Eat, Sleep and Make Merry

I wouldn't say that I have any hobbies, per se. I eat, sleep, watch TV, hang out with my friends and read. Probably the only subject I could expand upon is the reading. Oddly enough, Random House published all the books I've read recently.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Most recently, I've read Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. It's hilarious. The renowned travel writer recounts his upbringing in the 1950s, describing what sounds more like a comedic coming-of-age fiction than a mostly-true-except-the-names memoir. He talks about the most "incontestably unsatisfactory" toy (Silly Putty), his discovery that urinating on Lincoln Logs turns them white, and his Thunderbolt Kid ("the modest superhero of the prairies") X-ray vision. And apparently one of the diners in Des Moines had atomic toilets (page 20.) As with all of Bryson's work, you should read it. Maybe I didn't do the book justice with my talk of urination, Silly Putty and atomic toilets, but the book cover says that Tom Brokaw likes it, if that means anything to you. Also recommended: In a Sunburned Country, A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself.

Into the Wild

Into the Wild

I read Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild a few weeks ago. It's depressing, but also oddly inspiring.The story is about a recent college graduate, Christopher Johnson McCandless, who ventured into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 and died there. Of course Krakauer is a thorough, honest and entertaining author, so you should read this, too. He explores McCandless' past, tracks down his friends, retraces his path around the country. Krakauer researches other individuals who have gone into the wild, lost themselves and struggled to survive. He admits right from the start that he identifies with the protagonist and even recounts his own story of going too far and nearly dying for it. I found some of the history on people who were unrelated to McCandless'story boring, sometimes, but also useful for context.

Haunted

Haunted

I've been working on Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, who also wrote Fight Club and Choke, for months now. It's only 411 pages, but it's creepy. The cover even glows in the dark. I discovered that when I woke up in the middle of the night to see a glowing, green, wide-eyed ghost-face in the middle of my room. The premise: a group of people sign up for a three-month writers' retreat, but they don't know where they're going. They create drama and tragedy for themselves so their novels will be better, so they'll be famous when the three months have ended. They starve themselves, cut off their fingers and cut off the heat.