Category Archives: Books

Andrew McCarthy on Imperial Gardens

Weird. Here's Andrew McCarthy who played Clay in the movie version of Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero talking about Imperial Gardens, the sequel of Less Than Zero. "Oh, him. I remember him." The voice you'll hear in the audiobook of Imperial Gardens is McCarthy. I guess he's available.

via sagatrope

Best Books of the Year?

The Omnivoracious blog on Amazon compared their year end top 100 books list, with the New York Times 100 Notable Books and Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2009 to get a composite of the best books of 2009. There were 11 books that were on all 3 lists this year, plus 2 that were not on the Notable 100, but were on other NY Times lists. For what it's worth, there were 13 last year and 11 in 2007. No women authors made the cut, only 2 novels, and 2 graphic novels.
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Born Round by Frank Bruni
Cheever by Blake Bailey
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Fordlandia by Greg Grandin
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford
Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan (not in NYT's 100 Notable, but in their best cookbooks list)
The Jazz Loft Project by Sam Stephenson (not in NYT's 100 Notable, but in their Gift Books list)

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

Hearing how Chuck Klosterman's voice sounds on Bill Simmons' podcasts makes it a little more awesome to read this book. I thought the premise tying this book together was unnecessary, as Spin could have just sent Klosterman on a road trip. It's worth reading even if I don't know whether to pronounce Klosterman as Close-terman or Claws-terman.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Book About Meat

I read Jonathan Safran Foer's piece about eating meat in the NYTimes Magazine's Food Issue and didn't quite get it. The title was clear, "Why Jonathan Safran Foer Chose to Give Up Meat", but that didn't seem to be what the column was about. Admittedly, I skimmed the whole thing, but my sense was that Foer had given up meat several times (every other paragraph, it seemed) and that he had settled on eating it once in a while, but not serving it to his kids. Frankly, the column seemed jumbled and stupid [POT! KETTLE!], an attempt to get a famous writer to talk about their personal psychic struggle with eating meat. So I giggled a little at Bookslut's take on Foer's latest book, Eating Animals:
I am trying so hard to be nice to Jonathan Safran Foer, by which I mean I am trying to forget he exists on this planet. His book Eating Animals, however, is making this goal very, very difficult. It was bad enough when he was writing shitty novels, but now he's indulging in my least favorite form of nonfiction: the "I have never thought about this thing before until now, and despite the fact that other people have thought about this for years and wrestle daily with the implications, I think my brand new thoughts should be shared with the world." Whatever the topic -- religion, marriage, gender, food politics -- the books are always shallow, yet for some reason a lot of people take them seriously.

Via my blogbuddy, who got it from Prettier Than Napoleon who said accurately:
The proper place for deep thoughts on issues that you just started examining but which have already been exhaustively discussed by more informed people is a blog. GYOFB, Jonathan Safran Foer.

An Unscientific Survey of Books People Love Annoyingly and Books People Hate

Waxy pointed to a question on Metafilter asking What books do people proselytize about and said, "Someone needs to compile this into a list, ordered by mentions." How could I not?

I took every book and author mentioned and compiled a list for both. If a book was listed with an author, this was counted as an entry for the book only. The Metafilter question asked for fiction books only, but this rule wasn't really followed so I counted everything. I did this fast and any errors can be blamed on speed, Drew's Cancer, or both. Finally, it becomes obvious quite quickly, that this list is more about books people don't like, as opposed to books with fanatical fans. This is summed up best by commenter OhHenryPacey, "If this list proves anything it's that assholes are assholes and will be assholes about just about anything or book you'd care to mention." You can't argue with logic like that.

Interesting findings:
-Ayn Rand blew away the competition in the author Category with 11 mentions, while The Celestine Prophecy edged out Harry Potter 8-6 in the Books category.
-There are 124 titles on the Books list and 56 Authors.
-People mentioned Jonathan Livingston Seagull 3 times, spelling the name 3 different ways.
-Twilight had 4 mentions, though I expect this to grow over time.
-Kottke will be happy to note that while Infinite Jest is on the Books list 4 times, David Foster Wallace is not mentioned on the Authors list.
-Looking quickly, Ayn Rand inspires the most assholish proselytizing with a combined score of 16. But what do you expect with a name like Ayn.
-Seriously? The Wizard of Oz? You must not like anything.

Full list below: Continue reading

Lee Child, Nothing To Lose

When my dad visits, he can always be counted on to leave behind some hyper-masculine paperback trash (what's the counterpart of chick-lit, will "dude-lit" work?). The Reacher series can be summed up as the continuing adventures of an unbelievable bad-ass who goes around doing bad-ass things for, essentially, the sake of pure bad-assery. The writing isn't spectacular, and the plots aren't realistic, but there are worse ways to spend a few hours.