Cover of "A Man Without a Country"

Cover of A Man Without a Country

The year is coming to a close, and I didn’t know what to blog about today. I have a million thoughts swimming around, you know, so it’s hard to focus them into a blog post at the moment. Since my techie category had so many posts, I thought I would tell you about some of the books I read this year.

At the beginning of the year I reread Fight Club and got on a little Palahniuk kick. I read Survivor, Rant, Lullaby, and Diary before Spring came. I love Chuck Palahniuk because he is a sick bastard. He writes things that you probably think but would never say, and I like writers that rip you out of your comfort zone. Survivor was my favorite – the main character is so twisted yet innocent. It’s actually painful to feel what you feel for him because you know he’s sick. Plus, there are great tips for getting blood out of upholstrey (should you ever need a tip like that).

Then I went to Australia and found a wickedly awesome comic book store where I bought World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide. Max Brooks is not a good writer. I didn’t feel anything for the characters or situations, so the reading was like watching cartoons. Braindead. Also, there are several incidents in which Mr. Brooks insults East German’s and their culture. This pisses me off. He doesn’t know anything about East Germany, and it shows.

After being annoyed with Max Brooks, I read a couple of non-fiction books. I read Ich bin dann mal Offline (translation: I’ll be offline for a bit) by Christoph Koch, a journalist who decided to see what it would be like to unplug for six weeks. This book would have had potential had Mr Koch gone offline for a significant amount of time (when I read the jacket I read “six months” instead of six weeks), or if he’d been an actual internet junky like I am. It wasn’t that interesting. Again, the writing wasn’t all that great. Then I bought iDoof, youDoof, wiiDoof (doof means stupid in German) in an airport. It’s not really a book, more a collection of rant essays. Some of them are kind of funny, but it wasn’t really worth my time.

I swung back to fiction in May and read Vollidiot by Tommy Jaud. His writing reminds me of Sven Regener, so I liked that. I like main characters who are kind of jerks. Weirdly, these characters are usually men, though every once in a while you find a writer who puts effort into making female characters fit into the jerk stigma. A friend recommended The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas, and the main character (female) was definitely a jerk. I identified with her (not that I’m a jerk, but…). I read Spunik Sweetheart and reaffirmed my like of Hurakami.

After those, I wanted some real substance, so I started rereading some classics. I started with a modern classic American Psycho. Nothing much to say about that. It wasn’t enough substance for me, so I followed it up with Lord of the Flies, which I hadn’t read since elementary school. If you haven’t read it as an adult, I highly recommend it. You’ll be amazed at your memory of the book versus what the book actually is. After Lord of the Flies, I read Animal Farm, another I hadn’t read since the fifth grade. As a fifth grader, I didn’t understand all the nuances of the political climate in Animal Farm, despite that being the main part of the curriculum. I also didn’t know anything about Stalin or Lenin, so back then, I didn’t get it. I’m reread Brave New World (for the third or fourth time). Huxley never ceases to amaze me.

I reread Slaughterhouse-Five, which is completely different when you live in the city Vonnegut was a POW in. Then I reread Vonnegut’s A Man Without A Country, which should be a must read for every American (bold statement, I know, but it’s true).

I threw in some Hunter S. Thompson because it’d been a while, and The War of Art because three different people recommended it to me.

I also finished draft one of How to Wake Up (it still needs work, but I haven’t had time lately) and started writing another book, which is 25% finished and so awesome I can’t believe I wrote it in my spare time. On top of the countless blogs, magazines, newspapers, and tweets I read this year, I’d say I got a pretty decent literature fix.

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