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I read my way out of the Aughts. Now it’s your turn.

January 7, 2010

These are books I think you should read (No dancing around the point here).  They are not political or philosophical books, except in that in the way that any individual fictitious character might have some particular beliefs and opinions. These are not self help or inspirational guides (or at least I don’t think that was the author’s intention). They are not biographical or historical, so they’re not full of lies.

These are books that linger on in my consciousness. They are damn good reads.  Years might pass and I continue to remember what ‘Damn good reads’, they were (some books are good reads, but I don’t continue to kick them around in my head).  Most of these books are part of a series or trilogy. I suppose quantity has something to do with their mental stickiness, but I’m no book shrink, just a bad ass, telling you what to read…  Last night a woman I never met before told me – or actually told the guy sitting next to me at the bar, that I looked like a “bad ass”.  “No he’s a nice guy,” he said.  I agreed.  Inside, I laughed and laughed and then cried and cried.  It’s good when people think things about you.  It is never what I would have suggested they thought.  But it’s still good.  I think… at least you’re not invisible.  Yes, not invisible.

Dear —–,

I’m finally getting around to making your reading list, and I apologize, I meant to do this earlier, Fortunately, because the extremely cold weather and snow I have a multitude of halfway believable excuses for me not to go into the office.  Also,  free time to imagine I work in an office.  It’s a tidy little cubical near a window, in the corner, to the right of my chair there is a potted plant, a small tree, that someone else waters (because I’m sure I haven’t in all the years I’ve been here).

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you where I should be right now; my mind is drawing a blank and when it began to form an idea, I  remember that I left my snow boots at the office.  So, here I am making a list of books for you to read.

Sorry again for the wait,

Yours truly,



I would not call the order in which I lists these books a ranking, but I did place them in a descending order of  my daily ‘Damn that was a good read’ recall scale; A scale that is not in any way a determiner of either good or bad literature.  Though they all are in there own way, great literature (based on my own ‘because I say so’, logic). There is no need to run out and read them all right away.  In fact the first book on the list is currently out of print.  I’m sure this is just a fluke, or as Johnny, the guy in the cubical next to mine says, “a glitchy”.  The other two books in the series are available and this trilogy is greatly loved by many more people than me. Read the reviews on   “Fantastic!”  “Unputdownable”. “Stop Reading These Reviews! Buy This Book!.” A few reviewers might not have been espousing The Word, but sometimes people are wrong.   I suggest buying the hard copy version or used copy of the first book (Some idiots want $43.99 + for a new paperback)… but you didn’t need me to figure that out for you.  But I will if I have too.

 I also recognize that you are busy and have other obligations, it might take some time. I can wait.  Never the less, I will know if you haven’t read them…  Now I’m thinking ‘invisible’ might have been a superior choice to ‘bad ass creepy book reviewer’.  Here are the books.

Dead I may Well Be, The Dead Yard,  The Bloomsday Dead, by Adrian McKinty.  These little gems follow the delightful musings of the Michael Forsythe, an Irish criminal who killed more people than all the funerals you’ll attend in a lifetime.  It took me awhile to get around to reading these books.  Reading books in first person and sympathetic portrayals of killers are not my cup of tea… unless they’re really well written. I won’t let a narrator push me around with contrived justifications, half assed apologies and willful ignorance.  I demand a lot from these writers and Adrian McKinty delivers! But then I’m also a quarter Irish.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Forthcoming)  by Stieg Larsson  


Even if you’re not one of those people who wondered what happened to Pippi Longstocking after she grew up, you will after reading Stieg Larsson. And you don’t even need to speak Sweedish.  I have no basis to judge the quality of any translation, but in the past I’d always found myself distracted, wondering what was lost in translation; what I missed. These books help me to come to appreciate that if something was lost, something else was probably gained.  As with any translations, I have no idea what was lost or gained, but in this case I’m not missing anything.  Thank you Stieg Larsson and Reg keeland.

The Last Refuge, Two Time, Head Wounds, and Hard Stop.  By Chris Knopf.

This series of novels are about a guy named Sam Aquillo, who lives in what some might call a shack on the beach, when you consider some of his other neighbor’s houses in the Hamptons.  He an everyman’s everyman or at least my model for an everyman’s everyman.  I, like most of us, are not as witty, intelligent, tough, aloof, alcoholic, irreverent, messed up as Sam, but I think these are all things we can strive for in moderation.

A Changed Man.  By Francine Prose.

Francine did the impossible here and made a Nazi skinhead lovable (Could you write a less compelling accolade?  Just read the damn book.)

The Power of the Dog. By Don Winslow.

Unlike Winslow’s other books this one ensnarls you in the teeth of a rabid dog and won’t let up (the dogs in his other books are not rabid.)  This sick dog sinks its teeth into the fucked up mess which Richard Nixon first coined, ‘The War on Drugs’.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro-drugs (I supposed if you cornered me I wouldn’t say I was anti drugs either).  The main character is a DEA agent, who tries very hard to do the job he was giving.  But it’s hard.  It is very very hard.  

I like to mention one of Winslow’s other books, it is less solemn and more typical of his crash, bang, zoom, take no prisoners prose, California Fire and Life, is one heck of a fun read.

Not on the list, but dancing around it, are the books by A. M. Holmes.  Also, Jonathan Dee’s ‘Palladio’  (it had been out of my head for awhile, but he has a new book coming out soon, so it has crept back in).  And the two books I’m currently reading, ‘Bad Thing’s Happen’ by Harry Dolan and ‘New World Monkeys’ by  Nancy Mauro. 

Well that is my list…  And sorry, my editor was out of the office… I think out having coffee with my common sense and decorum. Those fuckers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2010 11:29 pm

    Thanks for the rec, brother!

    Yes its embarrassing that Simon and Schuster dont have Dead I Well May Be in print and YOU SHOULD NOT SPEND 43 dollars on a frickin paperback!

    If you want a new copy you should get it from The pound is weak and its only about 15 bucks with shipping and the serpents tail trilogy edition is gorgeous.

    Later on this year I’m going to have to sue Simon and Schuster for the rights. If the book is out of print for more than a year and they refuse to do a POD then they are legally obliged to give the rights back to me. They are unwilling to give me the rights back or do a POD so it looks like I’ll be heading to the courts. I dont want to do this but I dont see that I have any option.

  2. January 8, 2010 1:57 am

    I don’t think Michael Forsythe would stand for this, but then I don’t see him using a lawyer either. I’m sure your way is best.

    I just gave my sister these books. I waited until the Monday before Christmas thinking I’d be able to stroll into some mega bookstore and buy them. Boy, was I naive. Amazon, and an extra 30 bucks for shipping solved my problem. My sister by the way read the first book in one day. I told her to take it easy…

    Yea that POD, I guess it has publisher scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do and of course the easiest choice is do nothing.

    It was good to hear from you,

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