Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Tell All (Preview)

May 16, 2010

Booksmith presents Chuck Palahniuk at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco on May 20th to read from his latest novel Tell All.

This American Life… perfect for rainy days

February 15, 2009

this_american_life_promo

Rainy days are perfect for catching up on podcasts. Familiar voices can be like comfort food. Such is the case with Ira Glass, host of This American Life. Some rainy days I go back and re-listen to old favorites.

Today I went back a few years to Episode 281: My Big Break.

Skip to Act Three: Oedipus HexShalom Auslander reads his true story, “The Blessing Bee.” It’s like a spelling bee, but instead of words, kids compete reciting complicated Hebrew blessings said before eating certain foods.

Foreskin's LamentIt tickles me every time Auslandert gratuitously throws in quick admissions of all the sins he committed as a kid. Watch Auslander’s video – Foreskin’s Lament.

What are your favorite podcasts? Leave a comment

More on Kurt Vonnegut…

February 8, 2009

From channel — http://www.youtube.com/GottfriedGeist. There’s a playlist of 8 Vonnegut videos. Amazing!

( Reposting some previous Vonnegut… )

Slaughterhouse Five is the first book I read by Kurt Vonnegut, an definitely not the last. It’s the story of Billy Pilgrim. My initial thoughts about this name—BILLY is the name of someone fun and approachable. I never met a Billy who was a jerk. PILGRIM is a someone on a religious journey or an a quest to find something new or sacred, like the pilgrims on the Mayflower. Well, this Billy Pilgrim is an eye doctor who is sent to fight in World War II. He becomes unstuck in time and travels to and from different stages of his life and the far far off planet of Tralfamadore, where he is caged with a Hollywood pornstar for observation and on display in a Tralfamadorian zoo.

Read the full post

So it goes. Thank you, Kurt Vonnegut, for challenging me to think for myself and encouraging me to occasionally go “elsewhere.” You are one of the main reasons I enjoy reading.

Read the full post

SNUFF finally arrives

May 24, 2008

I pre-ordered SNUFF months ago and it finally arrived. SNUFF is the latest novel from my favorite freak writer CHUCK PALAHNIUK. Last year he relased RANT, which was disgusting. I just started reading SNUFF. So far it’s sick. It’s about porn star with a big vision and everything that revolves around the porn industry—which is basically everything. Unlike HAUNTED, which was 800 pages, SNUFF is under 200 pages of large print. I plan to review it when I’m done, which might be later tonight.

Until then, here’s a promo-preview from Double Day Publishing. Watch the video series starring Chuck himself interviewing the star of SNUFF – Cassie Wright.

 

Sinterklaas

December 5, 2007

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Now this David Sedaris story makes more sense…

In the years before central heating, Dutch children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, the promise being that unless they planned to beat you, kick you, or stuff you into a sack, Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men would fill your clogs with presents. Aside from the threats of violence and kidnapping, it’s not much different from hanging your stockings from the mantel. Now that so few people have a working fireplace, Dutch children are instructed to leave their shoes beside the radiator, furnace, or space heater. Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men arrive on horses, which jump from the yard onto the roof. At this point, I guess, they either jump back down and use the door, or they stay put and vaporize through the pipes and electrical wires.

Read the entire story

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Can’t forget Zwarte Piet…

CHOKE selected for Sundance in ’08

December 1, 2007

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Choke – Directed by Clark Gregg (What Lies Beneath screenplay). An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s (Fight Club) novel, Choke is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks. Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henke.

RANT: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey

August 4, 2007

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RANT: An Oral Bigraphy of Buster Casey is another wild Chuck Palahniuk E-ticket ride. Warning: You must be at least “this tall” and “this twisted” to stomach it.

Buster “RANT” Casey can be best described as RABID—an adjective that means:
   1. Irrationally extreme in opinion or practice
   2. Furious, raging or violently intense
   3. Affected with or pertaining to rabies
   4. Mad—as in “fucking crazy”

Synonyms of the word RABID include:
Berserk, bitten, corybantic, crazed, deranged, extreme, fanatical, fever-pitched, frantic, freaky, frenetic, furious, insane, mad, maniacal, obsessed, overboard, poisoned, radical, raging, sick, twisted, ultraist, violent, virulent and wild. Palahniuk delivers all this and more in his long-awaited novel “RANT.” Not only is Rant Casey bitten, corybantic and violent… the entire story—and how it’s told—is twisted, freaky and fever-pitched from start to finish.

