jackshoegazer: (Books/Wall)
01) Excerpts from: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Seventh Edition, Package 1: Volumes A and B
A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia by Thomas Harriot ѧ
General History of Virginia by John Smith ѧ
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford ѧ
A Model of Christian Charity and excerpts of Journal by John Winthrop ѧ
Select poems by Anne Bradstreet
The Way to Wealth and Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin ѧ
The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson ѧ
The American Scholar, The Divinity School Address, and Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson ѧ
The Great Lawsuit by Margaret Fuller ѧ
The Birth-Mark and Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Narrative of the Life and What to the Slave is the Fourth of July by Frederick Douglass ѧ
Bartleby, the Scrivener and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville
Select poems by Emily Dickinson
02) The Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Latin (B)ѧ

03) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (A)
04) The Country of Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (A)
05) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (A)

06) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (B+)
07) Quicksand by Nella Larsen (A)
08) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (A)
09) Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (A)

10) The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston (A+)ѧ
11) Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge (A)

12) The Lost City of Z by David Grann (A+)ѧ
13) Magician: Apprentice by Raymond Feist (B)
14) Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (A)

15) Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky (...in progress)ѧ
16) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (...in progress)
previously read | ѧnonfiction
jackshoegazer: (Books/Wall)
01) The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (A)ѧ
02) Don't Sleep There Are Snakes: A Life in the Amazon by Daniel Everett (B)ѧ

03) To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson & the Quest for a New World Order by T.J. Knock (A-)ѧ
04) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (A)ѧ

05) The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking Book II by Patrick Ness (B)
06) IT by Stephen King (A)

07) American Nerd: The Story of my People by Benjamin Nugent (C+)ѧ
08) If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell (A)ѧ

09) My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor (A)ѧ
10) The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (A)

11) When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (C+)ѧ
12) Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut (B)
13) Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin (A-)

14) The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Vol.1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (A+)
15) The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: the Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale (A)
16) Drood by Dan Simmons (A)

17) The Terror by Dan Simmons (A+)
18) No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (A)

19) Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut (A)
20) Remembering Babylon by David Malouf (A)
21) Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (A)

22) Pentecost by David Edgar (B)
23) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (C+)
24) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (A+)

25) The Half-Inch Himalayas by Agha Shahid Ali (A)
26) Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe (B-)
27) Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon (A)

28) The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (A)
29) Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (...in progress)

previously read | ѧnonfiction
jackshoegazer: (Books/Wall)
I've tallied up the books I've read this year and with a month to go, I've only read... TWENTY! Considering I used to beat the Fifty Book Challenge to death, I'm a little disappointed. I did read some really, really good books, and one could go for that whole quality versus quantity argument, but I won't. I'll still get a few more in there. After I finish Stranger in a Strange Land, I'm going to burn through Dan Brown's latest farce.

Yeah, I read Dan Brown, and even kind of enjoy it. Being a student of the occult and conspiracy theories, I am always amused by what he does. He's a poor man's Umberto Eco or an idiot's Robert Anton Wilson. I even had the idea for The DaVinci Code years before he wrote that book (because he basically cribbed the whole things from Holy Blood, Holy Grail) and never got around to writing it up. This new one is supposed to be all about Freemasonry, so I'll enjoy that and see what kind of horror he dribbles all over it.

Stranger in a Strange Land is an odd, odd book, and had I read it ten years ago, I think it would have completely flipped my lid. It is really amazing on a lot of levels, particularly in the theological messages of the book (Thou Art God!) However, it has a Libertarian streak a thousand miles wide, which is actually tolerable since it is balanced out and not quite the brand of annoying Libertarianism that is rampant today. There's also some hints of Randian Objectivism, but just hints (altruism is bad!) which is also balanced out. All in all, the book does manage to portray a wide variety of views. The one part that I'm having trouble with is the sexism. I realize that it was the early 60's and yes, it was definitely a more sexist culture when it was written (no excuse, just being aware of context.) It just heavily jars against the more progressive ideas that are presented in the book. Granted, in 1961, when this book came out, it was extremely progressive (so much so that 67,000 words were cut from the original for being "shocking" and "against social mores" and I think the progress we've made int he last fifty years erases some of the better points the novel makes, and by contrast makes the backward parts all the more stark.

