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I know American Idol is on, turn off your TV anyway

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read 40 books this year. I read a lot anyway and have never counted, but the big four-oh sounded a little lofty but still doable. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

Stephen King: On Writing--This was a quick re-read, so it’s kind of a gimme.

The Stephen King Companion
, George Beahm—more of a bathroom book. This was an older one I found so it wasn’t current, but had the nice back-story stuff on his early work.

Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard—Never saw the movie. Decided to read the book. Couldn't get John Travolta out of my head. (Insert Brokeback Mountain joke here).

A Goomba’s Guide to Life, Steven R. Schirripa—No, I don't watch the Sopranos. I picked it up for a quarter at a library book sale. Needed it for a little character research. Plus it had some Italian recipes in the back. I made the Osso Bucco. Beautiful.

American Gods, Neil Gaiman––I read the Sandman stuff and wasn’t overwhelmed, couldn't get into the art. But I finally got around to reading this one and absolutely loved it. What an impressive book––the stuff you dream of writing. Drop-dead incredible.

1602, Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert––A graphic novel. I’m still a comic book geek at heart so I loved this. If you like alt-reality check out Red Son. (And if you've never read V for Vendetta, by all means get to the store––go now––and read it before it's sacrificed on the altar of cinema).

My Descent into Death, Howard Storm––I read this one because my wife liked it. And he was one of the people that influenced Anne Rice to give up the goth-vampire thing, which was pretty interesting in itself.

Sole Survivor, Dean Koontz––It’s a book about a plane crash that I read while flying on a plane. I guess it could only have been more ironic if I were also listening to Lynerd Skynerd at the same time. Not a big Dean Koontz fan, but every now and then.

The Mammoth Book of War Diaries and Letters: Life on the Battlefield in the Words of the Ordinary Soldier, 1775-1991
, Jon E. Lewis (Editor)––for research purposes. And in trade paperback it wasn't that mammoth.

Here’s a bit of what’s in my on-deck circle:

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell—not even sure what it’s about. It was a gift. Thanks.

Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson––I’ve always wanted to read this one. My first job out of college was art director for the Bainbridge Review. One of our columnists was a former editor who lived on the island during the time period of the book, who faced charges of treason for reporting the ransacking of homes of Japanese internees during WWII.

Reservation Blues––Sherman Alexie. I love this guy. And Smoke Signals is one of my favorite movies. What do you mean you haven't seen it?

The Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan––I know, it’s kind of a chick book. What can I say, I’m Chinese. I’ve read most of her other books, and finished a book on Chinese culture last fall that talked about the legend behind the Kitchen God’s Wife.

LSD on Campus, Warren Young and Joseph Hixson––picked it up at a used book store. Cool period piece, circa 1966. Never did LSD, never plan to. Just looked like a fun read. Maybe I'll lick the pages and see what happens.

Whiskey Sour, J.A. Konrath––after his exhaustive self-promoting, I too had to buy it. And after I read Joe’s shorts on Amazon, I too was glad I did.


What are you reading? 

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Reader Comments (6)

Your reading list has a lot of titles I wasn't familiar with. But it's great that there are as many different kinds of books as readers. 40 books--hmm my goals were a bit low I guess.

I'm reading Domino by Ross King and Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene.
February 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterS.R.Hatcher
Snow Falling on Cedars is the reason I took up writing. I found myself rereading one of Guterson's paragraphs just because I liked the way it sounded. I never do that. I thought, 'Damn! I want somebody to do that with something I write.'

Kitchen God's Wife is excellent. You'll be glad you read it.
February 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterM.G. Tarquini
Hmmm...I've got The Heart of the Matter collecting dust around here somewhere. It's right next to C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters and a few others.

I bought Snow Falling on Cedars and have managed to dodge the movie, not wanting to spoil the book. When I lived on Bainbridge there were a lot of stories of what happened to the Japanese folks that had to leave their homes. Very sad.

In grade school my best friend was the son of Lawson Inada, a famous poet who's written books about the time he spent in an internment camp growing up. Of course at the time I had no idea who he was. He was just Toti's dad--the guy who told really cool ghost stories.
February 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjamie
I have a total grudge against David Guterson. I know everyone loves his book and loves him but I think he's a jackass.
I was a senior at Bainbridge high school when he was just starting his book tour and I had signed up for his advanced creative writing class. I had read some of his short stories before and enjoyed his writing so I was excited to take his class and learn from him. But once he got started on his book tour, he never even bothered to read any of our papers. He would come in maybe once a week to give us assignments, and then he would send our work out to some other writers to critique and give us pointers. He outsourced his teaching job and then when he would come to class, he would show us a video of his latest interview to show us how famous he was getting. If I had known he wasn't even going to bother reading any of my papers, I wouldn't have bothered to sign up for his class to begin with. I know he still had to technically earn a living since he wasn't rich and famous yet but he could've at least had the decency to tell his class at the beginning of the semester that he wasn't going to be around or even bother to read our work. I didn't get anything from the critiques his friends or whoever he sent our papers out to - we never even got to meet them in person and I don't even know if it was any of the same people anyway. If I had only been a year older I could've taken his class and maybe actually learned something.
The other thing I found really pompous about him was that he teaches public high school and yet he home schooled his own children. It's not like Bainbridge Island has crappy schools by any means - all the schools were fantastic and I loved them. But to live on the island and still home school your own children just seems a little hypocritical to me.

Granted, the subject matter of Snow Falling on Cedars is certainly worthwhile. I grew up across the street from one of the last Japanese farmers on the island who experienced all of that. His name is Akio and everyone in my family worked on his farm at some point, picking and selling strawberries (THE best strawberries I have ever tasted!). Akio is one of the sweetest men alive and we still exchange Christmas cards every year. I just could not bring myself to actually support Guterson's career and buy his book.

Sorry for the rant. I love reading your blog but when I saw what you were about to read I just had to respond.
March 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMaryke
Thanks Maryke. Please rant away. Always good to know the other side of things. I must say that Bainbridge has excellent school. I wonder what his fellow teachers thought when they found out he was home-schooling his kids?

And say hi to Kevin for me. I really should have something the Sporting side of things about the World Cup. Maybe one of you could be a guest blogger?
March 4, 2006 | Registered CommenterJamie
I'm sure Kevin would love to guest blog about the World Cup! He always has something to say where football is concerned. I'd be glad to give my observations as a footballer's wife.
April 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMaryke

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