Palahniuk is known for writing outside-box-box, not just content but also literary style. In “HAUNTED” he tells 23 unique short stories by carefully threading them into the framework of a single larger story—23 strangers attening a writer’s workshop. Palahniuk wrote “RANT” as an oral biography. The entire novel is a carefully arranged rotational chronology of short takes on Rant’s life, from birth to death, as told by members of Rant’s family, friends, radio DJ’s, medical experts, law enforcement, priests, and the dozens of people that have never met him but swear on their life that they intimately know him. Rant’s no hero, but Palahniuk twists him into some sort of an iconoclast.

The interview-like format reads a lot like a documentary. And like “CHOKE” and “SURVIVOR,” Palahniuk peppers the storyline with medical ramblings. Are they medical facts or just part of Palahniuk’s fiction? I’m not sure. I’ve come to wonder if Palahniuk actually knows what he’s talking about or if he’s just a master at playing his readers. I’ll just assume he knows his shit–which beats constantly putting the book down mid-sentence to look up stuff on Wikipedia.

“RANT” comes close to being one of my favorite Palahniuk books. It’s definitely in the top three with “CHOKE” and “INVISIBLE MONSTERS.”

Random closing note: Chuck Palahniuk and I have the same birthday… February 21st.

So it goes.

April 12, 2007

vonnegut2007.jpg

Yesterday Kurt Vonnegut died. 

Thank you, Kurt Vonnegut, for challenging me to think for myself and encouraging me to occasionally go “elsewhere.” You are one of the main reasons I enjoy reading.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922—2007)
The day I met Kilgore Trout
“Vonnegut” on YouTube

John Stewart interviews Vonnegut on the Daily Show

Vonnegut on Second Life

The Contortionist’s Handbook

March 21, 2007

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The Contortionist’s Handbook
By Craig Clevenger

How different do you think your life would be if you had an additional fully-functional digit? 

Notes to follow…

International book covers
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Chuck and I have the same birthday

March 5, 2007

In January 2006 I picked up my first Chuck Palahniuk book, a collection of true short stories called Stranger than Fiction. The following week I read Choke not knowing what I was getting myself into. Choke was so intense. When I finished reading it, I immediately smoked a cigarette. (For those wondering, I usually don’t smoke. However, that day I smoked a Newport.) After Choke I read Fight Club. It was just like the movie. Maybe better.

Invisible Monsters

I quickly moved on to Invisible Monsters. Perhaps my favorite Palahniuk book. I read it in two days. I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked on this guy’s writing. I had a different book in hand or on my desk from week to week. People at work had mistaken me for avid reader. Wanna know the sad truth? In the previous five years, I must have started reading at least two dozen books, but I didn’t finish any of them. Reading stacks of newspapers and PC/technology mags was a piece of cake, but novels put me right to sleep.  I was excited to be reading something other than magazines, newspapers and that David Sedaris. 

Three weeks go by and I’m already on my 5th book. The next book I picked up was Palahniuk’s most recent work—Haunted. Parts were definitely hard to swallow, like Guts, but I got through all 400+ pages of that horror. I saw it as a character building experience. Reading Haunted made me stronger. Not physically stronger, but it was the kind of courage I needed at that particular time. I just turned 36. For a few minutes in between rounds of beer and/or wine with friends at IPND (the Italian Place Next Door), I found myself thinking—Yikes! I am now 36 years old. I am closer to being 50 than 20.

Back to me and my one-person book club… In less than two months, I read every Palahniuk book. A couple of them twice. Last year Q1-Q2 I was finishing at least one book every week. Q3-Q4 I slowed down, reading maybe one or two per month. I miss that feeling of picking up a freaky Chuck Palahniuk book for the first time. I have something to look forward to in May—his new book comes out. It’s called Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey. Maybe it’s about a porn star? Wishful thinking…

Guess what I recently discovered browsing through MySpaceChuck Palahniuk and I have the same birthday—February 21. I wonder how many other people were born on the same day as their favorite writer. Kinda cool. Yet kinda creepy.

