10 books that stuck

I said STUCK lol

I don’t usually participate in/repost Facebook things like this, but you know I loves me some books, so the “10 books that have stuck with you” thing, that one I can get into.  Knowing me, though, you should realize that I’m going to give you way more information about them than you really wanted.

Here they are in no particular order.

1.  Idoru by William Gibson.  When I started reading, if you told me my favorite sci-fi book in the whole world would be centered around a nerdy teenage girl and a rock star’s romance with a computer hologram, I’d have probably thought you were crazy – and told you so. Here we are, though, and there it is. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so disappointed with Gibson’s last few books is that they’re not Idoru and I desperately want them to be.  (I recently re-read Neuromancer and boy, is that a good book, but this one’s still better!)

2.  Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Wait, what?

Yeah.  The meme is “books that stuck with you” not “your favorite books.”  MK is a book you can never quite forget no matter how desperately you wish you could.  It’s equal measures haunting and hilarious, but the thing that gets you is that a lot of his sentiments (from the 1920s, mind you) translate so easily – and fully – into modern times. You hear people say things nearly exactly like things that Hitler wrote in this book.  It’s kind of upsetting, really.

3.  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  I used to assign this book to my US history classes until the crying about “how are we supposed to do all this reading” got too much to bear semester after semester.  If you ever read this, stop reading it when the main character (Jurgis) starts going to the political rallies/meetings.  It’s boring socialist propaganda after that and truthfully, the story has ended by then anyway.  If half the shit that happens to the protagonist in this book ever happened to anybody in real life, it’s a miracle anybody survived the early 20th century.

4.  The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  The original excellent adventure.

5.  Yukon Ho! by Bill Watterson.  This was the first Calvin & Hobbes book I ever got – and I still have my original copy from 1989.

6.  Chess for Beginners by IA Horowitz.  My father (with whom I had a complicated, contentious and often unpleasant relationship) gave me this book when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  Playing chess with my father is among the few really positive memories I have about him, and it always meant a lot to me that he gave me this book.

7.  The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days by Ian Frazier.  The only other book that ever made me laugh as hard as this one was Death Rat! by Mike Nelson – and this one’s way funnier.

8.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  This book, I’m pretty sure, is what sparked my love of dystopian science fiction.  It’s also one of the books I think about when I get into one of my “words mean things” rants – the way Bradbury turns the word fireman on its head is pretty powerful.

9.  On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. This initial volume in the Incarnations of Immortality series is pretty thought-provoking – the idea that Death is a job just like any other job, and what happens when Death goes on strike.  I’ve always felt it was the best in the 7-book series.

10.  Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough.  It’s a little cliche to say such-and-such book is the Bible of such-and-such discipline, but this one really is.  Every time I pick it up, I learn something new that helps keep me safe on the road.

There you have it, 10 books that stuck with me. If you’re tagged, let’s hear it 🙂

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notable deaths in 2013

3e8154f3d0164fb9c74d9212c54db126I hope I’m not jinxing this post by throwing it up more than 24 hours before the end of the year, but the death (yesterday) of Wojciech Kilar reminded me that I meant to do this.  I won’t comment on any of these folks except to note what they were most known as – musician includes singers, by the way!

I have friends who lost people special to them, including some close friends, and I went to a few funerals myself this year. It’s never a pleasant experience, but that kind of closure is important to us and how we deal with death and our families. My sympathies to anybody who lost somebody this year, and I hope your memories buoy you.

