November 04, 2004

On Books: October

I feel uniquely qualified to review the books on my reading list for October. Largely because I've read them. As always at the beginning of the month, here are the reviews...

First, my guilty pleasure read of the month, Bentley Little's The Resort. I lurve me a good, cheesy horror novel, especially one by Little. No, he's not the world's greatest writer but he's got some interesting ideas. As he did with The Association, The Store and The Policy, he takes an everyday situation - staying in a luxury resort in Arizona - and takes it into creepy-ass territory. I still favor The Association over all his other novels, but this was entertaining. I mean, what can you say about horror - it ain't groundbreaking but its a lot of fun.

With Take The Cannoli, Sarah Vowell - contributor to NPR and McSweeny's - examines American culture with honest, often hilarious, and generally bizarre insight. From an examination of Abe Vigoda's character in The Godfather (from which the title of the book was taken) and her subsequent obsession with the film to an examination of Frank Sinatra as the original American punk, Vowell peeks at our national quirks. And shines.

I admire Chuck Palahniuk, not to the extent of many of his loyal followers who've seemingly sipped from the Chuck Kool-Aid, but I honestly believe his Invisible Monsters was one of the wisest books I've read in years. Sadly, Diary doesn't live up to its predecessors. Despite being packed with Palahniuk's usual wit and manic narrative, the book failed to capture me. Sure, it was just wasn't great. Try Invisible Monsters, then Lullaby. If you're still intrigued, and not entirely worn out from the frenetic pace of Palahniuk's novels, check out Diary.

Fidelity is a collection of short stories by Michael Redhill, acclaimed for his debut novel Martin Sloane. While I own his first novel, I haven't yet read it. Instead, I dove into a copy of this collection I happened upon for $10 in NYC. Redhill's obviously a talented writer. He can string together a mean sentence. The problem is that he hasn't mastered the art of ending a story. The collection is worth reading. Just don't expect well-executed endings.

I ended the month with the best - Steve Martin's The Pleasure of My Company. Having read and enjoyed Shopgirl, his debut novel, I looked forward to Martin's second effort. I was handsomely rewarded. The Pleasure of My Company is a wonderful, thoughtful and...god, I hate to use the word for fear of sounding cheesy...nice novel. Martin's a smart guy. We all knew that. But he has a considerable talent with the written word and weaving a simple, satisfying story. Of October's novels, I recommend this above all others.

Posted by Chris at November 4, 2004 07:52 PM

Just noticed Peter Straub's Lost Boy Lost Girl on your new read list. I'd def like to hear what you think of it. I haven't read Straub for a good many years now, but the books that I remember enjoying... The Talisman collaboration with King, Shadowland, Floating Dragon, Koko and Ghost Story.

Posted by: charm at November 4, 2004 09:32 PM

I loved both Steve Martin books!! I liked Fight Club, by Palahniuk, but the only other book I've tried reading by him was Choke. I couldn't get into it, but I don't believe that's his fault...that was right when I started getting into my "KNITTING IS TAKING OVER MY LIFE" thing. *g* :)

Posted by: Manda at November 4, 2004 09:46 PM

I'm so glad you commented on Steve Martin's book. I read Shopgirl a few years back and thought that he did a fantastic job. I will definitely be picking this one up. Thanks :)

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at November 4, 2004 11:16 PM

Where do you find the time?

Posted by: debby at November 5, 2004 01:44 AM

I wish I had more time to read. It's one of my little joys in life and there is only a few minutes here and there that I actually get to read because it's the bathroom. Makes for slow goin' on a book though. LOL

Posted by: Jade at November 5, 2004 07:17 AM

Go run and buy the cd Astronaut by Duran Duran. No, I mean it.

Posted by: Amy at November 5, 2004 08:54 AM