It is summer, and while it is the perfect time for another glorious Halo’s baseball season, hanging with the womenfolk (or being one of the lovely womenfolk here hanging with their menfolk), and, well, between games whipping out a book or two for some epic summer reading fun. (Reading is” fun,” ha! Try selling that one to college freshman in SoCal these days…) Be it hardback, trade book, trashy paperback, Kindle, Nook, iPad, Mac, books-on-CD, whatever, I know many of us enjoy kickin’ it at the beach, park, backyard hammock, strip club, etc., and reading a decent book now and then (especially when Voodoo is pitching…).
I actually haven’t been exactly reading-up-a-storm this summer, what with my paid work and my probably never-to-be-paid-for work on a current awesome novel (anyone know a decent literary agent, btw? lol); however, I do have some suggestions and I also thought this might be a neat forum for those of us who want to share what we have been enjoying—as we have done before here in this epic place we call Halo’s Heaven. Please add your suggestions and any comments to help us make choices.
Raaddad recommendations (what I have been reading lately, sort of):
- · Billy Bathgate: I love good historical fiction and I love anything by EL Doctorow. 2nd only to The March and better than Ragtime, both by Doctorow.
- The Game of Thrones series: George RR Martin. A lot of you are into this series. I am up to book 3 and taking a break in the action.
- Lords of the North (series): Bernard Cornwell. If you like GoT, you should like this. First person narrative of Norseman/Englishman in 900 AD who is an awesome ef-ing killer with a sense of humor.
- Grant: Max Byrd. Again, excellently written historical fiction. The focus here is on the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
- ·Empire Rising: Thomas Kelly. Excellent historical fiction again about gangs in New York and the building of the Empire State building.
- ·The Watchman, Voodoo River: Robert Crais. If you like LA crime fiction with a great sense of humor, check out these 2 or anything by Crais.
- · House of Leaves: Mark Z. Danielewski. Can be an extremely challenging read, but this is the best gothic horror story of all time. Faulkner meets Steven King. (Gothic genre)
- · Lovely Bones: Alice Sebold. Way way better than the wretched film, and our sort of gothic “chick lit” entry, far better than the Twilight stuff.
- · Choke: Chuck Palahniuk. Maybe not as good as Fight Club, but one of the funniest books I have ever read. Who doesn’t like sex addicts?
- · Altered Carbon: Richard K. Morgan. If you liked Neuromancer by William Gibson, check this dude out. (Another excellent Brit writer, btw) Suboptimal and I were discussing his writing in a previous post, and I know he likes Morgan a lot. (Sci-fi)
- · Anything by Cormac McCarthy: He won the Pulitzer for The Road, which I love, but you simply have to read his masterpiece Blood Meridian. Warning: NOT “Mother Approved!” I have read it, taught it, but am now listening to an outstanding “reading” of it (whilst driving to freaking Lancaster every day) by a terrific “reader,” Richard Poe.
- · Farewell, My Lovely: Raymond Chandler. Where it all began, baby (along with Dashiell Hammett’s works). People know The Big Sleep, but check this out. His use of unique hard-assed similes is legendary.
- · The Great Gatsby: F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you haven’t read this then I am assigning it to you for your summer reading; paper topics soon to follow. In my opinion, our greatest novel (America), with its beautiful writing, engaging and intelligent narrator, epic plot and its now legendary concise and iconic commentary on the “American experience.” And yes, T.J. Eckleburg is a symbol for God (among other things) and the “valley of ashes” is Texas.
- · We: Yvegeny Zamyatin. The beat dystopian novel ever; blows away 1984 and Brave New World. Crazy-ass Russian got kicked out of USSR for writing this.
- The Natural: Bernard Malamud. We've discussed great baseball books in the past, and for me, this is the standard.