The BookLife (WIP)

October 17, 2008

 

We are stories.

Not just the ones we tell during a job interview, or at the Lucky 13 Saloon, or in some semi-anonymous blog. That’s how we piece together our identities for others.  For ourselves, however, there is a greater “story self.”  We are more than the stories we tell; we are also the stories we hear.

Ideas and Ideals have different meanings to us at different times in our lives.  Educator, child psychiatrist,  and author-noted early in this list, Robert Coles believes that through teaching fiction, he has observed in himself and in his students how the amorphously flowing standards of life can be plotted through stories we recall.  In his book “The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination” readers recount how certain books have acted like bolts of lightning for the development of their` world view.  The books are external validations of what we hoped -and feared-  to be true.  Stories solidify our “preconceived notions of what matters, what doesn’t matter, what should be stressed, what should be overlooked…”

More so, Dr. Coles believes stories are the very vehicles of our moral development.  For better or worse, the development of your spritual self and your moral self can be traced through your story self.

For me, it’s a little simpler.

This is diary.

This is a list of all the books I read from cover-to-cover since 1989. I have kept this list in many forms. From hand scribbled notes in college notebooks, to this internet published collection of hyperlinks.

Buddies, classes, ex-girlfriends, vacations – many seem random and detached in the decades escaped; but occasionally, they come back to the calendar.   Given the perspective of something they influenced me to read at a certain time, for a certain reason, from the book, I remember them.

I remember me.


The format is not perfect, but very few modifications were needed over the years. The bare bones information of title and author kept it from being a chore.  The real chronology (instead of reverse) is much like walking forward on a path, the act of getting older or just reading a book from cover-to-cover. 

So, without further ado – the Booklife: part 1

 
 

     

 

Chapter One: 1989

 

 

Interview with a Vampire ……….Anne Rice

The Vampire Lestat………………Anne Rice

The Queen of the Damned ……… Anne Rice

The Mummy………………………Anne Rice

The Books of Blood1…………….Clive Barker

The Books of Blood2……………..Clive Barker

The Books of Blood3……………..Clive Barker

The Damnation Game …………….Clive Barker

Red Dragon ……………………….Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs……….…Thomas Harris

Democracy ………………………..Joan Didion

Play It as It Lays …………………..Joan Didion

Mother Night ………………….Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Lancelot……………………………Walker Percy

Fade………………………………..Paul Cormier

The Catcher in the Rye………………J.D. Salinger

A Confederacy of Dunces……John Kennedy Toole

 

 

Chapter Two: 1990

 
 

Wild Cards1………(edited by) George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards2………(edited by) George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards3………(edited by) George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards4………(edited by) George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards5…… (edited by) George R. R. Martin

Wild Cards6…… (edited by) George R. R. Martin

Different Seasons…………….Stephen King

Miseryt ………………………Stephen King

The Stand…………………….Stephen King

Rules of Prey ………………..John Sanderford

Shadow Dancers………………Ron Lieberman

If a Traveler on a Winter’s Night..Italo Calvino

The Descent of Man ……….T. Coraghassan Boyle

 

 

 

Chapter Three: 1991

 
 

The World According to Garp ….John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany………John Irving

The Inhuman Condition …………Clive Barker

Weaveworld……….……….…….Clive Barker

Family Literacy……….…………..Denny Taylor

Learning Denied………….……….Denny Taylor

In the Middle……….……….…..…Nancy Atwell

The Call of Stories……….………..Robert Coles

S/Z……….……….……….………..Roland Barthes

Ulysses……….……….……….….James Joyce

The Name of the Rose……….…….Umberto Eco

Travels……….……….….…….….Michael Crighton

The Little Prince………Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Illustrated Man….……………Ray Bradbury

Deathbird Stories ……….………..Harlan Ellison

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…Douglas Adams

The War of the Worlds……….……H.G. Wells

 

 

Chapter Four: 1992

 
 

