Just more housekeeping. Oddly, I began and finished the year with Chuck Klosterman books.
1. Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
3. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer
4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Love Monkey by Kyle Smith
6. Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein’s Brain
7. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
8. The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
9. Naked by David Sedaris
10. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
11. City of Thieves by David Benioff
12. The One That Got Away by Howell Raines
13. I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
14. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
I vaguely remember seeing this earlier this year, but Cinematical just linked to it yesterday. Tons more can be found at the link below, including The Hudsucker Proxy, The King of Kong, and Highlander.
Link (via Cinematical)
11. City of Thieves by David Benioff (2008, 272 pp) – I knew of Benioff’s name because he wrote the book from which the excellent Spike Lee joint The 25th Hour was adapted. So when I saw City of Thieves at Edward McKay’s Used Bookstore in Greensboro, I picked it up with no hesitation.
It’s a true story of war torn Leningrad/St. Petersburg (or “Piter,” as the natives called it) during WWII and the Nazi invasion. Through fate, Lev (David’s grandfather, who recounted the story to him) and a Russian soldier Kolya are given reprieve from execution (Lev for stealing a knife off a dead German paratrooper, Kolya for desertion) in order to find 12 eggs for the General’s daughter’s wedding cake – no easy task in the middle of winter in Russia during war. This is the impetus that sets them off on a journey where the two inevitably become good friends while struggling to survive while discovering fields of dead dogs, a cannibal’s lair, and a den of Russian women being held as Nazi sex slaves. Ultimately the two join up with Russian partisan soldiers in search of a ruthless Nazi officer named Abendroth.
The book is a thrilling and quick read with some funny moments mixed in with suspense. I am now quite interested to read some of Benioff’s other work.
Next up: The One That Got Away by Howell Raines, yet another memoir
10. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (1998, 256pp) – Nick Hornby is obsessed with soccer. More accurately, he is obsessed with Arsenal soccer. Fever Pitch is part love letter, part memoir, part diary of an obsessed fan. He retraces his life as an Arsenal fan starting with his first game ever (a 1-0 win vs. Stoke City in 1968) through the famed double in 1971 and the drought until Arsenal won another cup title in 1989.
While the culture of English soccer is not entirely foreign to me, I found myself losing interest when he rattled off specific players (Arsenal or otherwise) or games I just couldn’t be aware of growing up in the US two decades after him. However, when he wrote about his experiences in life within the context of games (family, divorce, relationships, etc), I found myself enjoying Hornby’s style of writing. However, I would be hard pressed to recommend this book to everyone. As a side note, please don’t bother with the Jimmy Fallon baseball adaptation.
Next up: City of Thieves by David Benioff, a change of pace from the memoirs I’ve been reading
9. Naked by David Sedaris (1998, 224pp) – Another set of memoir-style essays from humorist David Sedaris, this time focusing on his childhood and family growing up in Raleigh, NC through his graduation from college. The book is similar in style to both Me Talk Pretty One Day or When We Were Engulfed in Flames.
The only misstep for me was the chapter “c.o.g.” relating to his time spent in Oregon picking apples and eventually apprenticing with a jade clockmaker. As opposed to the final, similarly lengthy chapter “naked” that focused on his week spent at a nudist colony, “c.o.g.” seemed to drag on. Besides those two chapters, the others were mostly easily-digestible, with several laugh out loud moments you are accustomed to from reading books by David Sedaris.
It took me a little longer to read this than it should have, partly because I was focusing on other pursuits in June. I hope to be able to sit down more often with my next few books and get through them much quicker. At the halfway point of 2009, I have read 9 books which is unofficially far more than I have read in any other year of my life. And this is something I feel pretty good about.
Next up: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Blu-ray, books, interview, movies, Soderbergh, tv
– A NY Magazine writer isn’t watching “Mad Men” because he is suffering from quality-show fatigue
– AV Club has a list of 13 book-to-film adaptations that the authors hated
– Interview with Sasha Grey of The Girlfriend Experience
– Zomg no way: they are making a tv gameshow based on Twitter
– Grizzly Bear‘s Veckatimest gets a 9.0 from Pitchfork, is now out today
– Slashfilm has some video from the set of Get Him to the Greek
– Adventureland to arrive on Blu-ray on July 28
– Some new The National songs to prime me for the show this Thursday in Raleigh
– R.I.P. Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco and co-mastermind behind the amazing Summerteeth