Unrelated… You’re familiar with the cliche—I’m a lover, not a fighter. Well, I found this spoof on YouTube. It still stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, but instead of Fight Club, it’s FUCK Club.

Venus on a Half Shell

September 16, 2006

Author:  Kilgore Trout
Genre:  Science Fiction

Book commentary

Notes Coming soon…

Cover gallery

This science-fiction rockstar fairy tale has been translated into so many languages, but printing was so limited making this book a rare find. Here are some of the different covers I was able to find surfing the Internet. Notice how some releases list the Philip Jose Farmer as the author. The last image is my creation featuring—Simon Rex as Simon, Kim from ANTM Cycle 5 as Chworktap, Athena as a furry white owl, Annubis as a dog that looks like Gertie and a banjo.

     

     

     

     

  

Kilgore Trout

August 25, 2006

Kilgore Trout 

Things are starting to get messy. The beginnings trace back to earlier this year when I started reading books again on a regular basis. I picked up my first Chuck Palahniuk novel, and I didn’t stop reading until I read them all. I became desensitized to most things gross. Years ago if you aksed me what I thought about making soap out of liposuctioned fat, or a guy who can belch in an elevator from the 3rd floor to the 12th floor, I would have told you—I’ve never heard of anything so heinous. Now I think that’s kinda neat.

Last month I read my first Henry Miller novel. For eight days straight I showered 3-4 times a day because I felt like a dirty old man. I couldn’t get Black Spring out of my head, not even with expensive shampoo.

And I blame Mindy (aka Madness) for my new insecurity. I was once just a simple man, now I think I’ve become complex. Madness gave me the book Running with Scissors but failed to warn me about reading it in public. I would read it on the streetcar on my way to work, and behind my back these junior-high kids from a trashy private school would tease me and call me names like Oprah-Book-Club-Biatch. All along I thought they were making fun of this woman with a fake Lithuanian accent. She works at Banana Republic corporate and no one will sit next to her because she’s always reading either A Million Little Pieces or My Friend Leonard out loud. I- know! Then one day I show up at the office, take off my jacket and find a piece of paper taped to my back that reads “Kick me. I like to cry.” That’s where I draw the line. Sniffle. Those kids just crossed it.

But wait, it’s gets messier.

I read my first Kurt Vonnegut novel. In Slaughterhouse Five the main character is Billy Pilgrim. Billy’s favorite author is a guy named Kilgore Trout, who at one point lived in Billy’s home town of Ilium NY. I looked up Ilium to see if it was on Long Island, but I couldn’t find it. I read somewhere that the town of Ilium doesn’t exist, and neither does Kilgore Trout. 2am—I read that Kurt Vonnegut is Kilgore Trout. 3am—I’m still surfing the web. Kilgore Trout is the main character in Vonnegut’s book Cat’s Cradle. On another site I read that Kilgore Trout’s real name is Philip Jose Farmer. 4am—I google Kilgore Trout. Apparently Kilgore Trout is also the name of a couture fashion line for him or her out of Cleveland. And Kilgore Trout is also the name of a grunge band from Seattle. Who’s fucking with me?

Kilgore Trout. Kilgore Trout. Kilgore Trout. Try saying that three times quickly.

This one old lady at Home Depot told me the only place you would find a Kilgore Trout novel is in dirty bookstore. And his short stories were published in between pages of luscious ladies in Hustler magazine. To that hater I say—You’re wrong. I found a Kilgore Trout book on eBay. It’s called Venus on a Half Shell. And yes, the cover kinda resembles soft-core intergalactic porn, but I guarantee you it’s not. I would know.

I’m almost done reading this book, it’s my first science-fiction book. And have I got a lot to say about it. Stay tuned for all the messy details.

