Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

I first read Jesus' Son in college, during my first class with Jose Skinner (Flight and Other Stories). And of all the books I read in that class, and all of my college career, the words of Denis Johnson stuck with me the longest. Why? Because his ability to mix poetry with prose. Never before had I read a story where a character "knew every raindrop by its name," or whose heart broke for the person he would never find, the person who loved him.

The collection of stories follows a character whose name is never mentioned, though the moniker fuckhead follows him like a proverbial rain cloud. A junky, Fuckhead, walks through life having several misadventures, none without reason. He is lucky, but he's a failure. He tries, but rarely succeeds at anything. His friends are there one moment, and buried the next. 

There is no chronological order to the stories found within the covers of this book, but, nevertheless, the reader leaves with something he didn't have before - an experience only someone strung out on heroin could have felt. Because that's what Denis Johnson presents to us with his collection - literary heroin. And we'll keep going back for more.

Jesus' Son is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, for Kindle and Nook respectively. Until next time, happy huntin'.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dumpster Diving

Don't worry, I didn't dive into an actual dumpster. These babies were fished out of the pile. If I haven't mentioned the pile before, it's just that. A pile of discarded books and magazines that are no longer fit for readers. Their spines are broken, pages are missing or falling out. 

Books acquired were:
Along with these used freebies, I also received the latest by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Going Down. I purchased her 2008 anthology, Rubber Sex on eBay which arrived in the mail after work (or during work, as it was waiting for me at the house after work).

Funny story, when my coworkers convinced me to read Fifty Shades of Grey (which I don't recommend, as I found it completely unreadable), I bragged about how I'm not embarrassed by what I read. Today, after receiving Rubber Sex, my first thought was to create book covers for it and Going Down. Why the sudden shame? Well, first off, it's not shame. 

As you may or may not have known already, I live with my in-laws now. Not that my in-laws are prudes, but I recall one discussion where my sister-in-law stated something about not allowing her husband to watch movies with nudity. Because, apparently, seeing another woman naked is sorta, kinda like cheating. I might have elaborated a bit, but that's how I felt. I can only imagine the stink they'd create when they see me reading something called Going Down.

Oh well, I think I'm done. Wait. Lemme show you Rachel Kramer Bussel's signature. Again, maybe.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

(Note: I apologize for the crappiness of these posts of late. Being a father is a tough job. Being a husband is even tougher. Finding time to write or a place to write where I'm left alone is down right impossible.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Batman: Long Shadows by Judd Winick

It's no secret: I am a fan of the Dark Knight, but I'm on the fence with Long Shadows. Don't get me wrong, Dick Grayson is an awesome Robin, a better Nightwing, but a second rate Batman. No one can replace the original, but maybe that's the point of the graphic novel. He's not replacing Bruce Wayne, he's making Batman his own persona.

Major plot hole, however. If Dick Grayson replaced Wayne as Batman so the public doesn't realize the Dark Knight has died, how does one explain the sudden disappearance of Nightwing? Couple with the new, happier, media-friendly Batman, I'd imagine more eyebrows were raised and not just Two Face's.

Judd Winick does present us with a great tale, but I'm not about to go suggest it to Batman fans. Maybe Grayson fans. And the artwork adds to the story, but then again, I always say this. SPOILER ALERT: I'm in love with the Two Face Batman hallucination. Perhaps Judd Winick can play with that in another tale - hint hint, wink wink.

Batman: Long Shadows is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds by Max Brooks

As a child, I loved G.I. Joe. I had the toys; I watched the cartoon show. The movie wasn't up to par, but I didn't hate it. It's goofy. It's fun. It's not to be taken seriously. Not even by a G.I. Joe fan - okay, maybe if that fan is under ten. Sad to say, I grew up.

It's nice to see that the team grew up with me. Especially with writer, Max Brooks taking the experience to another level with his graphic novel, Hearts & Minds. I can't give a summary of the book because there is no plot. The stories found within the covers aren't intertwining - not by much, anyway - but a collection of stand-alones that create an origin tale for G.I. Joe and Cobra characters. 

My favorites include "Tripwire," "Dr. Mindbender," and "Recruits." However, the entire books is worth the read. Max Brooks has a way with words as his father has a way with comedy. And the illustrations by Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso breath to life the monsters and heroes of our childhood. 

Yes, Hearts & Minds is a must read for any and all G.I. Joe fans - mostly like those above the age of ten.

You can pick up Hearts & Minds at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also available for Nook.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip

Adam Canfield is something of a legend. He's a four-pluser and an all-star reporter for The Slash - the Harris Elementary/Middle School student newspaper. After being convinced by his friend, Jennifer, he finds himself as co-editor of the newspaper. Things start off rocky for Adam, but when third-grade reporter Phoebe accidentally reveals a scandal that will shake the Tremble community...things get interesting.

I've never read a book with so many subplots that tie up perfectly in the end. Not even in an adult novel. Michael Winerip managed to keep me glued - somewhat, actually, as it is rather hard to read anything with a newborn around. I wanted to devour this book after things started picking up for Adam. Those of you without newborns rest assured that this book is definitely a page turner.

The characters are beautifully crafted, and Winerip leaves the ending open for a sequel - which there is; two, actually. And while he possibly didn't intend to - but I'm an English major, so I'll draw my conclusions - I love how he carefully placed in the caricature of Fox News (Bolandvision!!!) in there. 

Adam Canfield of the Slash is available in hard copy on Amazon and Barnes and Noble; e-readers rejoice! - you can read Adam and company's tale on your Kindles and Nooks, as well.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.