A Brief History of Time………..Stephen Hawkins

The Time Machine……….……..H.G. Wells

Focault’s Pendulum……………..Umberto Eco

At The Mountains of Madness…H.P. Lovecraft

The Handmaiden’s Tale …………Margret Atwood

The Call of the Wild ……….…….Jack London

Wild Mind……….……….……….Natalie Goldberg

Spider……….……….……….……Patrick McGrath

Animal Farm……….……….……..George Orwell

Paingod……….……….……….…..Harlan Ellison

The Nine Billion Names of God……Arthur C. Clarke

Inferno……….….Larry Pournelle & David Niven

Slaughterhouse 5 ……….……….….Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The Legend of Sleepy Hallow ……..Washington Irving

Steps ……….……….……….………Jerzy Kosinski

 

 

Chapter Five: 1993

 

No Exit & 3 Other Plays…………Jean Paul Sartre’

Death of a Salesman……….…….Arthur Miller

The Grotesque……….……….…..Patrick McGrath

Blood and Water and Other Tales…Patrick McGrath

The Cipher……….……….………..Kathe Koja

Shatterday……….……….…………Harlan Ellison

Writing Down the Bones……….….Natalie Goldberg

Rising Sun……….……….…………Michael Crighton

The Tao of Pooh……….……………Benjamin Hollf

Cider House Rules……….………….John Irving

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe………….Carson McCullers

Sexpunks……….……….……….…..Richard Suhtpen

The Painted Bird……….……….…….Jerzy Kosinski

 

 

Chapter Six: 1994

 
 

The Beast That Shouted Love at the

Heart of the World………………………Harlan Ellison

Alone Against Tomorrow……….………Harlan Ellison

Language in Society……….…………….Suzanne Romaine

Voices of the Mind……….……….…….James V. Wertsch

Speech Genres & Other Late Essays……M.M. Bahktin

Basic Principles of Curriculum Instruction…Ralph Tyler

The Mists of Avalon……….….Barbara Zimmerman

 

 

Chapter Seven: 1995

 

The Essential Ellison……….……………Harlan Ellison

Strange Wine……….……….……………Harlan Ellison

The Lord of the Flies……….……………Michael Goldings

The Story of the Eye……….……………George Bataille

Frank’s World…………………………….George Mangels

Crash ……………………………………..J.G. Ballard

The Tattooed Map………………Barbara Hodgeson

The Waltz Invention……………….…….Vladimir Nabokov

The Trail…………………………………Franz Kafka

Introducing Kafka …………………

…………………..David Zane Mairowitz & Robert Crumb

White Noise………………………………Don Dellilo

The Alienist ………………………………Caleb Carr

Our Town………………………………..Thornton Wilder

 

 

Chapter Eight: 1996

 

The Man Who Folded Himself …..David Gerrold

The Lathe of Heaven …Ursala K. Leguin                         

The Most Beautiful Girl in Town…Charles Bukowski

Oleanna…………………………….David Mamet

Angry Candy……………………….Harlan Ellison

Ellison Wonderland…………………Harlan Ellison

The Virgin Suicides…………………Jeffrey Euginedes

 

 

Chapter Nine: 1997

 

Edgeworks: Volume One……………Harlan Ellison

Memoirs of a Bookie’s Son…………Sydney Offit

The Prince……………………………Nikkolo Machiavelli

Extinction……………………………Thomas Bernhard

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas……Hunter S. Thompson

Thank You for Smoking……………Christopher Buckley

Imagined Worlds……………………Freeman Dyson

 

 

Chapter Ten: 1998

 

Ambient………………………..Jack Womack

Rain…………………………….Kirsty Gunn

Slippage…………………….…Harlan Ellison

An Underachiever’s Diary……..Benjamin Anastas

Go Now…………………………Richard Hell

My Idea of Fun………………….Will Self

The Quantity Theory of Insanity..Will Self

The Country of Last Things……..Paul Auster

American Psycho …………Bret Easton Ellis

Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary……Lydia Lunch

Beloved……………………………Toni Morrison

Kundalini: The Arousal of Inner Energy

……………………………Ajit Mookerjee

Low Life………………………Luc Sante

 

 

Chapter Eleven: 1999

 

Geek Love …………………Katherine Dunn

The Perfect Storm…………Sebastian Junger

Great Jones Street………….Don Delillo

Things Fall Apart………….Anache Chiobe

Neuromancer……………….William Gibson

From the Land of Fear…….Harlan Ellison

Stories……………………T. Coraghessen Boyle

Giuliani: Nasty Man…………Edward I. Koch

Fetish Blonde………………..John Gilmore

Illusions……………………..Richard Bach

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

………………………………H.P. Lovecraft

Ethics for the New Millennium

……………………Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama

 

