Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Snuff by Chuck Palahnuik

Chuck is one of my favorite authors but his last book, Rant, is one I couldn't even finish and have no desire to try and finish. So, once again, the helpful library came to my rescue! Why buy a hardcover if I'm not sure I'll even like it??

I liked it. It's typical Chuck, written in the same voice, using the same gross-out techniques he employs for just about every novel. But Snuff was more compelling and different enough from his previous books to keep me interested.

Snuff is based on a porn star, Cassie Wright, who is determined to set a world record of screwing 600 guys on film. She previously had a baby and gave it up for adoption and is planning, if she dies during the record setting, to give the baby the insurance money to make it set for life.

The main characters who we're giving a crap about are Sheila, the man wrangler and helpful assistant to Cassie. No. 72, the young kid who comes to the set bearing flowers and a secret. No. 600, washed up porn star who starred with Cassie in many films and is trying to make a comeback. And No. 137 (I think, I don't have the book with me, it's this or 127), a seemingly random young man who has a pretty sketchy background and reason for being part of the film.

There were several twists in this book that I expected and figured out, but then Chuck managed to turn all that on it's head (no pun intended).

This was a good Chuck book, although I'd still recommend Fight Club and Invisible Monsters before this.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Drink with Shane Macgowan by Shane Macgowan

I'm a fan of The Pogues and have seen the Shane Macgowan documentary (his laughter is enough to drive you mad). My friend lent me this book to "round out my education".

Shane has probably done every drug known to man and more. This book is laid out as a straight, stream of consciousness interview with his wife. And streaming it is. It was a fun read but somewhat difficult to grasp, as I think only Shane understands what he is thinking.....maybe.

He contradicts himself almost constantly, his stories are pretty entertaining and funny and probably somewhat false and one-sided but eh, we should be happy the guy is still alive.

Definitely for the Pogues fan....

Great quote:

"I believe you can't be fucked. But I believe you can believe you're fucked, and that can be bad because if you think you're fucked then you are fucked. But you're not really fucked."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris

I love this man.

I've listened to his interviews about this book on NPR and The Daily Show and just love this man. I would have rather listened to this book as read by him but that wasn't feasible at the beach. So I took the new hardback (sans dust jacket) every day to the beach and laughed hysterically while people glanced at me in apparent fear.

I'm still shaking sand from the pages.

Sedaris tells us the stories of Hugh, the worm growing out of his leg, Paris and the spiders in his home, and traveling to Japan just to quit smoking. It is pretty bad when all the good hotels go non-smoking and only a semen covered remote jolts him into realizing that maybe he should just stop smoking.

I particularly loved the line about his finding new snacks in Japan that "tasted like penis". Lord. I can't even comprehend that.

Another good book by Sedaris.

Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich

I took this book on vacation simply because it was compact and didn't take up a lot of space. After reading it, I wonder how it could be so small when the writing and language was so large.

"Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. We are often like rivers: careless and forceful, timid and dangerous, lucid and muddied, eddying, gleaming, still." Whether she's reflecting on nature's teachings, divulging her experiences as a cowpuncher, or painting vivid word portraits of the people she lives and works with, Gretel Ehrlich's observations are lyrical and funny, wise and authentic. After moving from the city to a vast new state, she writes of adjusting to cowboy life, boundless open spaces, and the almost incomprehensible harshness of a Wyoming winter"

Ehrlich moved to Wyoming permanently after her boyfriend passed away and became a helper on a ranch. This book, in incredibly flowing language, describes the Wyoming landscape, the ranches and all that goes on in that entirely alien world.

While I found myself skipping through some of the more descriptive passages, I did enjoy this book and wondered how I missed all this about Wyoming on my travels through that state. Anyone who chooses ranching is obviously made of tougher stuff than I am, since some of the descriptions of the work, such as sheepherding, made my skin crawl. I'm really not an outdoors girl.