than one thing at a time? I’m gonna have to get checked for ADD.

Bukko Canukko said...

Hey! When I want to, I can read one book with my right eye, and another book with my left. At the same time. Are you sayin' you can't? When the crunch time comes, my superior species will make a meal of your breed...

LupeCristoba021774 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bukko Canukko said...

I think I smelt me some Aaron Kweeney. Somebody open a window.

democommie said...

Good morning, Gentlemen:

Thanks for stopping by.

One of reasons I read a number of books at the same time is that I am moving piles of crap from room to room as I work on the house and and the second is that I have ADD and...where was I?

Dear Bukko Canukko; no, that was not one of Aaroneuous' comments, just an ad for some service or other--in chinese, I think. Still, it did make a bit more sense than most or his.

Bukko Canukko said...

Well that's what I get for trying to smell stuff through teh Internets tubez. After reading your comment, I sniffed around more for the source of the stench. I discovered it wasn't Aaron Kenney, just that the catbox needs changing. I hope Mrs. Bukko gets home soon to take care of that...

Aaron Kinney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
函松 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Richard said...

I'm about to start "American Terrorist" as soon as I pick it up from the library and am in the midst of a just-released bio of Willie Mays which I think is called "Willie Mays" but which, like most sports literature I don't personally write, is medicore. Recently read "Nixonland". Best history book ever!

Richard said...

demo: In our Department of This Won't Help At All, the Bruins, prior to last night, were 15-0 this season (reg season and playoffs) in games in which they led 3-0, and 18-0 in games in which they held a 3-goal lead at any point during the game. (Boston played 95 games this season: 82 in the regular season, 13 in the playoffs.) Sometimes you run into a pooch that just can't be screwed, I've heard.

democommie said...


Too true. And sometimes the pooch screws you. They deserved to lose for being such New York Yankees imitators. Although, in fairness, the Yankees' choke was, IIRC, the first such in MLB, whereas the Bruins' was the third in the NHL.

Rev.Paperboy said...

I'll second Richard's praise for Nixonland - I'm on my second time through it now and it is absolutely excellent.
Counsellor Von Ebers, I share your love for Wallace and you need to read him a couple of time to "get" some of it. I have the same problem with Thomas Pychon -- it took me over a year to read "Against the Day" because I so often went back to savor this sentence or that turn of phrase or had to sit and try to remember which of about 50 characters he was dealing with and what the hell was going on. Still, time well spent.

Bukko -- love the new psychobeaver logo!

Oh, and just for being him, Aaron deserves to get a painful and itchy rash on his taint.

democommie said...

I will not be reading Nixonland anytime soon, but I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.

I'll have to try to put up my new reading list in the next few days.

Bukko Canukko said...

Rev -- thanks for the beavo-compliment. The new avatar is an old cartoon character from a Nickelodeon show called "The Angry Beavers." On account of my new location, beaver imagery seemed appropriate.

What I wanna know is why Canadians do not make any Christmas cards with beavers or moose on them. Looked all over for those things last December. In Australia, you can be damn sure there was no shortage of Xmas cards with kangaroos and Santa at the beach.

Demo, I gotta compliment you on a phrase you coined (?) @ teh Gen'l's place -- "Lethal ingestion." Hella clever, mate. I shall be using that one frequently in the future. Since you did not copyright it, I'm afraid I will not be paying you any royalties.

I was thinking of that with this 29-year-old First Nations patient I had the other night. Poor young woman -- when I first saw her, she had chest tubes poking through her rib cage and into both lungs, plus a big honking dialysis shunt device on the right side of her neck. I spent a large part of the shift staring at her crotch, because the complex IV line she had there to pump her full of blood thinner kept oozing blood.

Normally it would not be too bad a duty to focus on a younger woman's nether regions, but all I was concerned with was making sure she didn't bleed out. (Finally got it stopped with some anticoagulant foam dressing and a pressure bandage, although the poor girl would have gotten a hellacious "tape Brazilian" when that got peeled off.)

"What does this have to do with lethal ingestion?" you may ask. I talk to my patients a lot, and I gently inquired how she got to be in such a bad state of health at her age. Total kidney failure before she hit 30, caused by a syndrome called "hemolytic anemia."

She said it was from bad hamburger. There was an infamous case in the U.S. in the 1980s when Jack-in-the-Box served burgers tainted with e. coli, and the bacteria caused such a blood infection that it killed several children by ruining their kidneys. I thought that might have been the case with her.

But she said it was because her mother was a drunk, and one time when the patient was young, fed them spoiled home-made hamburgers. It didn't kill her kidneys straight off, but over the years they degraded until she is now unable to pee, and has to be hooked to a machine to cleanse her blood three times a week.

A case of delayed action "lethal ingestion" if there ever was one.

