New pics, more books

Sheryl and Jim have both requested blogging, pictures, etc. — some signs of life. So here goes. New pics, just some general stuff from the past few months since we moved into the city, are here. And I’ve managed to complete a few books lately, so here are the recaps:

The Sex Lives of Cannibals, J. Maarten Troost. It’s really not at all as exciting as the title makes it sound. It’s basically this guy Troost rambling about his year spent on some tiny island-nation in the South Pacific. He was a writer bumming around before he went, so he just decided to write about life there, without putting too much effort into it, slap a risque title on it and make some dough. However, it’s an enjoyable read and I like his brand of humor. Getting Stoned with Savages is a follow-up, which I imagine is much the same.

The Plan of Chicago, Carl Smith. Not being from here originally, I have very little sense of the history of the city, not to mention having no idea why parks and streets are named after people I’ve never heard of. This book was a good start, as it discussed the World’s Fair and the Plan of Chicago, mainly focusing on Daniel Burnham. Concurrently with that, I read…

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson. Really interesting to read, especially living in this city. It’s about a serial killer that set up shop in Chicago during the World’s Fair and the story of how many people disappeared before the police and those around him even started to put it together.

Evasion, anonymous (originally a zine, then published by the CrimethInc. group, but for some reason available from, which is where I bought it). Fun reading, challenges our lifestyle in general but especially our low regard for trash. Also promotes shoplifting, homelessness, veganism, squatting, music that is way beyond my mainstream knowledge and hopping freight trains.

Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs. If my childhood was that f_ed up, I’d write a book too.

The Secret History, Donna Tartt. Engaging. It’s been a while since I read a book that was this engrossing without its main subject being a detective, a spy or Jack Ryan. It’s really, really good. It started off with some tedious parts about ancient Greece, and I was afraid it was turning into another Motorcycle Maintenance, its storyline subjected to heavy doses of philosophy. However, those parts passed quickly, and they were actually integral to the story.

Some books that I’m in the middle of or just added to the pile:
Annapurna, Maurice Herzog
Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, Clinton Heylin
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings. Thomas Paine
The Freedom Writers Diary, a bunch of students of Erin Gruwell
Getting Stones With Savages, J. Maarten Troost
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
No Surrender: Writings from an anti-imperialist political prisoner, David Gilbert
Revolution for the Hell of It, Abbie Hoffman
Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf, Oliver Sacks
Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving

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