Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The 5 Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading

It's been quite a while since I've written regularly. Much of that probably has something to do with school. (Which, by the way, I totally passed all my classes.) Now that I've got a bit of a break, I thought it might be a good idea to start blogging again. You know, because blogging is fun and I enjoy it.

In my previous post about reading, I said I'd try and read more this year. Perhaps you're wondering how that's going. To be honest? I'm not sure. I started out, as I do with most things, in a flurry of enthusiasm and excitement. Never let it be said that I'm not a passionate person when it comes to ideas. What I lack is follow-through. As such, you might not find it surprising that I've been less than good on my goal to read 30 50 books this year. Here is where I'm at:
Add Snow Crash to this as well. 

Obviously you can also see this on The Great Readathon 2013, but a visual aide is so much nicer.

So as motivation for me to catch up and get back on track, I'm going to do a quick list of the next five books I'm going to read and why I'm excited about them.

1. Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
I am fairly sure that this book has been recommended to me more times than any other book ever. Every time I mention that I'm in the market for a new novel to read, I get this one thrown at me. A friend linked me to this, which is what I'm hoping I'll be like after I read it:

I don't know who Andrea is but her review is amazing. 

2. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie

I've love Sherman Alexie ever since I read What You Pawn I Will Redeem. His short fiction is pretty amazing and his observations about post-colonialism on small populations are pretty fantastic. I think what makes me respect him, though, is the way that he discussed those topics. He uses humor to make a very uncomfortable subject (addiction and depression in Native American communities, for instance) approachable. He wants the reader to see and hear his perspective, but not shame them. I respect any author who can write about a cause they care about and never seem preachy.  

3.  Alif the Unseen - G. WIllow Wilson
I just finished Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and I enjoyed it. It was like reading an action film, only one that got down and dirty about sex, religion, being a metaphorical sheep in society, and examined the nature of true uniqueness and originality. Since I love the setting of the middle east and the cultural aspects therein, I thought this book looked fantastic. It was also written by a woman, which you'll notice is the only book on this list where that is true. Apparently it won several awards and is somewhat of a breakout novel. I think I'm also excited about this book because it has some of that Haroun and the Sea of Stories vibe I've been missing since the last good book I read by Salman Rushdie. 

4. Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
Out of all the authors I've wanted to read but never have, Vonnegut and Jack Kerouac are tied for first place. Everything I've read about them seems interesting. I've just never started a novel by them. Maybe that's a lie. I think I read the first 5 pages of Slaughterhouse Five once. It's sitting on my floor right now, waiting to be read as well.

The biggest reason I'm going to read Breakfast of Champions right now, however, is because I received it in the mail from the coolest Book Exchange redditgifts matchup partner ever. That's enough of a reason to make the cut.

5. Dog Days, Volume 2 - Gene Gregorits
I've known this author for at least 6 years. I met him through my roommate in Baltimore. I have pictures somewhere on Facebook where we're drunkenly jumping over mailboxes together. Hell, he even helped us move out of our place. That's why it's almost criminal that I haven't read Dog Days Volume 2 yet. He has been a journalist/author for a long time and he has been compared to Celine, Bukowski, and Hunter S. Thompson. That's convenient, since the book I'm reading right now is Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas.

I told Gene that I never got my copy of Dog Days Volume One in the mail (He sent me Midnight Mavericks instead, which is a series of interviews with big names like Patton Oswalt and The Kills. You know, nbd) so he sent me digital copies of both Dog Days 1 and 2 with the cryptic message informing me that I should consume the second volume while intoxicated. I read and reviewed the first one, and now after reading Fear and Loathing, I think I have a better idea of what I might be in for.

I recently wrote an article for class and interviewed Gene about self-publishing and the obstacles inherent in being an author and trying to write for a living. He's an interesting guy and if you're interested in reading something gritty, dark, and a little bit crazy* I recommend checking him out.

*Note: I earned the right to call him and his work crazy long ago when he said a quote that will live in infamy:
"You know? You're not pretty enough to be a bitch."
Harsh toke, Gene. Harsh.