So much sadness in the world. However bad our lives are going, there's always someone who has it worse. Be glad for what ya got as long as ya got it.

Dave von Ebers said...

Rev. Paperboy – Love Thomas Pynchon, too. Oddly, Against the Day is the only Pynchon I haven’t read. I read through Gravity’s Rainbow and V two or three times each; in retrospect, I’m not sure I understood them all that much better after the second or third read – but damn, he’s entertaining. A-and I love the way that Slothrop talks. Especially over there in that London.

Meanwhile, I got distracted away from re-reading Infinite Jest, but I’ll get back to it as soon as I can.

democommie said...

Sorry for the delay, gents. I was in a car driving for most of the last three days and visiting numerous friends when I wasn't driving.

Laci the Chinese Crested said...

My house if full of books.

Democommie, the reason I moved to wordpress was that it gave me the ability to block commments. Additionally, I get the poster's identifying info.

You'll be amazed at how the annoying people leave you alone when you can find out about them.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

Right now, I'm having a blast reading a wunnerful second-hand book from when Terrible still had his bookstore, "Once They Moved Like The Wind," - Cochise, Geronimo, And The Apache Wars, by David Roberts. Heartbreaking, infuriating, but SO worth it. LOVE biographical history, or even celebrity biographies, as long as they're not "notches on the bedpost"/name-dropping gossip-mongering bullshit.

Recycle used newspaper as literature for "The Library" (le pissoire), carry a current book with me, esp. when there's waiting involved (like when I have to pay somebody to change my own truck's oil, which is SO infuriating...), and when I am fortunate to have a small box of Terry Pratchett Discworld books show up on my doorstep (which prolly won't be happening ever again), I dive head-first into the whole four or five-book lot, only emerging from The Disc when I have to get up and DO something.

Never thought that I'd return to sci-fi after I got burned SO fucking badly by following the so-called "sequels" (sickening fucking ABOMINATIONS!!!) to "Stranger In A Strange Land." Heinlein LOST. HIS. FUCKING. MIND.

Yeah, Vonnegut did stray into sci-fi/fantasy, depending on his chosen flavor of smart-assednesss at any given time, but his fantastical stories still seemed like "real life." It wasn't until I was introduced to Pratchett that I ever found "fantasy" to be worth the effort, and his wunnerful mind, which, sadly, is being attacked by Alzheimer's already, is a being more addictive than sugar, caffeine, heroin or sex.

Don't do magazines except at the doctor's office, as with TV, I refuse to pay somebody to spend the majority of the available space/time BEING ADVERTISED TO/AT. We all know that media profits come from advertising, not subscriber/OTC fees, and yet, you STILL have to pay for the "privilege" of watching those shows AND their commercials. Fuck that shit. The airwaves belong TO US, not the fucking SPONSORS. Yeah, I miss a lot of pop-culture references/gags/memes, but y'know, I manage. Newsweek used to be respectable, but I haven't bought one it at least 10, 12 years. When you've got more ad pages than actual JOURNALISM, then you might as well be fucking VOGUE.

If I wanted people to tell me how to look, think, dress, CONSUME, etc., well, then I'd probably be an SUV-driving hausfrau in a gated community, wouldn't I. Never have been much of a "joiner."


Anntichrist S. Coulter said...


But thankfully, despite having had to move WAY too many times in the past 7 years and having lost/been ROBBED of 3/5ths of everything I've ever owned, I still have a nice little stockpile of yet-to-be-read books, thanks to Dan & Tammy, MzCGEye, Terrible, Maria, and others who elude me as my sleeping pill finally kicks-in. I dunno how I got so lucky, as to find so many kind people who are willing to share that most precious of possessions with me, but I'm damned grateful for it --- and because of them, have gotten to read great shit that I otherwise would never have seen!

Oh, and Laci? It's hardly 100% reliable, and it won't link you directly to the specific commenter --- you have to do the detective work yerself, BUT: fer free, Site Meter gives you the IP addresses of everyone who visits your blog, whether it's paid or free. Granted, yer "up-market" mofos who have satellite or "privacy-focused" ISPs can block their location, provider, etc., but the majority of visitors don't. Just offering that as another option for Demo or anyone else. Plus, it's fascinating (it was more fun before my joint was censored by Blogger, when our Pentagon fans/lurkers/whatevers would come by on a regular basis) to go through a day's stats and see where your people are from --- well, y'know, the ones that you don't know personally.

Though google strings that lead people to "Mark Of The Beast" are, well, suffice it to say, NOT "appetizing," at least not to anyone who didn't view "Deliverance" as an instruction manual.

democommie said...

And Ms. Antichrist Coulter tells me that SHE is remiss in keeping up with ME. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I will be working on a new post either this evening or tomorrow.