Books

Ham on Rye – Bukowski

I’ve been trying to finish Bukowski’s Ham on Rye for a number of months. It’s not a long book, it’s not even a bad book, but I’d put it down for anything. I read pamphlets dropped off at the door sooner than crack the next chapter.

It’s the story of a miserable person named Henry, who is treated miserably all his life. After an endless number of awful things happen to him, in front of him, and to the people he cares for, all the good that’s in him dies. His innocence, his desire for good things to happen to good people, his hope to be able to protect the weak –  everything is slowly beaten and bled from him. He becomes a physical manifestation of all the ugliness, the evil and the violence and abandons his last friend before going off to get drunk alone.

Damn it, I’m depressed.

Happy Birthday you Ol’ Rogue

Happy Birthday to one of the most ridiculous and ridiculously talented writers of the 20th century, Hunter S. Thompson.

Fact: Hunter S. Thompson and I both have tickle trunks

Fact: His was filled with drugs, but mine with costumes (aka. the Mr. Dress Up variety)

Fact: You cannot read Hunter S. Thompson quietly for more than 5 minutes. His words are meant to be shared. My husband hates when I read him because I keep nudging him awake with the promise of: “Just one more – it’s so good. You have to hear this.” I guess that’s what Shortlist.com had in mind when they pulled together together this list of the 25 Greatest Pieces of Wisdom from Hunter S. Thompson

“It never got weird enough for me” either love. We miss you.

 

 

More Geekdom, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens

I can’t stop!

While on the final pages of American Gods I began praising American Gods to my friends and fellow book lovers I was informed that Neil Gaiman once collaborated on a book called Good Omens with an author I adore, Terry Pratchett (The Death Trilogy is just too good!). 

Book lovers – tell me your breath doesn’t catch in your throat when you realize there is a beautiful gap in your library left to explore?

Just before heading out of town for the weekend, I picked up a copy and cracked open it’s spine as we left the city (post the obligatory stop for fuel and Tim Hortons of course). For four days I made sure I was the first one awake so I could enjoy a few hours solitude sitting by lake, iced coffee in hand and bead head blowing in the breeze to read as much as I could. As the much beloveds snored softly in the cabin, I read about the end (ish) of the world. 

Good Omens is an achingly funny read exploring the end of days. When the antichrist is born, Hell has plans to place him in a home of prestige and command – however, thanks to an incompetent, chatty satanist nun things don’t go quite to plan. During the 11 years that pass, the child grows to power and finally decides the fate of the world. It’s a fate he is supposed to choose alone – despite the attempted interventions of a well intentioned demon, a questioning angel, a witch that knows the future, a league of witch hunters (well two), the voice of God and the Dukes of Hell.

Gaiman once more delivers characters so personable you want to take them by the hand – and it pairs beautifully with Pratchett’s over the top humour. If I could plan a dream dinner party I’d invite the two writers. Sorry, but you’re not invited. 

On Geekdom, Neil Gaiman and American Gods

I recently took a quiz that tested just how big of a nerd I was. After testing my knowledge of all things Star Trek, Harry Potter, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Doctor Who and more, two shortcomings were found that blocked my ascendance into the upper echelon of geekdom: Dungeons and Dragons, and Neil Gaiman.

On the Dungeons and Dragons side…I don’t even know anyone who plays it, let alone know how to find the time to do so. And frankly – it’s just not me. I prefer to keep my ridiculous imagination to myself and not compete with others with it. 

The there is a Neil Gaiman. A British author whose every co-written script for Doctor Who brought a toothy grin to my face. Books, fantasy, and British humour? This is something I can get on board with.

So i go to the bookstore and pick up the first Neil Gaiman book I see. Being a bookstore and a fan of alphabetization, this ends up being Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and by page 17 I had fallen in love.

SPOILER ALERT. (just a little bit though)

In the story the protagonist Shadow is about to be released from prison when he is informed that both his wife and his best friend / would be employer have died in a car crash. He is released to twist in the wind when he meets a bizarre man named Wednesday. After three pints of mead, the pact is sealed. Shadow will work for Wednesday though it will take him through life and death as the gods of all time, whoever once worshipped battle for the admiration of humanity.

But it’s not just deities of yore – anything ever worshipped plays the game. From the internet, to the media, everything we’ve ever idolized. The book was published in 2001 and I can’t help but wonder what else would have made it into those pages if written today…I’m praying Gaiman would have the good taste to keep the Kardashians out of ink.

Then there is Shadow. Oh you swoon-worthy thing you makes my geekish heart skip a beat. Tall, dark, strong, handsome, loving, kind and loyal Shadow… 

It’s a must read. In the top ten fantasy books I’ve ever read.