Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What is George W. Bush Reading?

Yann Martel is much smarter than I am. You might have been wondering that. It's true. He is much smarter and all sorts of cleverer. Evidence of this is that he has taken it upon himself to send Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, a book "known to expand stillness" every two weeks. A log of each of these selections along with a letter establishing his reasoning behind each book choice can be found at:

Trust me. It is very good reading. It has me wondering which books I might send George W. Bush and what theme I might choose. I respect the role of the president enough to understand he or she doesn't have much time for reading, but then again, this president sure does take long vacations. He could read then. Certainly he ought to read more about people who are different from him, which is just about everybody not in his "base." And certainly he ought to read about the value of the environment beyond sporting purposes. Toward these ends, I am putting out a possible list:

1. Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
3. The Light the Dead See by Frank Stafford
4. Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron
5. The Little House on the Prairies series
6. Coming into the Country by John McPhee
7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
8. 1984 by George Orwell

I need another truly female book. I'm at a loss at present. That's okay. I can keep adding.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I'm living in the eighties. Eighties. I have to push. I have to struggle.

The answer is Killing Joke. If you were trying to remember the name of the band who did that awesome song called Eighties, it's Killing Joke. And shit yeah, it's a good song.

I need help. I have an 80s icon costume party to attend very soon and I'd love some ideas on who or what I should go as. Here are some considerations, but nothing feels right yet. I could be any of these, but am really hoping someone has a better idea:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

All Hail John Puchniak, America's Best Reader ... Or At Least, Collector, of Books

It goes without saying, I am a reader.

I'm not one of those people who would say they couldn't live without books, but I would say that my life is dramatically improved by books. I might even go so far as to say that books are a part of my reason to live. The characters and the stories and the participation in the lives of others make life sometimes manageable, and other times, downright worth all the weariness of it.

That having been said, I'm no John Puchniak, a man who was evicted from his Philadelphia apartment for having too many books. His landlord told him his collection of over 3000 books was a "fire hazard and an immediate danger to all the other tenants." This is a guy who would probably say he couldn't live without books. Unfortunately, he can't really live with them either.

Who better to get a book suggestion from than John Puchniak himself, who, in addition to reading a busload of books written in English, also reads novels in Hebrew, Spanish, and Polish. If he had all the time in the world to read, he says he would start with Murasaki Shikibu's, "The Tale of Gengi," which documents Japanese courtlife from 950-1050 A.D. After that he would like to read all of Proust's, "Remembrances of Things Past" - the Montcrieff edition, of course.

If I had all the time in the world -- well, I try to read like I do. Otherwise I would just get overwhelmed. They say Wordsworth was the last person who could have possibly read everything ever written. I am striving to read at least 1% of everything ever written. I think John Puchniak might reach 3% of everything ever written. Maybe 5%.

Toward my 1%, I'm currently reading Carson McCullers, "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter." Anyone who wants to have a little online book club with me in reading this would be welcomed and appreciated. Also, discussions and insights into other items on my summer reading list would also be appreciated. This includes but is not limited to: Martel's, "The Life of Pi," most of Jeanette Winterson, Coetzee's, "Elizabeth Costello," and Coelho's, "The Alchemist."

For more on the inspiring Mr. John Puchniak, go here: