Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Book Roundup

So. Summer is on its way out, and I have updated this blog even less than I did during the year. Which isn’t good, considering that a lot of what I spent my summer doing was…well, reading. As you’ll see in a moment, most of this reading was extremely ‘extra-curricular’. There are probably deep-seated emotional reasons for my not continuing to do little web write-ups of my reading habits—chief among them the realization that the things that I have to say about books, if they’re even marginally accurate, are almost exactly the same things that most rational reviewers might say—but today, as I moped around the apartment, I did what all sad schlubs do when they’re sitting around with too much to do and too little hope: I Googled my name. Lo and Behold! Right after my and facebook profiles, up pops this website. Hence, as a last-ditch effort to control my public persona (but obviously not that much, given this intro), I provide you, the reading public, with a list of selections from my non-internet summer reading, completely lacking any annotations.

Please judge me lightly. If a selection here seems unusually shitty or repugnant (i.e., The Turner Diaries, which is just as shitty and repugnant as you’ve heard, if you’ve heard of it), chalk that up to me doing unassigned research. Like a real-life critic, I’ve put an asterisk by the titles I’d especially recommend. In no particular order…

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan

*Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, by Gail A Eisnitz

Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel

American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, by Lou Michel & Dan Herbeck

The Turner Diaries, by Andrew Macdonald

Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy, by Joan Burbick

McTeague, by Frank Norris

*The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. LeGuin

*Glamorama and Imperial Bedrooms, by Bret Easton Ellis

Horns, by Joe Hill

The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America, by Martin Amis

*Eating the Dinosaur, by Chuck Klosterman

Consciousness and the Novel, by David Lodge

The Prisoner of Sex, by Norman Mailer

Sexual Personae, by Camille Paglia

Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, by Nick Reding

Is this all? I’m not sure. Without launching into a 20,000 word post, it’s hard to say much about the whole. Some were great, some (see: Mailer, Norman) pretty terrible. It’s worth mentioning that this was the summer that I finally caught up with some of the great TV of our modern age, and I can say with little embarassment that I enjoyed making my way through The Wire and Breaking Bad more than anything else on this list.