 

Chapter Twelve: 2000

 
 

Opium: Portrait of a Heavenly Demon

…………………………….Barbara Hodgeson

What Matters Most is How You Walk

Through Fire………………Charles Bukowski

Angela’s Ashes…………..Frank McCourt

Fight Club………………..Chuck Palahniuk

Survivor………….……….Chuck Palahniuk

Invisible Monsters………..Chuck Palahniuk

The Professor and the Madman..Simon Winchester

Stalking the Nightmare….Harlan Ellison

High Fidelity…………..….Nick Hornby

Hyperion………………….Dan Simmons

Amsterdam: A Brief History of the City

……………………………Mak Geert

Waiting for Godot………Samuel Beckett

 

 

Chapter Thirteen: 2001

 

The Stranger ………..….Albert Camus

The Prophet…………….Kahil Gibran

The Fuck-Up……………Arthur Nersesian

The Fall of Hyperion……Dan Simmons

Dancing After Hours…….Andre Dubus

Bears Discover Fire……..Terry Bisson

Skinny Legs and All……..Tom Robbins

The Amazing Adventures of

Kavalier and Clay………..Micheal Chabron

Pulp………………………Charles Bukowski

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and

Fundamentalism…………Ahmed Rashid

The Invisible Man………..H.G. Wells

E Tu’, Babe? ……………..Mark Leyner

The Image of the Beast ……Philip Jose’ Farmer

 

 

Chapter Fourteen: 2002

 

Blown……………………….…Philip Jose Farmer

Tantric Awakening……………Valerie Brooks

The Universe in a Nutshell..…Stephen Hawkins

One More For the Road………Ray Bradbury

Choke…………………………Chuck Palahniuk

The Unnatural………………..David Prill

Second Coming Attractions….David Prill

No Windows, No Doors …….Harlan Ellison

After the World Trade Center: Rethinking

New York..(edited by) Michael Sorkin & Sharon Zukin

The Good Soldier ……………Ford Madox Ford

The Snows of Kilimanjaro……Earnest Hemingway

Ender’s Game…………………Orson Scott Card

 

 

Chapter Fifteen: 2003

 

The Quiet American…………Graham Green

The Names…………………..Don Delillo

Werewolves in Their Youth..Michael Chabon

Cat’s Cradle…………………Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Breakfast of Champions…….Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Sirens of Titan……………….Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Deadeye Dick………………..,Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Still Life with Woodpecker….Tom Robbins

Maus (I & II) ………………..Art Spiegleman

The Old Man and the Sea…..Earnest Hemmingway

The Sun Also Rises………….Earnest Hemmingway

The Picture Of Dorian Gray…Oscar Wilde

 

 

Chapter Sixteen: 2004

 

Dorian……………………………..Will Self

The Sweet Smell of Psychosis …..Will Self

Everything’s Eventual……………Stephen King

The Jaguar Hunter………………..Lucius Shepard

Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned…..Kinky Friedman

Lullaby……………………………Chuck Palahniuk

Moth Smoke……………………..Moshin Hamid

Kidwatching: Documenting Children’s Literacy

Development….Gretchen Owocki & Yetta Goodman

Miscue Analysis Made Easy………Sandra Wilde

The Doom that Came to Sarnath…H.P. Lovecraft

 

 

Chapter Seventeen: 2005

 

Rod Serling:  The Dreams and Nightmares

of a the Life in the Twilight Zone…Joel Engel

The Rum Diaries………….Hunter S. Thompson

To Have and Have Not….Earnest Hemingway

The DaVinci Code………………Dan Brown

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

………………………..Jonathan Safan Foer

Haunted……………………Chuck Palahniuk

Beggars in Spain…………..Nancy Kress

The Plague…………………Albert Camus

SpiderTown………..Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

Monster………….…Walter Dean Myers

Flowers for Algernon…..….Daniel Keyes

The Collector……………….John Fowles

Killing Time ………………Caleb Carr

 

 

Chapter Eighteen: 2006

 

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon..Spider Robinson

Rich Dad, Poor Dad…………..Robert Kiyosaki

You Remind Me of Me………..Dan Chaon

Dangerous Visions .(edited by) Harlan Ellison

Velocity…………………………Dean Koontz

Twilight of the Super-Heroes…Deborah Eisenberg

The Insult………………………Rupert Thomson

The Curious Incident of the Dog In the

Night Time….…………….……Mark Haddon

Magic for Beginners……………Kelly Link

 

 

Chapter Nineteen: 2007

 

The Hero with a Thousand Faces………..