P.S. Don't spoil the end for me - I'm still not finished! (Only at the part when Ben is telling Jubal about Mike's newest, uh, venture.)
jackshoegazer: (Writing/Reading)
01)  Hogfather by Terry Pratchett  (B+)
02)  Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland 
03)  Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut  (A)
04)  Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  (A+)
05)  Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkinsѧ  (C)
06)  Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey  (B)
07)  Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robisonѧ  (A-)
08)  The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness  (A+)
09)  Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughsѧ  (B+)
10)  Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card  (C+)
11)  Children of God by Mary Doria Russell  (B)
12)  A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin  (A+)
13)  Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland  (B+)
14)  Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill  (B-)
15)  The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen  (B)
16)  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh  (A-)
17)  A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
ѧ  (A)
18)  Catching Fire by
by Suzanne Collins  (B+)
19)  No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories by Miranda July (A)
20)  Stranger in a Strange Land, Restored Edition by Robert A. Heinlein (...in progress)

previously read | ѧnonfiction

I basically didn't read anything the first five or six months of this year.  Almost all of these books were read this summer.
jackshoegazer: (Empty/Shell)
I just finished Flowers for Algernon.  It is, I think, the most emotionally crushing book I've ever read.  I've never cried this hard at the end of a book.  The closest to this was at the end of A Prayer for Owen Meany.  My God, I can't even think about this book without getting verklempt.  I think, for me, the hardest part, is realizing he'd hit these magnificent transcendent highs, and then to be denied even the memory of them, left only with a hint, a vague whisper.  To meet God, and then forget.  This is a true novel of ultimate loss.  
jackshoegazer: (Jack/Tattoo)
I just finished John Carter's biography of Jack Parsons, which, until I was filling out my Media List, I didn't know [profile] lagizma was the Amazon star reviewer for.  It's extra amusing because she seems to have read it from a rocket history perspective whereas I read it for the occult history perspective and thus were annoyed by opposite aspects of the book.

By day, Jack Parsons was one of the founders of Jet Propulsion Laboratories and basically single-handedly invented the rocket.  By night, he was Frater 210, the self-proclaimed Antichrist, a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, and a follower of Aleister Crowley (rhymes with 'holy'.)  Oddly enough, he was a very meticulous, if reckless scientist, but a very sloppy and reckless magician.  (Though his death might suggest otherwise.  He was killed in an explosion in his home when he was 37.)

The information in the book was great and I drank it up, but Carter's writing is simply bad and uninteresting.  His speculations are often spotty and he blindly repeats some untrue myths about Crowley as fact.  Otherwise, it was a nice view into the early years of the OTO and Thelema in America.  My favorite parts, I think, were the excerpts from Crowley's correspondence.  He was intelligent and witty till the very end.  (Jack Parsons sent large amount of money to Crowley on a regular basis, supporting Crowley in his last years.)  Much of this time period was not covered in Crowley's autobiography, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, also appears in quite a large chunk of this book as a magical scribe and con man.

I have a few more books about Parsons to read for research.  He and Hubbard performed some powerful rituals that were well beyond their skill levels and there is a whole branch of conspiracies that say they opened a sort of magical portal and that's where UFOs came from.  Considering that Aleister Crowley once contacted an entity named LAM who looked much like a modern grey alien, it's an interesting story to delve into.  I want to use portions of this for a book I've been planning for quite a while.  After reading this, I may want to add a bit more, like the connections Parsons and Hubbard had with John Dee & Edward Kelley.  (Hubbard stole a very large sum of money and ran off with Parsons' wife.  Kelley did the same to Dee way back in the ye olde 1500s.)

Hopefully further books will be better written.  I can see why this is the only book John carter has written.
jackshoegazer: (Thoughts/Brain)


   01) Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons by John Carter (C+)
   02) The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (A+)
   03) Fear & Loathing in America: The Gonzo Letters, Vol. II by Hunter S. Thompson (A-)

   04) All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (A)

   05) Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill (A)
   06) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (A+)

   07) The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (B)
   08) Doom Patrol, Book 1: Crawling From the Wreckage by Grant Morrison (B)
   09) Doom Patrol, Book 2: The Painting That Ate Paris by Grant Morrison (B+)
   10) The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs (A)

   11) Doom Patrol, Book 3: Down Paradise Way by Grant Morrison (C)
   12) The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (A+)

   13) Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, Book One) by Robin Hobb (A)

   14) Mad Ship (Liveship Traders, Book Two) by Robin Hobb (A)

   15) Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders, Book Three) by Robin Hobb (A)
   16) Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (B+)
   17) Nature's God: The Historical Illuminatus! Chronicles, Book Three by Robert Anton Wilson (B-)

   18) Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (B+)
   19) Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut (A+)

   20) An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (B+)

   21) Y: The Last Man, Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores by Brian K. Vaughan (A)  
   22) The Carnivorous Carnival: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9 by Lemony Skicket (B)
   23) Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
   24) The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (A-)

25) The Final Solution by Michael Chabon (B+)
   26) Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (B)


   27) Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken (B+) ѧ
28) Flashbacks by Timothy Leary (A)

   29) Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (...in progress)

previously read


jackshoegazer: (Writing/Typehead)
I failed miserably.  Thirty-four books.  Granted, I started a job this year (in February) that does not allow me to read while working (for obvious reasons,) and I started school this fall, and most of the summer I was reading Harpers and The New Yorker all the time.  I also read the entire Y: The Last Man series (so far.)  There are also quite a few more re-reads this year than in the past.  I'm calling them comfort reads.  Anyway, here is The List For 2007.  And for mere posterity, here is The List For 2006.

EDIT: The Breakdown

1) The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
2) The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut
3) Supernatural by Graham Hancock
4) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
5) The Road by Cormac McCarthy

HONOURABLE MENTION: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

23% female
77% male

59% U.S.A.
41% U.K.

12% non-fiction
88% fiction

65% first-time
35% re-reads
jackshoegazer: (Shaman/Joe)
"Either he had seen God too soon or he had seen him too late.  In any case, it had done him no good at all in terms of survival.  Encountering the living God had not helped to equip him for tasks of ordinary endurance, which ordinary men, not so favored, handle."

~Philip K. Dick, VALIS
jackshoegazer: (Writinghead)
I finished P.D. James' The Children of Men.  Like many, I came to this book after seeing the excellent film by Alfonso Cuarón based on P.D.'s book.  Let me state unequivocally:  if you are expecting to read the book version of the movie, you will be sorely disappointed.

The book shares very little with the film.  In fact, I can share the similarities with you.  The premise is the same - humans can't breed, there have been no births for over twenty-five years.  The main character's name is Theo.  He has an elderly friend named Jasper.  There is a character named Julian.  There is a pregnant girl. There is a scene where a log is blocking a road.  That about covers it.

Now, one might think that this means the book was not good, however one would be wrong.  The book is excellent, absolutely entertaining, shocking, and melancholy.  The first quarter of the book reads like a beautiful eulogy for the human race.  The characters are flawed, and so like real people. trapped in their unconscious programming and only change when the universe, or in this case, P.D. James, whacks them upside the head with the consequences of their actions.  Actually, like the film, it's dark, yet ultimately hopeful.  And somehow it makes you wonder if perhaps it had been best if we'd died off anyway.

