Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another Sunday, another list

So last Sunday I completed my masterwork: Best movies you've probably never seen. Now that it's over, I was at a loss as to how to continue my love of list making with my equal love of educating/torturing my readers. I've decided to take a page from Stephen King's book and continue with a list of my favorite reads.

In July, I waxed nostalgic about and my need to catalog all my books. I gave a couple suggestions, but they were just that: uninspired suggestions and what's currently cluttering my coffee table. I started thinking about this last night, and have decided to tackle the subject of books the same way I did movies. Only the top, five star, favorite books would be included.

I also decided last night, that reading is a must for all future relationships. My "must list" has dwindled over time to include only two items: He must be my height or taller and he must be my age or older. I am now including that he must be a reader. Everyone I have dated hated reading and that has become a problem for me. I will not judge the quality of the reading material, simple that you put your nose in a book from time to time.

So, without further pomp and circumstance, I present:

(The A-F Edition)

"American Skin" by Don de Grazia- I discovered this book one day while shelving the fiction and literature section at the book store I worked at. The cover caught my eye immediately: punk rocker kneeling down to lace up his stompers. "What the hell is this," I thought? Skimming the title, the summary on the back cover, I was intrigued. "American Skin" follows the story of Alex after he runs away from home to Chicago. There, he is befriended by a group of trad skins.

[side note: There are 3 types of skinheads: Trads, Neo-nazi, and SHARPS. Trads (short for Traditional) follow the original skin from England- basically a soccer hooligan with no care for race or creed as long as your a "working man". The don't like the nazi or SHARP skins. Neo-Nazi's need no explanation as they are who we usually picture when the word "skinhead" is uttered. They don't like the trads or SHAPRS. SHARPS stands for Skinheads Against Racial Prejudices and they hate the nazi's and dislike the trads for not caring more]

Anyway, he learns a lot about himself, the world we live in, and of course, love. This was the 1st book I made all my friends read and they loved it too.

"Are You Loathsome Tonight?" by Poppy Z. Brite- I met Ms. Brite when I worked at said book store and she signed all my copies of her books! It was so exciting, and she was lovely. I think people expect authors of horror, or in her case, Splattercore, to be odd and scary people. She certainly plays into that, but is a nice and considerate person. This book is a collection of short stories, which I prefer to her novels. Her style is more disturbing than horrific (hence "splattercore"- think the Eli Roth and Rob Zombie's of the literary world). Many of her works feature themes of homosexuality and serial killers- not mutually exclusive. Is she for everyone? No. However, if you enjoy those types of films, this may be the type of book to get you into reading. EXPLICIT WARNING!!

"Black Coffee Blues" by Henry Rollins- Perhaps best known as the singer for Black Flag and The Rollins Band, Henry Rollins has parlayed his stage performance into a career as an author and spoken word artist. He owns 2.13.61 which publishes his as well as other well know singers and artists works. I have read all of his books, and the ones about travelling, about life and the things he has seen and lived, work better than when he verges on the artistic. The other positive is you don't have to know or be a fan of Rollins to appreciate his work. Start with this one or, if you can find it, "Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag" to get an idea.

"Bloodchild and Other Stories" by Octavia Butler- This book was recommended to me by Head Mess Mistress and have passed it on ever since. Ms. Butler has won many awards which is impressive considering that she writes Science Fiction. Her stories weave a delicate balance between sci-fi and literature, in many cases that line becomes invisible. This book is for looking for a quick yet satisfying and smart read.
"Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction" by Luke Davies- This is another one I discovered while working at the book store. It follows two Australian twenty-somethings as they fall in love with each other and with candy, i.e. heroin. I like to say this is the easy "Trainspotting" (meaning it's easier to read. You ever look at "Trainspotting" the book? It's written in Scottish colloquialisms. Good luck!). They also made this into a movie starring Heath Ledger that I have yet to see (it's in my massive queue) but am told it's okay. So, stick to the book. What I love about this book, are the descriptions of the characters while they're loaded. The care they still show for each other, the way they know how each other will handle their high- it's lovely.

"The Children's Hour" by Lillian Hellman- That's right- a play! I read this after falling in love with the movie starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn. It is about two teachers at a girl's boarding school who are accused of impropriety (read: being lesbians). Who is correct and who is lying? Why would the student's make up such a tale? What are the repercussions? I've read several plays (not counting in school), but they're not my favorite. I think mostly because they are not meant to be read, but to be acted and watched. That being said, the best ones work equally on the page as the screen and this is one of them. Try a double feature. Read the play, then watch the movie. How similar was it to what you imagined?

"From the Corner of His Eye" by Dean Koontz- This book was sent to me by my parents in a care package while I lived in Austin. I'm not sure what prompted it's purchase, as I was not a Koontz fan before, but it made me one after! It also sparked my interest in quantum mechanics and theory. The book follows several stories and people that may or may not be interconnected. There's Bartholomew Lampion who brings change to everyone around him when he is born. In another city, a man learns his fate and destruction lye in the hands of someone named Barhtolomew, though he knows no one by that name. Finally, a deaf girl who may play a part in the lives of both men. It's really good and a longer read then would be expected from the reigning king of publishing (Koontz has published over 80 books and sold more than 400,000,000 copies). Clearly something is working.


  1. Crazy, I've never even heard of any of these books, and had no idea Mr. Rollins was such a prolific author.

    Although I do have to say that I'm a little perturbed by the inclusion of Dean Koontz on this, regardless of how funny his last name sounds.

  2. Don't judge! It took me a long time to pick up that Koontz book for the simple fact that it was written by him. However, I am both sorry and glad to say, it was really good. Now if only I hadn't read those other 12 books of his...