Maybe I’m subconsciously channelling Friedrich Nietzsche (who, in Ecce Homo, wonders how anyone can read during the day), but I’m finding it almost impossible to concentrate on Dante’s Purgatorio if I read it during the daylight hours. Read more »

Of all the books I’ve read recently, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is, without doubt, my favorite. This is my first outing with Murakami, and the only thing I’m certain of is that he’s incomparable; I can’t think of anyone, living or dead, who writes the way he does. Read more »

Fourteen chapters of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden still has me wondering why he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Read more »

About halfway through Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts, I decided it was one of the best books I was going to read this year. It’s a total mindfuck of a novel, a literary thriller (forgive the paradox) that’s equal parts Mark Z. Danielewski, Haruki Murakami, and Jaws. Read this book read this book read this book–that’s what I feel like saying to anyone and everyone who will listen. Read more »

I’ve long considered Kurt Vonnegut as one of my favorite authors, but I’ve recently become completely obsessed with him. Cat’s Cradle is sheer genius, one of the funniest, sharpest satires ever written, and I’m currently enmeshed in Slaughterhouse-Five, which I picked up at the bookstore last night. (I know, I know–I’m always late to the party.) Read more »

I’ve been reading Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma at the office, reading anywhere from ten fifteen pages a day, and and though I’m only seventy pages in, it’s turning out to be a good book. Read more »

I finished William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing almost a week ago, and now with a brutal election season finally over, I’m going through campaign withdrawl. I’m almost wishing I’d read one of Shakespeare’s political plays–Richard III, for example, or Julius Caesar. (Come to think of it, aren’t most of Shakespeare’s plays political to some degree?) Read more »

Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives strikes me as the kind of book I should be reading in a crowded bar, with people yelling for drinks and spilling tequila everywhere. Read more »

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve bought John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It’s one of those works that I always seem to misplace, and this inevitably leads me to think, God must really hate me. Read more »

So much has been made of the violence in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian–not even Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, for all its misogyny and postmodernism, is this violent–that it’s easy to overlook how humorous all of it really is. The Bible, of course, is the same way: the sheer ridiculousness of God’s bloodlust–matched only by his fits of jealous rage–is what makes it so funny. And like the Old Testament’s Jehovah, McCarthy casually marches his characters through a desert wasteland, visiting them with horror upon horror, and almost never offering an explanation. Those who like books in which all actions have a reason–some higher purpose, serving the ur-god Plot–will be confounded by Blood Meridian. Read more »