I think it best, that if you're coming to this book after having seen the film, you must erase your mind of the movie, and think of this as a completely different entity with only a few coincidental similarities.  Otherwise, the memory of the phenomenal film could taint one's experience and ruin a perfectly good novel.
jackshoegazer: (Books/Shelf Kid)
(F) 01)  The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (A)
(N) 02)  Supernatural by Graham Hancock (A)
(N) 03)  Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman (B)
(F) 04)  The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (A+)
(F) 05)  The Road by Cormac McCarthy (A-)
(F) 06)  All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland (B+)
(F) 07)  The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (B+)
(N) 08)  A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke (A-)
(F) 09)  The Children of Men by P.D. James (B+)
(F) 10)  When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro (B+)
(F) 11)  Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (A)*
(F) 12)  Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (A-)*
(F) 13)  Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (A+)*
(F) 14)  Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (A+)*
(F) 15)  Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (A-)*
(F) 16)  Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (A)*
(N) 17)  A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (A)
(F) 18)  A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (B)
(F) 19)  War All the Time by Charles Bukowski (B)
(F) 20)  Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (A)
(F) 21)  Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (A)*
(F) 22) 
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (A+)*
(F) 23)  The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (A)
(F) 24)  V.A.L.I.S. by Philip K. Dick (A+)*
(F) 25)  The Austere Academy by Lemony Snickets (B)
(F) 26)  The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snickets (B+)
(F) 27)  The Vile Village by Lemony Snickets (A-)
(F) 28)  The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snickets (A-)
(F) 29)  Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut (A+)*
(F) 30)  The Princess Bride by William Goldman (A)
(F) 31)  The Peace War by Vernor Vinge (A)*
(F) 32)  The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut (A+)
(F) 33)  Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card (B+)
(F) 34)  The Widow's Son: The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Vol. 2 by Robert Anton Wilson (A+)*
jackshoegazer: (Kaboom)
"Terrorism is the only imaginable response to America's foreign policy, just as street crime is the only imaginable, logical response to America's drug policy."

-Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, page 394 (c)2000
jackshoegazer: (Typewriterface)
I just finished John Irving's The Cider House Rules.  (WARNING... SPOLIERS)

I really don't know what to say.  Like the end of all Irving's books, I'm a bit speechless, a bit melancholic, with a heavy weight on my heart from the tragedy of it all, and yet I can't be angry or feel manipulated because I know that's exactly how things should have happened, and it says much for Mr. Irving that he wrote it anyway, regardless of the lives he had to create for these people.  At the end, it all makes sense, and you can see the terrible arc of each character, the orbit of their life, and yet he manages to keep it hidden from you, revealing only piece by tiny piece.

The most powerful aspect of this book for me was Melony.  Brutal and vicious, anger incarnate, she came to represent everything dark and backwards about Homer's past, and in a way became the very symbol for his past, always out there, searching for you, no matter how far and how fast you run from it.  No matter how much you hide it, cover it, confuse, blunder and belittle it, it will follow you and one day, it will catch you.  Because it is part of you and you can never leave part of yourself behind, no matter how ugly and embarrassing.  And once Homer was reunited with his past, he became whole, Melony became the sunshine she'd always thought of him as, she shed light into his life, the darkness of his past had become the light that saved his life, that made him complete. 

The imagery is powerful, when Melony has her breakdown in the bathroom, and she thinks of how she's never been a mirror girl, but she acts as a mirror for Homer, reflecting back what he has become, not the hero, but incomplete and corrupt.  It is only when he is brought into the light, reunited with his shadow, that he sees his true path, the path he'd been running from for all those years.  I hated her for most of the book.  I couldn't stand her.  I prayed she would never find him, and loathed at the thought of her reunion with Homer, cringed when she would get close, but it was her final return to St. Cloud's that really brought the book home and left me in tears.  Long live Melony, though she lived in darkness, always saw the truth.

I am suddenly reminded of something I read long ago, about how God must dwell in darkness, for he is the source of all light, and thus none shines upon him.
jackshoegazer: (Sexy Typewriter)
Pick 7 favorite books. Post the first line of each book (obscuring names if need be). Challenge your friends list to guess the books.

Guess the books from their first lines!

1)  "It was the year they finally immanentized the Eschaton."  The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea by [profile] ghostwes

2) "The naked parrot looked like a human fetus spliced onto a kosher chicken."  Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates -- Tom Robbins by [profile] davidgallaher1 and [profile] wwonka666

3) "Horselover Fat's nervous breakdown began the day he got a phone call from Gloria asking if he had any Nembutals."  VALIS -- Philip K. Dick by [profile] protodisco

4) "It was the afternoon of my eithy-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."  Earthly Powers -- Anthony Burgess by [profile] ms_elusive

5) "This is the tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast."  Breakfast of Champions -- Kurt Vonnegut by [profile] gutzilla

6) "I was conceived on a military reservation, West Point, New York, on the night of January 17, 1920.

7) "My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious."  Memories, Dreams, Reflections -- Carl Jung by [profile] kexxy
jackshoegazer: (MOnkey)
Good morning.  Ok, so it's almost one in the afternoon, but I just finished breakfast so it's still morning to me.  Later I will head out for some errand-running and laundromat-visiting, but for now, I am procrastinating to the best of my ability.  Like playing around in Photoshop to make this portrait, this self-aggrandizing picture.

So now what, you ask?  What's going on?

I haven't been around much, I haven't even turned on my computer this week.  My power supply is all fucky so it takes upwards of a half of an hour to get it started.  Ethan started school this week and between family time and dinner and whatnot, I don't have the energy or time to sit around and get it up and going.  I've been checking in here and there with certain journals, but I haven't time to read everyone right now.  I've got my weekends to try and catch up, but it's just too much.  You people will just have to stop posting.  Not.

Everything has been great, actually.  Ethan is adjusting to his new school quite well, in fact it seems to be his favorite school and favorite batch of teachers yet.  His main teacher sent a note home informing me that he is an excellent student, very smart and quite creative.  I had a revelation about middle school as I dropped him off the other day.  There was a trio of girls walking down the sidewalk, obviously 8th graders  in the midst of puberty, appearing much more like high school students.  Directly behind them was another trio of girls yet to be pillaged by adolescent hormones.  They were small and looked like young children.  MIddle school is this strange place they put you for those most awkward years when we transform.  The middle school chrysalis, the junior high cocoon.

Jacquelyn has overloaded herself with coursework as usual, so she's sufficiently challenged and fretting.  We made a brief appearance at the Geography Department picnic.  I mostly talked with her advisor's wife about child-rearing.  I don't know jack-patooty about geography.  Most of the people seems to be broken off into little groups talking shop.  I felt sufficiently silenced by that, uncomfortable in the way of a family reunion where you barely know anyone and feel like you should talk to people but can't bring yourself to do so.

Afterward, we went to [profile] kiwikat and [profile] shevus' place to get caught up as we haven't talked to them in quite a while.  I had a headache from hell on top of major sinus congestion, so add that to a week of waking up at 5:30am, we didn't stay too long, but ties have been sufficiently reconnected, reconstructed and now I've seen some good videos of a guy juggling to music.  All is well in the world.

I just finished Oh The Glory Of It All by Sea Wilsey which was excellent.  I've started Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  I've been a book devouring fiend.  I'm pretty much on schedule for my FIFTY BOOK CHALLENGE.  I'm going to shower and get motivated.  There's alot to be done before Ethan comes back from his mum's place, wo I must bid you adieu!
jackshoegazer: (#23 Madison Lighting)
A requested in [profile] booksalon, I present my Top Twenty Books, listed in no particular order.  Now keep in mind, I judge these books, not by their objective literary value, but by how much I enjoyed them and/or how much they meant to me on a very subjective level.

01)  Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
02)  Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung
03)  Flashbacks by Timothy Leary
04)  The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson
05)  Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
06)  The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
07)  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
08)  Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
09)  Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
10)  Across Realtime by Vernor Vinge
11)  Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
12)  VALIS by Philip K. Dick
13)  A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber
14)  The Ender Quartet by Orson Scott Card
15)  Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins
16)  Island by Aldous Huxley
17)  Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
18)  The Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
19)  Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
20)  Death by Zamboni by David David Katzman

