Reading List

A compendium of the books I've read. (I'm still working on updating/uploading the data.)

★★

Pygmy

By Chuck Palahniuk

★★

Description

The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park--Chuck Palahniuk's finest novel since the generation-defining Fight Club."Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc."Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.It's a comedy. And a romance.
★★★

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (Felix Gomez, #1)

By Mario Acevedo

★★★

Description

The first and only vampire book to be declassified by the federal government . . . Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire. Now he finds himself pulled into a web of intrigue when an old friend prompts him to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania at the secret government facilities in Rocky Flats. He'll find out the cause of all these horny women or die trying! But first he must contend with shadowy government agents, Eastern European vampire hunters, and women who just want his body . . . Skewering sexual myths, conspiracy fables, and government bureaucracy, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats reveals the bizarre world of the undead with a humorous slant and a fresh twist.
★★★

Pop Apocalypse: A Possible Satire

By Lee Konstantinou

★★★

Description

The United States and its Freedom Coalition allies are conducting serial invasions across the globe, including an attack on the anti-capitalist rebels of Northern California. The Middle East—now a single consumerist Caliphate led by Lebanese pop singer Caliph Fred—is in an uproar after an attack on the al-Aqsa Mosque gets televised on the Holy Land Channel. The world is on the brink of a total radioactive, no-survivors war, and human­kind's last hope is Eliot R. Vanderthorpe, Jr., celebrity heir, debauched party animal, and Elvis impersonation scholar. But Eliot's got his own problems. His evangelical dad is breeding red heifers in anticipation of the Rapture. Eliot's dissertation is in the toilet. And he has a doppelgänger. An evil doppelgänger.
★★★

Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America

By Jeffery L. Sheler

★★★

Description

The award-winning author of Is the Bible True?takes a groundbreaking, insider's look at the lives and culture of American evangelicals.
★★

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

By Toby Young

★★

Description

With a major motion picture of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People about to be released (starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, and Jeff Bridges), there has never been a better time to savor this laugh-out-loud memoir from everyone's favorite “professional failurist.” In his dishy assault on New York's A-list, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Toby Young lands a job at Vanity Fair-and proceeds to work his way down Manhattan's food chain.
★★

Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students

By Denise Clark Pope

★★

Description

This book offers a revealing--and troubling--view of today's high school students and the ways they pursue high grades and success.
★★★

Sunnyside

By Glen David Gold

★★★

Description

Glen David Gold, author of the best seller Carter Beats the Devil, now gives us a grand entertainment with the brilliantly realized figure of Charlie Chaplin at its center: a novel at once cinematic and intimate, heartrending and darkly comic, that captures the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity.Sunnyside opens on a winter day in 1916 during which Charlie Chaplin is spotted in more than eight hundred places simultaneously, an extraordinary delusion that forever binds the overlapping fortunes of three men: Leland Wheeler, son of the world's last (and worst) Wild West star, as he finds unexpected love on the battlefields of France; Hugo Black, drafted to fight under the towering General Edmund Ironside in America's doomed expedition against the Bolsheviks; and Chaplin himself, as he faces a tightening vise of complications--studio moguls, questions about his patriotism, his unchecked heart, and, most menacing of all, his mother.The narrative is as rich and expansive as the ground it covers, and it is cast with a dazzling roster of both real and fictional characters: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Adolph Zukor, Chaplin's (first) child bride, a thieving Girl Scout, the secretary of the treasury, a lovesick film theorist, three Russian princesses (gracious, nervous, and nihilist), a crew of fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants moviemakers, legions of starstruck fans, and Rin Tin Tin.By turns lighthearted and profound, Sunnyside is an altogether spellbinding novel about dreams, ambition, and the dawn of the modern age.From the Hardcover edition.
★★★★

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

By David Foster Wallace

★★★★

Description

Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And what happens when adult-video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are enthralling narrative adventures. Whether covering the three-ring circus of a vicious presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting the World's Largest Lobster Cooker, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters.
★★

Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers

By Linda Perlstein

★★

Description

An education reporter for the Washington Post examines the middle school years, exploring issues of anxiety, conformity, and rebellion common to this age group.
★★★★

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

By Bill Simmons

★★★★

Description

There is only one writer on the planet who possesses enough basketball knowledge and passion to write the definitive book on the NBA. Bill Simmons, the from-the-womb hoops addict known to millions as ESPN.com's Sports Guy, is that writer. And The Book of Basketball is that book. Nowhere in the roundball universe will you find another single volume that covers as much in such depth as this wildly opinionated and thoroughly entertaining look at the past, present, and future of pro basketball.From the age-old question of who actually won the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to the one about which team was truly the best of all time, Simmons opens--and then closes, once and for all--every major pro basketball debate. Then he takes it further by completely reevaluating not only how NBA Hall of Fame inductees should be chosen but how the institution must be reshaped from the ground up, the result being the Pyramid: Simmons's one-of-a-kind, five-level shrine to the ninety-six greatest players in the history of pro basketball. And ultimately he takes fans to the heart of it all, as he uses a conversation with one NBA great to uncover that coveted thing: The Secret of Basketball.Comprehensive, authoritative, controversial, hilarious, and impossible to put down (even for Celtic-haters), The Book of Basketball offers every hardwood fan a courtside seat beside the game's finest, funniest, and fiercest chronicler. More to the point, he's the only one crazy enough to try to pull it off. From the Hardcover edition.
★★★★

American Gods (American Gods #1)

By Neil Gaiman

★★★★

Description

Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming -- a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path. One of the most talked-about books of the new millennium, American Gods is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an American landscape at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. It is, quite simply, a contemporary masterpiece. [Source][1] [1]: http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/Books/American+Gods/
★★

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)

By Dan Brown

★★

Description

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling–a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths… all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object–artfully encoded with five symbols–is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation… one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon–a prominent Mason and philanthropist–is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations–all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for… his most thrilling novel yet. ([source][1]) [1]: http://danbrown.com/the-lost-symbol/
★★★★

No Way to Treat a First Lady

By Christopher Buckley

★★★★

Description

American President Ken MacMann is discovered dead in his bed, and there's only one possible suspect. His wife, Beth, Lady Beth Mac to her enemies. Beth turns to defence attorney Boyce 'Shameless' Baylor to represent her.
★★★

Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities

By Alexandra Robbins

★★★

Description

Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller-with over 91,000 copies in print-that takes you behind closed doors to see what really goes on in America's sororities. Ever wonder what sorority life is really like In Pledged, bestselling author Alexandra Robbins goes undercover to expose the dark side of collegiate sisterhood-the psychological abuse, hazing rituals, and widespread body image disorders-while at the same time introducing us to many of the intelligent, successful women within its ranks. The result is a compelling sociological exploration of the powerful influence that these organizations wield over young women today. With its fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged paints a sharp-eyed portrait of the intriguing and paradoxical world of modern-day sororities.
★★

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

By J.K. Rowling

★★

Description

Harry Potter #2 Throughout the summer holidays after his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter has been receiving sinister warnings from a house-elf called Dobby. Now, back at school to start his second year, Harry hears unintelligible whispers echoing through the corridors. Before long the attacks begin: students are found as if turned to stone. Dobby’s predictions seem to be coming true. [Source][1] [1]: https://www.jkrowling.com/book/harry-potter-chamber-secrets/
★★★

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

By J.K. Rowling

★★★
★★

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls

By Zoey Dean

★★

Description

Recent Yale graduate Megan Smith comes to Manhattan with big plans for a career in journalism and even bigger student loan debt: $75,000. When she flails at her trashy tabloid job, she's given an escape hatch: tutor seventeen-year-old identical twins Rose and Sage Baker--yes, the infamous Baker heiresses of Palm Beach, Florida, best known for their massive fortunes and their penchant for drunkenly flashing the paparazzi -- and get their SAT scores up enough to get into Duke. Impossible job -- yes. But if she succeeds, her student debts are history. Unfortunately for Megan, the Baker twins aren't about to curtail their busy social schedules for basic algebra. And they certainly aren't thrilled to have to sit down for a study session with dowdy Megan. Megan quickly discovers that if she's going to get her money, she'll have to learn her Pucci from her Prada. And if she can look the part, maybe, just maybe, she can teach the girls something along the way
★★

I Drink for a Reason

By David Cross

★★

Description

A volume of edgy essays and stories includes the author's observations on the ridiculous aspects of life and his occasionally trumped-up memories of offbeat experiences.
★★★★

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)

By J.K. Rowling

★★★★

Description

Harry Potter #7 Harry Potter is leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind. The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding. To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them. He will have to face his enemy in one final battle. ([source][1]) ---------- See also: - [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 2/2][2] [1]: https://www.jkrowling.com/book/harry-potter-deathly-hallows/ [2]: https://openlibrary.org/works/OL17922343W/Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Chapters_20-36
★★★★

The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

By Tom Farley Jr.

★★★★

Description

A portrait based on personal stories by friends and family members traces the late comedian's passionate dedication to bringing laughter into the lives of others, his successes on SNL and in numerous top films, and the incapacity for moderation that led to his fatal battle with drugs and alcohol.
★★★

Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi

By Bob Woodward

★★★

Description

Here is the story of the outrageous talent and the fatal addictions of brilliant comedian, actor and star John Belushi. Told by Bob Woodward, the author of Veil, Wired was an acclaimed hardcover, and its mass market debut ties in to the upcoming movie release!
★★★★

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

By Neal Gabler

★★★★

Description

The definitive portrait of one of the most important cultural figures in American history. Walt Disney was a true visionary whose desire for escape, iron determination and obsessive perfectionism transformed animation from a novelty to an art form, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films--most notably Snow White, Fantasia, and Bambi. In his superb biography, Neal Gabler shows us how, over the course of two decades, Disney revolutionized the entertainment industry. In a way that was unprecedented and later widely imitated, he built a synergistic empire that combined film, television, theme parks, music, book publishing, and merchandise. Walt Disney is a revelation of both the work and the man--of both the remarkable accomplishment and the hidden life.From the Trade Paperback edition.
★★★

American Nerd: The Story of My People

By Benjamin Nugent

★★★

Description

An engaging study of the nerd in American popular culture and throughout history discussed in such contexts as the rise of online gaming, the science fiction club, ethnicity, Asperger's syndrome, autism, and high school and college debating.
★★★

And Another Thing...(Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #6)

By Eoin Colfer

★★★

Description

And Another Thing ... will be the sixth novel in the now improbably named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. Eight years after the death of its creator, Douglas Adams, the author's widow, Jane Belson, has given her approval for the project to be continued by the international number one bestselling children's writer, Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl novels. Douglas Adams himself once said, 'I suspect at some point in the future I will write a sixth Hitchhiker book. Five seems to be a wrong kind of number, six is a better kind of number.' Belson said of Eoin Colfer, 'I love his books and could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin to pastures new.' Colfer, a fan of Hitchhiker since his schooldays, said, 'Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world.' Prepare to be amazed...
★★

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded

By John Scalzi

★★

Description

On September 13, 1998, John Scalzi sat down in front of his computer to write the first entry in his blog Whatever--and changed the history of the Internet as we know it today. What, you're not swallowing that one? Okay, fine: He started writing Whatever and amused about 15 people that first day. If that many. But he kept at it, for ten years and running. Now 40,000 people drop by on a daily basis to see what he's got to say. About what? Well, about whatever: Politics, writing, family, war, popular culture and cats (especially with bacon on them). Sometimes he's funny. Sometimes he's serious (mostly he's sarcastic). Sometimes people agree with him. Sometimes they send him hate mail, which he grades on originality and sends back. Along the way, Scalzi's become a best-selling, award-winning author, a father, and a geek celebrity. But no matter what, there's always another Whatever post to amuse and/or enrage his readers. Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded collects some of the best and most popular Whatever entries from the first ten years of the blog – a decade of Whatever, presented in delightfully random form, just as it should be. * Winner of the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book * Introduction by Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton