Archive for the ‘Reading’ category

Reading 11/08/08

November 8, 2008


I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel Carrère

Note to the eejits at Macmillan: Stop tilting the frikkin covers on your website and provide larger versions too!

06/19/08 Recent Reading

June 19, 2008

The Library Police will be glad to see I’ve returned these two books today.


Queen of the Oddballs by Hillary Carlip

This is a hugely funny book that I had wanted to do some justice to with some excerpts. But no time. Sorry, Hillary! She’s led an amazing life. You know that one person who’s always telling you the most outrageous stories? They seem unbelievable but are always confirmed by others? She’s that person. If you want to laugh out loud — literally! — grab this one.

Here’s one of the outrageous things Hillary’s done in her life:

Gong Show Juggler Hillary Carlip

— and yes, she writes about it in her book! She made Gong Show history that night!

The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli

Piccirilli gets way with the most outrageous lines in his writing. I would have liked to have been watching him when he wrote this one:

He waited for salvation from a woman who’d been knocked down by a steak.

He must have hooted!

Look what I found on YouTube:

Book Trailer for Tom Piccirilli’s THE MIDNIGHT ROAD

Having read the book, I can state the trailer is accurate — but awful! That wouldn’t have encouraged me to read it at all. Don’t let it dissuade you. Piccirilli’s damned good.

Previously here:

Hillary Carlip’s New Book Gets Press!
Her Dinner With Phyllis Diller
Reading: Recently — Tom Piccirilli

05/20/08 Recent Reading

May 20, 2008

No time for any detailed write-ups.

Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, The Man Who Pursued Him, and The Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock

That’s a book Warren Ellis should read. And anyone in the grip of the brainwashing the Republicans have done for the past three decades over how government regulation is evil should read it. The kind of con man who flourished before there were regulations would be all over the place today without regulations. It’s also some wonderful writing.

Cross by Ken Bruen

The latest — in America — of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series. Ah, what he puts that poor man through! With this, it’s best to start with the first Jack Taylor mystery, The Guards. Half the pleasure of the series is seeing not just how the main character evolves (as well as devolves!), but the other characters who appear throughout the series. Bruen is on my list of Must Buy when I finally assemble an ebook library.

Shinjuku Shark by Arimasa Osawa (website in Japanese)

The trouble with reading books originally written in Japanese is that I don’t know how good a job the translator did. I always feel — with all Japanese books — as if the text has been wrapped in plastic, making it distant. I don’t know if this is actually the style of writing in Japan (just as there is an anime style) or if the translator is just inept at conveying whatever — if any — emotional impact is in the text. That said, I still liked this very much. This is the launch of a series, already well underway in Japan, and I’ll have to wait until the end of this year for the next one.

Reading: Recently

April 3, 2008

I should have never switched from my monochrome Sony CLIE S320 to a LifeDrive. It’s done true damage to my ability to capture information. The rotten 50% recognition rate of Classic Graffiti grafted onto the LifeDrive makes using it, at the very least, more trouble than it’s worth and, at its worst, a instrument of self-inflicted torment.

Thus the kind of notes I would usually take in order to properly write-up a book I’ve read are no longer possible. And if I don’t do that sort of thing while reading a book, what I wind up with are pitifully-brief things of the sort below.


A Prayer for Dawn by Nathan Singer

Unlike any other book I’ve read, Singer assembles some very strange people from the margins of society — as well as those at the heart of society — and tosses them all together in a non-linear plot that is as unpredictable as it is glorious to behold in its handiwork. This is not a trivial book and it’s one I’m going to read again. Singer can write.


Chasing the Wolf by Nathan Singer

Singer turns his hand to high-class science-fiction/fantasy with this one. He has created the notion of time paths that exist in everyday life that one can unexpectedly come upon and wind up in a different time period and place. Singer doesn’t shy away from touchy subjects in his books and this one contains some heartbreak to illustrate his points. Although Singer attempts to be linear in plot, he can’t resist himself. This is a time travel story, after all, and twisting things around is just about mandatory. Singer also shows a deft hand with historical research and there are people mentioned here I’ll have to look up. It’s too bad SF has fallen into such a state of disrepair that this book hasn’t attracted more attention. It deserves to.


The Fever Kill by Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli is a writer I made a MySpace Friend before I knew anything about his work. This is the first book of his I’ve read, mainly because it had a intro by Ken Bruen. Bruen lavishly praised the book in the intro — and he was right to do so! Piccirilli has a body of work behind him mainly in horror/suspense fiction. This is his first crime fiction novel and I hope it won’t be his last. Piccirilli can write. He’s also a great observer of human behavior and there are no false steps in this book. Everything flows. And there are some surprises in here — real ones too, not sleight-of-hand cheats. Piccirilli is a writer I’ll be reading. He also maintains a blog on MySpace which is must-reading for all writers.

Reference: Google Book Preview

March 15, 2008

This is the search syntax:

inauthor:[first name] inauthor:[surname]

Example: inauthor:Ken inauthor:Bruen

Who, by the way, everyone should read.

Not every book or writer is available for preview.

01/28/08 Reading

January 28, 2008


The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel by Stephen Leeb

Just started it this morning. Synchronicity: he also cites the Asch experiment I mentioned yesterday.

If you click on his name, however, it leads to a site that looks like a label for snake oil.

01/25/08 Reading

January 25, 2008

Why I still love shelves of printed books. The NYPL allows me to trip over something with this irresistible title:


You Will Make Money in Your Sleep: The Story of Dana Giacchetto, Financial Adviser to the Stars by Emily White

White doesn’t seem to have a site or blog.

But her book is available as an ebook. Get it.

01/18/08 Reading

January 18, 2008

Just read:


Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, From Wall Street to Dubai by Ben Mezrich

Now reading:


Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions by Ben Mezrich

Two in a row for Mezrich. He does great work.

I’d like to see him tackle a bust, though. He’s done all wins so far.

How about this guy?

1/1/08 Reading

January 1, 2008

Just Read:


Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

Now Reading:


The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption by John Perkins

This is deep shit. The CIA has a term for unintended consequences: blowback. We are going to be experiencing a lot of that. And soon.

How important are these books? See for yourself what our (allegedly) own government did in response to the first one:

Confessions — or Fantasies — of an Economic Hit Man?

That should make you wonder. And make you want to read these as soon as possible.