I just finished book number twenty-six on my Fifty Book Challenge for this year, which puts me at about two to four books behind schedule.  Not too shabby.  Not too shabby at all.
jackshoegazer: (Bookheads)
I'm reading this excellent book about the strange things our military gets up to, like training soldiers to walk through walls and kill goats by looking at them.  Here is an amusing tidbit I thought I'd share...
The Americans have always been better than the Iraquis at leaflets.  Early on in the first Gulf War, Iraqui PsyOps dropped a batch of their own leaflets on U.S. troops, designed to be psychologically devastating.  They read. "Your wives are back home having sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds."
~from The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson
Jeez, don't the Iraqui's know Bart Simpson is a minor.  That's illegal.
jackshoegazer: (#23 Madison Lighting)
Alas, I have finished the much beheld wonderficality that is 1776 by David McCullough.  As you can imagine it was a book about the start of the American Revolutionary War, covering from the summer of 1775 through January of 1777.  This being one of my favorite time periods, (the fifty-ish years surrounding the American and French revolutions) it was not hard to keep me entertained.

Washington was a bad-ass glowing angel who was often a bit indecisive.  He could go from worrying that his entire army had no shoes to explaining how he'd like the fireplace at his new home to be centered along the south wall so fast you'd think the two things were worth equal worry.

The oddest part was seeing my relatives at work.  Literally.  Several times in the book, Dr. Benjamin Rush showed up, either quoted from his journnals or others.  He was one of the few signers of the Declaration of Independence who actually saw the horror of war.  He volunteered his services as a field doctor.  He was also good friends with Thomas Jefferson.  The two wrote many letters back and forth, interpreting eachothers dreams.  He encouraged Thomas Paine to put his thoughts to writing and then to press, and even suggested to him the title of Common Sense for the reulting pamphlet.

And I'm related to him.  One of his daughters married a Parker, and here I am.

Speaking of non-fiction  books, [personal profile] antarcticlust just started the only non-fiction book community on LJ.  If you're interested in books that true or at least attempt to be scholarly, or even perhaps informative, check out [profile] literal_libris.  It should be good times.

I just ate a pumpernickel bagel with nuefshatel.

And if it's something you're interested in, here is my updated list of books read this year:

I'm starting Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood today.  I will catch up!

Seriously, I will!
jackshoegazer: (Reading in the Dark)
I finally finished Jim Morrison's Adventures in the Afterlife by Mick Farren. 

I liked it at first, but it quickly lost focus and felt like it was meandering, trying to fill space.  The metaphysics weren't very clear and the author had a horrible habit of stopping a chapter at a cliff-hanger, like Jim was confronted by bad-bad things!  And then the next chapter starts with the aftermath of the battle where Jim has emerged victorious!  And then he goes on to explain how he managed victory.  So annoying.  The best bit was when God shows up to explain everything, especially how God wants to wipe us out because he knew we were all big trouble since the first Cro-Magnons started slaughtering Neanderthals, but he won't because he likes giraffes and rhinos so much.

I hate to admit it because it seems like I'm tooting my own horn, but seriously, I write better than Mick Farren.  How this book got four and a half stars out of five on Amazon, I have NO idea.

My next book is 1776 by David McCullough.  It won the Pulitzer.  So far it rules.

When George Washington arrived tot ake command of the Continental Army outside of Boston, he asked how many soldier and how much gunpowder they had.  Aftter an eight-day census, he discovered they had about 14,000 troops and enough gunpowder for about nine, yes only nine shots per soldier.  Washington didn't speak for a half hour after that.

Jacquelyn made these amazing enchiladas today with tomatillo sauce.  I made the accompanying cornbread.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of cornbread.  I think the key is lots of butter.

I have to go to sleep now.  I feel like this week has flown by and I somehow missed it.  By the way, if you have to watch The Wicker Man, I suggest you ingest a psychedelic beforehand.  It's feels like a Terry Gilliam musical neo-pagan nightmare.  You kind of giggle, laugh and think what-the-funk?

Here I will leave you with something amusing I found elsewhere:


Conincidence? I think not.


jackshoegazer: (Default)

February 2012

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