Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The Elisson Bookshelf

Yet another installment in the ongoing series entitled “What I’ve Been Reading Lately.” Since my most recent update at the end of September, here are the volumes that have graced my nightstand:

  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void - Mary Roach

    Mary Roach seems to have found a niche for herself: writing books that deal with serious subjects in a humorous, lighthearted manner, e.g., Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. In Packing for Mars, Roach describes some of the real difficulties of spaceflight, both short- and extended-term, leavening things with the occasional foray into Unmentionable Areas. If you wanted to know exactly how astronauts take their Space-Dumps, this is the book for you.

  • Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern

    The hardcopy version of the popular Twitter feed that became a less-popular television series. Good bathroom reading, but nothing special.

  • No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process - Colin Beavan

    Colin Beavan and the Girls
    The Mistress of Sarcasm, Elder Daughter, and Colin Beavan celebrate the conclusion of last May’s TEDxPotomac conference. Colin was one of the featured speakers; Elder Daughter emceed.

    Beavan calls himself a Guilty Liberal, but he did something that differentiated himself from the rest of the herd: He and his (reluctant but cooperative) family tried to live without using any electricity or generating any waste - zero net environmental impact - for an entire year. In New York City, no less. Despite the occasionally annoying rainbows ’n’ unicorns tone of the book, give the guy credit for acting on his beliefs.

  • The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee - Sarah Silverman

    An actual biography from the queen of shock comedy. Gotta love a book with the word “pee” in the title.

  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary - David Sedaris

    Modern fables told with an acerbic tongue and a blackly comic tone.

  • Found in Translation: Common Words of Uncommon Wisdom - Pamela Jay Gottfried

    Rabbi Gottfried brings her own unique perspective to this slim volume that explains certain Hebrew and Yiddish terms.

  • Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King

    Some of Stephen King’s finest work can be found in his short novels. These don’t reach the heights of the pieces in his celebrated Different Seasons collection, but they’re just fine if you need your fix of Scary Stevie Stuff.

  • Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned - Wells Tower

    David Sedaris recommended this collection of short fiction, worth reading solely on the strength of the horrifyingly humorous title story. And I recommend it as well.

  • My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure - Nathan Rabin

    Anyone can review a popular film, but it takes a real lover of the genre - or a masochist - to deliberately look at movies that bombed. Many of them sucked, some horrifically so... and yet there are a few underappreciated gems amongst the dross.

  • The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

    Bacigalupi has created the most amazing Future Dystopia, a world in which fossil fuels have been consumed almost unto extinction, a world in which energy is provided by food calories and stored in wound-up springs. Genetically manipulated foodstuffs, genehacked plagues, and artificial lifeforms are all part of the story, set in Thailand some two centuries hence. Scary good reading.

So: What have you been reading lately?


El Capitan said...

'Quantico' and 'Mariposa', by Greg Bear. FBI investigates virus-dropping terrorists in 10-12 years. Good look at the future of law enforcement and the politics of fear.

'American On Purpose' by Craig Ferguson. Bio of the Scottish comedian/talk show host. Good read, but nothing extraordinary.

'American Assassin' by Vince Flynn. Not as good as some of his earlier works, but good escapist fare.

I've got Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot' in the stack. Never got around to reading it before now.

Elisson said...

@El Capitan - I'm a long-time Greg Bear fan. Read Quantico when it came out, but somehow managed to miss Mariposa. Guess that means a trip to the libe...

diamond dave said...

I got King's Full Dark, No Stars for Christmas and finished it a few days ago. Definitely one of his better, though darker, creations of recent years, almost as good as some of his earlier classics like Different Seasons.

Just got Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive today and looking for the time to read it.

Unknown said...

Right now, I'm reading three books more or less at the same time.

Life by Keith Richards, quite possibly the greatest book ever written. I have the hardcover, the audio book and a copy on my e-reader. I've resolved to never be without a copy nearby.

Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn By Tera Patrick. You can never get enough hot porno sluts. It's in the bible. It's a good read, especially when you consider that I downloaded the EPUB file for free at Demonoid.

The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One By David Kilcullen. A fascinating explanation of why we're all doomed. I'm pretty sure you can this on Demonoid too, but I bought the hardcover because I'm not very bright.