Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What are you reading?

What's on your summer reading list? Any books you care to recommend?
I just finished reading "Dispatches" by Michael Herr. Herr was a Vietnam War correspondent for Esquire magazine. His reminiscences, in the form of vignettes from the front lines, take me as close to being under fire as I care to get. Herr elicits compassion for the soldiers on both sides -- and especially for the Vietnamese civilians caught in the middle. He also imparts a clearer understanding of the truth that there really are no winners in war. At least that's what I got out of the book.
So, what are you reading?


isabel said...

i just finished reading 'The Aspern Papers' (Henry James), and am now re-reading 'The Turn of the Screw' (same author).

(i'm a bit behind the times!) :)

Lone Wolf said...

I'm currently reading Chrisopher Moore's "Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ Childhood Pal" It is a humorus fiction about "the missing years" of Jesus. It is really good. It's my new Bible. I'm currently at the part where Christ and Biff are at the Buddhist Monastery learning to let go of ego. I recommend all of Moore's books especially his new one "A Dirty Job."

Umm I have a ton of books I plan on reading. I plan on reading "Crooked Cucumber", the biography of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi next. Here are five other books I really enjoyed reading over the past year.

The Kite Runner-Khaled Husseini

The Cell- Steven King

Slaughterhouse Five-Kurt Vonnegut

High Fedelity- Nick Hornsby

Eragon- Christopher Paolini

Michael said...

The titles I recognize are interesting books. In high school, I had to read "The Turn of the Screw" and "Daisy Miller" by James. Didn't care for either, but that's just me. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is a great book and a great movie, too, if you haven't seen it.
"Crooked Cucumber" is a fine read. The author, David Chadwick, is a really nice, fun person. He and I struck up an e-mail correspondence some time ago and we link to each other's Web sites. His is -- check it out, LW.
I also strongly recommend his other book, "Thank You and OK: An American Zen Failure in Japan." This book, with Jack Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums," served as inspiration for my own journey to Japan.

Lone Wolf said...

Thanks Michael. I didn't know there was a movie Slaughterhouse Five. I've been meaning to read Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" and "On the Road". I visit David Chadwick's site from time to time to see whats new. I listened to an online talk of his also. I have had "Crooked Cucumber" for awhile. Read some of it, but havn't sat down and read the whole thing. I would also like to read Chadwick's other book you mentioned. He is a very down to earth guy. I like him alot.

Matt Kohai said...

On a whim yesterday I wandered to the Religion section of a Borders and bought "The Dharma of Star Wars"... Looking forward to it. Most of the rest of what I read is popular (trashy) sci-fi and fantasy, and some non-fiction. I'm also in mid-read with "Get In the Van," by Henry Rollins, a journal of his time with the band Black Flag (it was a hand-me-down gift from Beth).

Thomas said...

Current: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! by Alessandro Boffa. Each chapter Viskovitz is a different animal generally seeking his life's love. It is kind of funny without being even remotely cute (e.g., the scorpion Viskovitz that keeps killing his lovers by accident).

Recent Past:
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (very good, imagines FDR losing his 3rd term bid to anti-semite Charles Lindbergh)

The Lost Honor of Katherina Blum by Heinrich Boll (odd and oddly intriguing, very straightforward prose)

The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark (quirky and more than little disturbing)

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy (pretty racy for something published in the 1950s, one of the Modern Library's top 100 english language novels of the 20th century.)

Near Future:
The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

Michael said...

Hi Thomas,
Thanks for stopping by! I'm interested in the Maugham book. I'll have to add it to my ever-lengthening reading list. Right now, I'm pretty much preoccupied with non-fiction about the Vietnam War, but all wrs must end, and then it's on to something else.

Hi Matt,
When are we getting together for that chess game?

Matt Kohai said...

Michael, that's a damn good question. I have a knee surgery coming up in early July - though my boss tells me I may need to postpone due to lack of coverage. Assuming it goes as scheduled, I'll be off the night before that surgery, a Sunday - perhaps then? I'll ask Beth what her schedule is like as well...

And - a new book leapt to the top of the "next to read" pile. Beth loaned me "Teachings on Love" by Thich Nhat Hanh. That I'm really looking forward to, as it could have good advice for my present situation with Lynn.

Tamar said...

I very much enjoyed "Gilead" my Marilynne Robinson and "The Nimrod Flip-Out" by Etgar Keret.

Michael said...

Hi Tamar,
Thanks for the recommendations!

isabel said...

finished with James now...i don't blame anyone who doesn't like him. He's verbose and rambling.

now plowing through 'Beyond Theology' (Alan Watts).

Oxeye said...

hi michael, crooked cucumber was good.. that led me to read "shoes outside the door" about the early days of the sfzc. that was good also, sad and moving. i'm reading a willem de kooning bio now. it's a big sucker.

Michael said...

Hi Oxeye,
I recommend David Chadwick's ("Crooked Cucumber" other book, "Thank You and OK," which I describe in the third comment from the top on this page. It's really a great book with great insights. I believe it's still in print. If not, it's well worth searching for.

Oxeye said...

thanks michael, i'll look for "Thank You and OK".. it is amazing to me how many people read kerouac's early writing and got pointed towards buddhism. i think he played a large part in establishing at least an interest in buddhism in america. i have been looking for a copy of "how the swans came to the lake" by rick fields. heard it was good..

i thought of you yesterday when i was at the hartville, ohio flea market. i found a ww2 era phot album put together by a red cross nurse. lots of photos of her soldier pals and some interesting b/w snapshots of japan early in the occupation. she even took a photo of ike himself. bought it for $7.

Michael said...

Hi Oxeye,

Though some of Kerouac's work -- especially "The Dharma Bums" -- sparked my interest in Buddhism (actually, it fueled an existing spark), today I look at this novel as a cautionary tale. It's still my favorite Kerouac novel, though. It's just that I've come to find that many of the views the Beats held about Buddhism were pretty much nonsense, with the exception of Gary Snyder.
"How the Swans Came to the Lake" is a really good book that I read several years back. I don't recall many details, but remember thinking at the time how much I enjoyed reading it.
The photo album you describe is a great find, and a great bargain at $7!