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Things I've Learned From Girls Who've Dumped Me
Edited by Ben Karlin

Rating; 4 / 5

Music choice: A Knight's Tale soundtrack, Les Choristes soundtrack


This is a collection of anecdotes from men about the various women who have dumped them and the lessons they've learned from that. Some are bitter, some are humorous, and some are downright sappy, but it's a fairly good mix of the three.

Unfortunately, toward the end they started to get a little tiresome and repetitive—this is one of the instances that I don't know whether it was because I read the entire book in one sitting and was just getting tired of the book itself or if it was because the stories just weren't as interesting. I'm leaning toward the latter, particularly since a friend of mine has been toting the book around for the past couple weeks and his recommendations had been out of the first half.

The two "introductions" [rather, the forward and the introduction] were great. There were a couple outstanding stories ["Persistence Doesn't Pay" is the first that comes to mind], and all of them were well-written and for the most part, quite funny. Reading it was a bit like reading Tucker Max, but with less general debauchery and a little more decency.


Survivor
Chuck Palahniuk

Rating: 5 / 5

Music choice: Muse, Queen, Buddha-Bar CDs


This book would be an interesting study in writing style. Though each of Palahniuk's books that I've read has been completely bizarre in its own way, none of them used certain writing techniques so explicitly. The opening line of the book becomes the litany and is repeated throughout; housecleaning advice is given for no apparent reason [at least at first] and then it's revealed that he is more than a little obsessive about cleanliness and table manners. Playing with language and sound is evident, and breaking general rules of punctuation are also toyed with; understandable due to its nature as a sort of transcribed oral story.

In short, the narrator has hijacked a plane and is on his way to crashing into Australia. On the way, he dropped off the passengers and the pilot safely, then he started dictating his life story into the black box until all four engines flamed out. He was a member of a death cult and spoke to a social worker frequently because she wanted to study the suicidal tendencies in this particular cult and see if there were any rhyme or reason to it. It turns out that the narrator's older brother [older, that is, by about three and a half minutes] had gone on a semi-murderous rampage and killed the remaining members of the cult and eventually the social worker in an effort to get to the narrator.

One other thing of note is that the book's pages and chapters are numbered backward—the pagecount starts at 289 and counts down, for instance. All in all, it was an interesting book. I have to say, though, my favorite Palahniuk book thus far continues to be Choke.

Next up: Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Comments

( 1 quote — Something to write about )
cal_boudicca
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
Hi! This is Tad Williams. Please excuse the interruption to your regularly scheduled bloggery. People here have mentioned my work, or love fantasy and science fiction, so I just wanted to pop in and say that anyone interested in reading a chapter from my new book, SHADOWRISE, should drop an email to:

deborah.shazam@batnet.com

and we'll send one to you. We won't do anything rotten with your email address, either, we promise.

Thanks – Tad

( 1 quote — Something to write about )