2014 Book Challenge

     Well, I actually did what I set out to do this year and that was read 100 books. Last count was 93 but I read enough to push me over. Think about it for a second, allow it to sink in. I read one hundred books in 2013.

     That’s a hell of a lot of books and I know that a lot people are trying to figure out how I Did it and maybe even why. I read a lot. I average maybe two or three books a week. The genre I read the most of only publish short novels which usually never top 200 pages so that helps. I also work third shift and my job gives me ten hours that have to be filled somehow so I read or sometimes I’ll write a write a blog.

     If you’ve seen my Goodreads page you’ll see that I don’t read your typical book and this year will be more of the same. I have this odd quest to find as much horror from the eighties that I can find and I have such a massive collection the challenge for 2014 is going to be a lot of fun.

     Expect more of the same. The bizarro, the splatterpunk, and other books that you would assume I wouldn’t even be into.  This year I became comfortable with what I read. I became totally absorbed in books that most people hadn’t heard of and I finally enjoyed reading again.

     The question now is what is my goal for 2014? I did a hundred this year so why not try for 200 this year. Sounds reasonable. I have enough books in my Kindle and piled in my bedroom to surpass that goal and the local thrift stores always have something that I can add to my collection.

     Here’s a link to my Goodreads page. Feel free to browse around and add me if you like. Just be warned that there are a lot of titles there that you may find offensive. It gives you an idea of what kind of dude I am.  These books are really just a part of what makes me who I am. Without these books and the movies I watch I’d be pretty fucking boring. I am quite boring but you can’t say that I’m uninteresting. https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/14717322

    

Some Of My Favorite Books

     I have  been an avid reader for a long time. I read my first Stephen King novel in the third grade and then evolved into horror films. There is quite a difference between the horror film and the horror novel. In a film you’re seeing what the director wants you to see while in a book you have the ability to cast your own actors and are given an opportunity to expand beyond the written word.

     I can see the progression of my literary tastes and think it’s always been there. I have always been fascinated by books that others deem confusing or even controversial. Kurt Vonnegut was an early writer that unbeknownst to me at the time became my very first bizarro author. When I look at my dvd collection I can see again just how different my taste in my movies are from others.

     I believe that our intrests aren’t merely defined by outside influence. I was never happy following trends so it makes sense that most of my favorite books slid under the radar. I saw a few people posting their favorite novels on Facebook and thought that it would make an interesting blog. Would some of my choices surprise people?

     I thought about my list for awhile and realized that it’s pretty fucking hard to come up with a few of my favorite books. Johnny Got His Gun ranks pretty high on my list because it changed the way I viewed war. Patriotism is all fine and well but we never see the other side of it. The death and the misery it causes the living.

     I was talking to a teacher about Trumbo’s book and why it was so controversial and suddenly it dawned on me. We are supposed to fight for our country without a second thought or even a doubt but Johnny Got His Gun was an honest look at what happens when you are knee deep in the shit. When you die for your country there is no coming back. Why aren’t those who wage war fighting beside us?

     It was the first time a teacher ever talked to me as an equal and while the other kids were goofing off we discussed books and their importance on society. A book doesn’t have to be entertaining to be good. It can open your mind and change the way you think. Mind blowing isn’t it?

     Living in society as it currently stands I wouldn’t view the government the way I do had it not been for Orwell’s 1984. Why it stands as a favorite should be obvious. If you haven’t read this book stop reading this blog and read it now. Orwell gave us a society oppressed by a government that lied to them and made free thinking impossible.

     I have read this book many times but it really affected me on 911. Suddenly it wasn’t ok to speak out against the government and if you did you were labeled a terrorist. Thought crime became common place alongside hatespeech. I have never agreed with my government, never trusted the news. Wait, am I a terrorist? I don’t love everything my country is or does but am I the only one?

     I tried to keep quiet and not speak my opinions for a long time because I got tired of hearing the empty soccer mom slogans and wondered if war was really the answer. I wasn’t sure who the enemy was and it kept changing and I kept thinking of Big Brother and the war against Eurasia that suddenly became a war against someone else. Who the fuck is the enemy?

      Of Mice And Men is another book that I keep going back to. Quite short but my God what a story. It is the only book that has ever made me cry. I hate that. The first time I read it I was fascinated by the relationship between George and Lenny and if I had to define love, man, that would be it.

     Surprised yet? If you knew me I guess some of these make sense. It fits into my personality. I love A Clockwork Orange and that it was violent as hell but what a story. I can’t read it on Kindle due to the slang and it was too difficult to maneuver to the back of the book for the definitions.

     Recently I’ve discovered bizarro and I have become exposed to a whole new set of writers and some of my favorites are The Menstrauting Mall by Carlton Mellick III, Rotgut County Blues by Jason Wayne Allen and of course Squid Pulp Blues from Jordan Krall. I should also throw in Mellick’s The Haunted Vagina and Apeshit. These are amazing novels that you all should read. Also pick up Jordan Krall’s Penetralia.

     Thanks to Bizarro I have even embraced the short story collection. Max Booth III’s They Might Be Demons, John Bruni’s Tales Of Objectionable Taste, Clown Tear Junkies by Douglas Hackle, We’re Going To Die Here Aren’t We? By Eric Gumeny. These are all books that define what a great short story can be. Take an idea and just run with it. Who cares if it makes sense as long as it’s well written.

     The very first bizarro book I had ever read was a book by Bradley Sands called Sorry, I Ruined Your Orgy. As I read it I couldn’t believe someone could write something so absurd and I was instantly hooked. From there it just  exploded and I discovered They Had Goat Heads. This was fiction that essentially had no rules and here I am a year later still reading it and it seems this is truly the year that really expanded the genre.

     Rounding out the list for now is The Pilo Family Circus which is a dark sinister novel that transcends genres and exists in its own spot. Jimmy by William Malmborg. This is a horror writer that you need to seek out. Jimmy is a horror story that almost dips into splatter punk territory. Still love Romeo And Juliet by Shakespeare. Sounds crazy when you see a list like mine and there sits the greatest love story ever written.

     I saw the movie Little Children and immediately set out to find the book. The story fascinated me for some reason and I liked that two people who are married yet unhappy are thrust into an affair despite tje fact that these are the last two people you would expect to see together 

     From Richard Laymon I have to include the graphic and bizarre Come Out Tonight. This was the one that made me a Laymon fanatic. I have read tons and tons of Laymon and that is one that I always return to because it’s such a fucked up story. It from Stephen King due to the fact that it’s much more than a horror novel. There’s a lot going on there and the tv movie fucked that book all up. Ignore the movie and just read the book.

     I think I’m done for now. This is one blog that not too many people will read and it’s ok. What makes me who I am is what I read and watch. I try and read what people constitute as normal but I love flawed characters and books that most people don’t have the patience for. Hope you enjoyed this and will actually read some of the books I mentioned.