Posts Tagged ‘books’

Summer Escape: Plan B

Posted: July 30, 2012 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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I’m not hundred percent sure what’s gotten into everyone but between bath salt sniffing face eaters in Miami, Tosh’s rape joke and the Colorado homicidal Joker psychopath—I seriously need a break.

Hesitant to set foot in a movie theater anytime soon and convinced my skin is permanently sunburned I’ve decided on plan B.  Ironically the only time I’m capable of getting through the first five pages of a book is during summer.  So, if you’re in need of one last summer escape or you’re actually a closet book nerd… here are three legitimate summer reads (in other words anything except The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey):

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

READ THIS IF: You like learning quirky knowledge and you’re favorite shows are all crime dramas.

ALSO: Jon Ronson meets everyone ranging from a neuroscientist who has it out for the psychiatry industry, a self-proclaimed sane patient criminally institutionalized for life, and a legendary CEO speculated of psychopathy.  It may help you understand all the bat-shit-crazy people, or not.  Regardless, his writing style airs of honest curiosity and his distinct humor prevails… even though most serious psychopaths really aren’t funny.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

READ THIS IF: You like rooting for the underdog, heartwarming stories, and Bradley Cooper.

ALSO: I’m a huge sucker for books made into movies.  Let me introduce you to Pat Peoples.  His theory is that life is a movie produced by God and if he does everything right his estranged wife Nikki will come back to him.  However, fate intervenes.  I saw the trailer and instantly bought the book.  How could you not read about two crazy fucked up people falling in love? (especially when they’re played by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawerence).

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

READ THIS IF: You have eyes.

ALSO: Malcolm Gladwell is one of the smartest people I’ve ever seen and he’s weird (in a good way).  If you’ve never heard of him picture a lanky black man with an afro and Harry Potter style glasses who writes insanely influential books.  Specifically, the Tipping Point is about how little things can make a big difference—from fashion trends to drops in crime rates.  The tipping point is that instant when a product or idea becomes viral.  Every page is fascinating and already changing how society thinks, so catch up.

-Sara Freund

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  You’ve heard it before.  You’ll probably hear it again.  But I’m here to tell you something a little different: Do judge a book by its cover; just make sure it’s the back one.

Sometimes, the summary of a book can be really intriguing, and sometimes it can be really dull.  Most of the back-of-the-book summaries I’ve come across read almost exactly the same, with some choice words taken out or replaced.  To demonstrate this, I’ve put together a sample book summary that I think encompasses most, if not all, of the clichés you’ll find on the backs of books everywhere:

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Early Failures and Unexpected Greatness

Posted: October 3, 2009 by bryanhood in Uncategorized
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Two weeks into this little adventure and I’m already slipping.  Despite last weeks big talk about my incessant reading,  this week did not go as planned.  School sort of got in the way.  Oops.

It was bound to happen at some point this semester.  Might as well get it out of the way now.

It's a new take on a dog with its tail between its legs or ostrich with head in a hole

It's a new take on a dog with its tail between its legs or ostrich with head in a hole - http://www.flickr.com/photos/31241172@N08/3596599078/

Despite doing nowhere near as much free reading as I would’ve liked–I did plenty for class though–I still did get in at least an hour each night before bed.  A lot of articles were read, a handful of comics, and 77 more pages of Colson Whitehead’s “John Henry Days.”  Not a bad week by most people’s standards, but I’m not most people.  Now onto, what I read.

“John Henry Days” is a strange book.  It’s the story of a bunch of hack journalists dispatched to West Virginia to cover the United States Post Office’s unveiling of a John Henry commemorative stamp.  Failed journalists and stamp unveilings are rarely a recipe to success, but somehow Whitehead manages to pull things together into a compelling narrative. 

Things are told in a schizophrenic manner, alternating between the perspective of J., a freelancer whose been jumping from press junket to press junket for three months without a break, and others in town for the festivities.  So far the book’s been about dwarves fighting, scary hick taxi drivers, hiding free food, and a clever distillation of the five types of puff pieces written for magazines.  

And no, that most American of folk heroes, John Henry, has yet to make an appearance, but the way things are going I’m not going to be surprised if he does.  It’s not an easy book to read, but I’ve always liked art I had to work for.  My only reservation is that a lot of my enjoyment of the book is due to the fact that I’m in J-School, but whatevs.

Whitehead’s book is good.  Real good actually, but it wasn’t the highlight of my reading week. 

That would have to be The Simpsons’ Tree House of Horror # 15.  I’m totally serious.  Every other Simpson comic I’ve ever read (there haven’t been many), has felt lifeless and kind of boring.  But not this!  This is a treasure trove of art comics goodness.  Though the product of 13 different creators the art and stories are all beautiful, funny, and weird as all get out. 

I can honestly say I enjoyed each story, but Ben Jones’ “Boo-tleg” and Matthew Thurber and Kevin Huizinga’s “The Call of Vegulu” are just jaw dropping in their amazingness.  Even in it’s increasingly conservative older age, the yearly Tree House of Horror episodes are a chance for the show’s writers to run wild and this issue is no different for the creators involved.  This is the Simpsons on crack, mescaline and PCP, all at the same time!  The results aren’t just good comics featuring the Simpson, they’re just good comics.  By the end my shit was flipped.  How’s that for an endorsement?

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Next week…more of my thoughts on what I read.  Hopefully you‘ll get something a little more sustained.

-Bryan Hood

Some of us were born to write. Others, maybe not so much...

Some of us were born to write. Others, maybe not so much...

“Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.”
-Ivanka Trump