Notable deaths in 2013

  • Wojciech Kilar, composer
  • Kazuyoshi Kino, Buddhist scholar
  • Paul Blair, baseball player
  • Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor/engineer
  • Yusef Lateef, musician
  • Ricky Lawson, musician
  • Lord Infamous, musician
  • David Richards, music producer
  • Al Goldstein, pornographer
  • Hideo Kanaya, motorcycle racer
  • Ray Price, musician
  • Joan Fontaine, actress
  • Peter O’Toole, actor
  • Jang Sung-taek, politician – executed
  • Tom Laughlin, actor
  • Mac McGarry, quiz show host (It’s Academic!)
  • Nelson Mandela, politician & activist
  • Charles Grigg, cartoonist
  • Bill Lawrence, musician & guitar/bass pickup designer
  • Jim Hall, musician
  • Eleanor Parker, actress
  • Paul Walker, actor
  • Sylvia Brown, psychic
  • Frederick Sanger, scientist
  • Doris Lessing, author
  • John Tavener, musician & composer
  • Charlie Trotter, chef
  • Lou Reed, musician
  • Marcia Wallace, actress
  • Jovanka Broz, widow of Josip Broz
  • Ed Lauter, actor
  • Phil Chevron, musician
  • Vo Nguyen Giap, general
  • Tom Clancy, author
  • Hiroshi Yamauchi, video game legend
  • Ray Dolby, engineer
  • Frederick Pohl, author
  • Julie Harris, actress
  • Marian McPartland, musician
  • Elmore Leonard, author
  • Lee Thompson Young, actor
  • Lisa Robin Kelly, actress
  • Jack Germond, author/journalist
  • Jon Brookes, musician
  • Eydie Gorme, musician
  • Karen Black, actress
  • George Duke, musician
  • Michael Ansara, actor
  • Harry Byrd, Jr, politician
  • Eileen Brennan, actress
  • JJ Cale, musician
  • Virginia Johnson, scientist
  • Dennis Farina, actor
  • Helen Thomas, journalist
  • Cory Monteith, actor
  • Bernadette Nolan, musician
  • Jim Kelly, martial artist & actor
  • Alan Myers, musician
  • Douglas Engelbart, nerd (invented the computer mouse)
  • Bobby “Blue” Bland, musician
  • James Gandolfini, actor
  • Slim Whitman, musician
  • Chico Hamilton, musician
  • Wanda Coleman, poet
  • Doris Lessing, feminist
  • Todd Christensen, football player
  • Hal Needham, stunt man & film director
  • Scott Carpenter, astronaut
  • Ken Norton, Sr, boxer
  • Eiji Toyoda, auto executive
  • David Frost, journalist
  • Seamus Heaney, poet
  • Ruth Asawa, artist
  • Michael Hastings, journalist
  • Richard Ramirez, serial killer
  • David “Deacon” Jones, football player
  • Jean Stapleton, actress
  • Ed Shaughnessy, musician
  • Ray Manzarek, musician
  • Joyce Brothers, psychologist
  • Ray Harryhausen, film special effects wizard
  • Deanna Durbin, musician/actress
  • George Jones, musician
  • Richie Havens, musician
  • Pat Summerall, broadcaster
  • Frank Bank, actor
  • Maria Tallchief, dancer
  • Jonathan Winters, comedian & actor
  • Margaret Thatcher, politician
  • Annette Funicello, actress
  • Roger Ebert, film critic
  • Jack Pardee, football player
  • Phil Ramone, record producer
  • Richard Griffiths, actor
  • Rise Stevens, musician
  • Harry Reems, actor
  • Alvin Lee, musician
  • Hugo Chavez, politician
  • Bonnie Franklin, actress
  • Van Cliburn, musician
  • Roy Brown, automotive engineer/designer
  • C Everett Koop, physician
  • George Aratani, electronics executive
  • Mindy McCready, musician
  • Stuart Freeborn, film makeup/costuming legend
  • Andre Cassagnes, electrician & inventor
  • Ed Koch, politician
  • Patty Andrews, musician
  • Stan “The Man” Musial, baseball player
  • Earl Weaver, baseball player/manager
  • Gussy Moran, tennis player
  • Pauline “Dear Abby” Phillips, author
  • Aaron Swartz, nerd
  • Evan Connell, author & historian
  • Patti Page, musician
  • Kurt Caselli, motorcycle racer