Venue on a Half Shell

Running with Scissors

August 15, 2006

 Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Author:  Augusten Burroughs
Genre:  Memoir

A month ago I left the book Haunted on  Mindy’s desk with a sticky note that read—You know you haunt me. After reading Guts in the first chapter, she claims she couldn’t sleep for a week.  As payback for her week of nightmares, she gave me Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors. My assignment was to read this book before the movie comes out. I think it’s scheduled for release in September. I scanned IMdb, and the creatures featured include—Annette Benning, Paltrow, a Baldwin, even Leslie Grossman.

RWS is chaotic, but not like Britney and K-Fed, more like John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire, one of my all time favorite books. Knowing that THNH is fiction makes it easier to swallow. RWS is a memoir, so these things really happened. Even though I LOL’d throughout the book, parts of the book are so disturbing, I was thrown way off balance. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the book a lot. I love the voice young Augusten and admire him for telling his story. It just feels so unfair that a child endured that much twisted emotional drama. Adult drama. Dramarama. Baby-mama drama.

I bet if you searched Augusten Burroughs on Amazon.com and scrolled down the results, at the end you would find—People who liked RWS also liked… David Sedaris. Since I’m feeling psychic today, I also predict Burroughs probably runs around in real life with Sedaris. But not David. Amy.

Augusten Burroughs interview 
 Bill Maher interviews Augusten Burroughs

Black Spring

August 6, 2006

Black Spring by Henry M ller 

Author:  Henry Miller
Genre:  Memoir and social criticism woven with heavy doses of dark poetry

I just finished reading my first Herman Henry Miller novel—Black Spring. It blew me away. Miller’s storytelling style is so personal and direct. It’s kind of like taking an unexpected medium punch in the gut. The geography becomes local, the imagery is rough, obscene and poetic, and goes on for pages at a time. Miller becomes larger than life, powerful through his honesty and vulnerability. I am amazed with his unique ability to effortlessly paint such vivid pictures, wander aimlessly through haunting nightmares, and relive pleasure and passion. From sitting around in the Parisian home of friend Jabberewohl Crondstadt celebrating each other’s conquests and madness, to wandering the dark bum-piss hooker-lined streets of forbidden America, I found myself constantly stopping, re-reading and wondering how he took me there. Eventually I stopped raising my hand to ask questions, and just sat back and listened.

The Henry Miller Library


Henry Miller, NYC

Slaughterhouse Five

August 2, 2006

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

Author:  Kurt Vonnegut
Genre:  Fiction

Slaughterhouse Five is the first book I’ve read by Kurt Vonnegut, and definitely not the last. It’s the story of Billy Pilgrim. My initial thoughts about this name—BILLY is the name of someone fun and approachable. I never met a Billy who was a jerk. PILGRIM is a someone on a religious journey or an a quest to find something new or sacred, like the pilgrims on the Mayflower. Well, this Billy Pilgrim is an eye dentist who is sent to fight in World War II. He becomes unstuck in time and travels to and from different stages of his life and the far far off planet of Tralfamadore, where he is caged with a Hollywood pornstar for observation and on display in a Tralfamadorian zoo.

So it goes.

While reading this book, I felt as if I was quickly riding through Billy Pilgrim’s dreamy stream of consciousness. I can’t picture his face, but I can vividly picture him in a cold gray war living in an old slaughterhouse in Dresden with other American prisoners of war, spooning honey into everyone’s mouths. Cut to Billy stumbling across Russian or German soldiers while wearing long silver boots and a long fur military coat that’s six sizes too small for him. Cut next to beefy soldiers all dolled up as Cinderella and her step-sisters waiting for their cues backstage—it’s frightening, but in a good way. Now cut to Billy late for his own daughter’s wedding because he’s stuck in inter-galactic traffic on the way back to Earth from Tralfamadore.

The time travel aspect of this story is what kept me engaged, and Vonnegut’s storytelling style is brilliant. He’s got a unique way of skillfully blending political satire with the twisted personal reality of Billy Pilgrim. I didn’t know that they’ve already turned this book into a movie. Doing my IMdb research, turns out George Roy Hill directed Slaughterhouse Five, as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Slapshot and The World According to Garp. I’ve already gone online and ordered the DVD, so stay tuned for notes on the 1972 movie.

