(Check the 28 Books of 2013 link above for scores to each title. Sorry I did not include them below. I don’t know what’s lamer: that I’m posting a list of the books I’m reading or that I’m too lazy to retype the scores from one list to the other. Enjoy. Read on.)
13. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I previously posted a dual review of Fitzgerald’s book and Lurhmann’s new film. The New Yorker will be publishing this review, but most likely in a posthumous fashion, after my brilliance has become more widely evident.
14. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon – Also mentioned this title in my 13 Books of Summer recommendation list, which I have been lazy to follow myself. Advice is a pill best slipped in peanut butter and fed to the dog beneath the table.
15. Friday the 13th: Bad Land by Marz and Huddleston – I’m a sucker for a good Jason Voorhees story, and this short comic arc did not disappoint. Interesting narrative structure here as the setting of time – though locked directly on the premises of Camp Crystal Lake grounds – shifts between settler, gold rush-y era (it looks like a long time ago in the illustrations) and modern day college dweeb heads. The story seems to suggest that Camp Crystal Lake possesses a long-standing curse, one that greatly precedes the Voorhees’ family. I liked this story. I liked the spiritual lore lurking in those woods, something strong enough to raise the dead and create monsters. As a warning, the Friday the 13th comic line (and possibly the film franchise, as well) has been accused of promoting misogynistic ideals, which I find ridiculous since violence towards women is the greatest sin in the Friday the 13th universe. Just ask Beth, who knocked Pamela Voorhees down a notch or two, setting fire to the whole damn thing.
16. Rosie by Anne Lamott – Review previously posted on May 28. But I highly recommend Rosie, especially if for those who have not read Lamott’s fiction. Also, I highly recommend my review, especially if for those who like readying super good book reviews.
17. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk – I was totally disappointed in Damned. So far, I’ve loved Palahniuk’s early novels. And I especially enjoyed his nonfiction collection, Stranger Than Fiction, which I use – choice pieces – in my curriculum. But Damned didn’t work for me. Palahniuk’s signature Whitman-esque urgency was missing here, and the humor rubbed flat quickly. Repetitive jokes about disgusting Hell-ish landscapes and the demonic sins of telemarketing grow old after half a dozen rounds. I don’t even want to give it anymore words here. But my review of Stranger Than Fiction, linked above, is killer good.
18. The Twits by Roald Dahl – Delightful! And the whole thing starts out with an assessment of beards! Roald Dahl should be required reading in more schools and jobs and waiting rooms and dinner parties and public restrooms and bus stops and road-trips. If you haven’t read Dahl in at least the past year, stop whatever you are doing, get thee to the public library, and load up on Dahl titles. Far more fun to read out loud than inside your own head, I read The Twits to myself in my dad’s empty house while my pug-dog snored beside me and my wife shopped for shoes.
19. House Of Cards, Netflix Original. Okay, I’m sorta breaking the rules here, but it’s my list so bug off if you don’t like it. In my opinion, good television shows – like House Of Cards, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Freaks-N-Geeks, The United States of Tara, etc. – work as good novels. And if we can get credit for listening to a good novel on audio-book, then we should get credit for watching a good novel in a well-crafted series. With that argument as my defense, I present you with Book Title #19 in my 2013 reading, the “televised novel” by Beau Williamon and David Fincher, House of Cards. This show is expletively amazing. Kevin Spacey gives a career highlight performance as Frank Underwood, a US Congressman passed-up by the President for Secretary of State. Underwood teams with his wife Clair (a winning Robyn Wright) to take down the United States Presidency and secure Underwood’s seat in the Vice Presidency – at least, that’s Underwood’s intentions. House of Cards is filthy and disgusting and depraved in ways that don’t wash off easily. I loved it. And I invested a lot of time thinking through the characters and the development of this story, which is another strong argument for including it on my reading list: it owned me – like a good book – for days on end.