Before I get to the books, I want to tell you that I'm reading at a very special One Page Salon to celebrate Owen Egerton's book release. Click here for details.
Heathenish by Kelby Losack - This book is dripping with style. It's a gut wrenching tale of redemption that is told so cleanly and without frills, that it's like a bullet to the heart. I wouldn't even know what a bullet to the toe felt like so let's just say it's like two dentists furiously wrenching out your tooth if your tooth was on your heart. I know what that's like. There aren't too many folks out there that write with such clarity. Check it out.
Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin - I've always loved Russians and Soviet era writers. The writers that we get from Russia, translated into English, always embrace the absurd weirdness of reality while we get stuck with too many writers who embrace ordinary boredom and try to make some grand statement out of being bored with nothing happening. There is no statement there but a fart. Victor Pelevin is like the more cynical Vonnegut of contemporary Russia. This story was touching. It was sad. It was kind of funny. It was absurd. There's a grand conspiracy. At the end you realize there is nothing to anything and we're all trapped in a cosmic joke that we can't make sense of until we finally do make sense of it and that's when it makes even less sense... and you didn't have to suffer through one hundred pages about some "fictional" asshole writer struggling with his book. As if anybody wants to read about a writer's life. Let me tell you: It's boring. It's the same as anybody else's.
Last Dance In Phoenix by Kurt Reichenbaugh - This is a great noir that I read in one and a half sittings. A good diet full of meat and french fries will allow you the time to read a lot in long spurts with your pants off. Reichenbaugh does a good job of creating utterly detestable characters that you end up rooting for. It's a pretty intense but quick read.
Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach - A fancy friend in New York recommended I read this. I trust this guy. He's got good taste and seems to be pretty keen on recommending things to people that they'll actually like. I bought it the day after he recommended it and read it in the next three days. I think he read the summary of Invasion of the Weirdos before it came out and recommended this book to me because he thought our senses of humor would align. Boy, was he right. Bacharach is hilarious. If you like cult stuff, drug stuff, bad art stuff... you'll like this stuff.
Numero Zero by Umberto Eco - This book should be seen as prophetic at this point. But the whole fucking point is that the news has been "fake" for quite some time. This revolves around a fascist conspiracy in Italy to cover up the true fate of Benito Mussolini. The protagonist works for a newspaper that has a strong agenda and is financially backed by a weirdo millionaire with an axe to grind. In an era of alternate facts and fake news, this book is worth reading. It's tiny, too.
The Nightly Disease by Max Booth III - Due to some publisher weirdness, this book is set to go out of print soon so snatch it up while you can. Every chapter is hilarious and dark. I'm afraid of owls and I no longer believe that whenever I stay at a hotel, it's birds that are shitting on my cars. Beware the night auditors.
Hard To Be A God by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky - More Russians. Soviet era, actually. I was recommended this by a great friend who is an Eastern European film enthusiast. He actually recommended the movie but I got to the book first. It's harder for me to pay attention to movies. These guys were truly the Soviet Vonneguts. They saw the absurdity in censorship and trying to engineer a perfect society. This book is funny and is a hell of a lot like the Soviet version of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. And that, my friends, is one of my favorite books of all time.
Things I'm looking forward to:
Hollow by Owen Egerton - I'm damn sure I've read everything by Owen Egerton and I've never been disappointed. From the moment he told me what he was working on a few years ago at Once Over Coffee, I knew this one was going to be a masterpiece. I haven't read it yet but I've got a damn good feeling about it.
Gods on the Lam by Christopher David Rosales - I'm pretty lucky to be published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. Everything they publish is gold. That's not hyperbole. That's not ass kissing. It's the damn truth. Before I sent off my manuscript to PMMP, I was a huge fan of Jessica McHugh's Green Kangaroos. This was my first introduction to PMMP. Since then, I've eaten their stuff up. I was also a fan of Max Booth III (one half the powerhouse that is PMMP). His writing is so fucking funny on a visceral level. So, when Max told me about Gods on the Lam... I knew it was a book right up my alley. Conspiracy, western, etc etc. It's on its way now. Can't wait.