Jon Stewart interviews Kurt Vonnegut
This interview is AWESOME.

Survivor

July 30, 2006

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Author:  Chuck Palahniuk
Genre:  Fiction

Notes coming soon…

From ChuckPalahniuk.net, Gallery of international Survivor covers

Lullaby

July 17, 2006

 Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

Author:  Chuck Palahniuk
Genre:  Fiction

From ChuckPalahniuk.net, gallery of international Lullaby covers

   
   
  

Lullaby comics

Diary

June 30, 2006

 

Listen to Chuck’s audio blog from the 2003 Diary book tour

Haunted

June 26, 2006
 
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
 
Author:  Chuck Palahniuk
Genre:  Fiction
 
I started reading Haunted the morning after Kevin’s party at Kate O’Brien’s. I was on my way to work hung over on a crowded N-Judah heading into downtown San Francisco. The first chapter vaguely sets the stage for the overall framework of the book, and then seques into a short story told by a character nicknamed Saint Gut-Free titled Guts. The more I read, the more my head and heart started to pound, harder and faster. The streetcar was delayed underground at Civic Center station. I had three more stops to go. My options were to either keep reading and risk passing out in the lap of the stranger next to me, or put the book down. I kept reading. And so did the stranger sitting next to me. Turns out she was reading over my shoulder the entire time.The first chapter in this book LET ME HAVE IT. I’ve never read anything more graphic and disgusting in my life. It was awesome! How did I like the rest of the book? It was hot and cold, but overall I was into it.

From Wikipedia

The book is best known for the short story Guts, which had been published previous to the book in the March 2004 issue of Playboy magazine as well as on Palahniuk’s website (Palahniuk offered to let them publish another story along with it, but the publishers found the second work too disturbing). It is a tale of violent accidents involving masturbation.

While on his 2003 tour to promote his novel Diary, Palahniuk read “Guts” to his audiences. It was reported that over 35 people fainted while listening to the readings. On his tour to promote Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories in the summer of 2004, he read the story to audiences again, bringing the total amount of fainters up to 53, and later up to 60, while on tour to promote the softcover edition of Diary. The last fainting occurred on September 25, 2004, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Palahniuk is apparently not bothered by these incidents, which have not stopped fans from reading “Guts” or his other works.In a September 2004 reading of “Guts” at Cooper Union in New York City, no listener admitted to fainting. When Palahniuk showed surprise, many members of the audience replied, “This is New York!” in a nod to the alleged inability to shock the city’s denizens.

Read Guts on ChuckPalahniuk.net

Warning—this story is EXTREMELY graphic!

Invisible Monsters

June 14, 2006

Invisible Monsters

Author:  Chuck Palahniuk
Genre:  Fiction

From ChuckPalahniuk.net:

Chuck’s third novel, and a favorite among many of his diehard fans, is Invisible Monsters, the story of Shannon, a disfigured ex-fashion model traveling in a car with Brandy Alexander, a transgendered exhibitionist one surgery away from becoming a “real” woman. Despite this unorthodox storyline, Invisible Monsters very quickly entered some sort of production phase in 2001 when it was optioned by young filmmaker Jesse Peyronel. Turning over a scripted draft that both Chuck and his agent, Edward Hibbert, were very pleased with, Jesse very quickly got to work trying to find funding for the film via Miramax Films. Parker Posey was tentatively on board to play Shannon, and things were moving. Then the inevitable drop in news happened. In 2002, Jesse resurfaced on our radar again and re-optioned the script to give funding another go. But again, nothing seemed to come of it and the closest story we had to go off for any production future for Invisible Monsters was a UK based company that was interested in doing a live animated featured of the film.Most recently, the word around the campfire is that the film is on the move again with rising star Jessica Biel being touted for the female lead, and such names as Val Kilmer and Billy Crudup being mentioned for male leading and supporting roles. No confirmation if the person behind this latest effort on Invisible Monsters is indeed, still Jesse Peyronel.

Invisible Monsters comics