…………………………..…..Joseph Campbell

Understanding Comics, The Invisible Art…

…………………………….….Scott McCLoud

Children of Men………………PD James

Perfume:  The Story of a Murderer………

………………………………..Patrick Suskind

One thousand and One Nights.Lara Tupper

The Wind Up Bird Chronicles..Hirachi Marakami

In the Miso Soup……………..Ryu Marakami

The Night of Power………..…Spider Robinson

Pattern Recognition …..…..….William Gibson

Night…………………………..Eli Wiesel

Men and Cartoons……………John Letham

Edgeworks III…………………Harlan Ellison

The Kite Runner………………Khaled Hosseini

The Complete Short Stories: Volume I……..

………………………………….Isaac Asimov

 
 

 

 
 

Chapter 19 : 2008 (sub-wip)

 

(The Complete) Persepolis……Marjane Satrapie

Fun Home……………………..Allison Bechdel

The Road………………………Courmac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men………Courmac McCarthy

The Last Picture Show…………Larry McMurty

Reinventing Comics……………Scott McCloud

Ham on Rye…………………….Charles Bukowski

The Terror……………………….Dan Simmons

Cycler…………………………….Lauren McLaughlin

 
 

 
 

 

Start to Resist –

August 31, 2008

Even on a sunny afternoon, Downtown Brooklyn holds the promise of shadows. Stately, municipal buildings and old bodegas mix together on the surface to let you there’s constant alchemy stirring in this neighborhood. At any time, something darkly enchanting could be ready to bubble.

Enter: NYC Resistor

A large loft on Bridge Street resembling a steampunk Leonardo’s workshop is where this hacker group meets regularly “to share knowledge, hack on projects together, and build community.” They started giving classes less than four months ago so joining a workshop, as you sit at an extended table/workspace and unpack your laptop like everybody else there, the feeling comes on that you just signed up with Morpheus and Trinity (before the crappy sequels.)

The class I attended was Arduino Programming 102: If Funky, Get Loopy.

Arduino is both software and hardware. The former is the most basic of programming languages, very suitable for us who never got beyond if/then/else. The palm-sized latter is a reminder of the mid-seventies AM radios we use to crack open by the end of summer to use the inside electronics as ninja throwing stars.

The board attaches to the unbelievably cool named “danger shield” of buzzers, lights and sliders. Once connected through two rows of pins, the equipment plugs into a laptop USB. Through manual manipulation and basic code writing, we made our shields produce repeating loops of Doppler noises and flashing lights.

Is it fun? Hell, yes –

Is it worth the $30? Hell, yes –

Is there a down side? Of course there is …

Our leader, Zach Smith was a really personable, supportive and knowledgeable teacher who even gave me his own macbook to use after an unresolvable uploading problem on my own computer. Despite all these great qualities, the method of instruction could benefit with a few improvements.

First, dry erase markers & whiteboard is not the way to go when there is a ceiling mounted projector ready to be used. A ‘live’ computer to actually model the codewriting would be better than flawed penmanship that was written and erased way too quickly. Second, a single page of handouts – with the symbols of definitions for variable types, flow control /syntax, comparison and functions was helpful, but certainly not complete for the day’s study or home extension. Lastly, a single instructor talking more or less for two hours is, to me, problematic. Fortunately, I went there were some programmers extraordinaire who could lean over and spot check my error messages, but without an assistant to ‘work the room,’ I missed an endeavor or two just to catch up.

But don’t let that critique turn you away-

Writing a few lines of simple code makes modern magic. Blinking bulbs and funny noises are a worthy conjuring for the electronic prestidigitators of NYC Resistor, you and that smart friend you know is cool.

For more details, check out the homepage