Books read recently by J. Zimmerman. [Inspired in part by's book blog.]

Reader's Bill of Rights - after Daniel Pennac in Better than Life as quoted in the November 2003 Utne Magazine - includes the rights to:

{ June (junio (see also books on Spanish)) 2006 }


(6.27.2006) (6.23.2006) (6.20.2006) (6.17.2006) (6.16.2006) (6.15.2006) (6.14.2006) (6.13.2006) (6.12.2006) (6.11.2006) (6.10.2006) (6.8.2006) (6.7.2006) (6.6.2006)
Buy 'Big Cats' * Enthralling * Big Cats (2005) stories by Holiday Reinhorn.

First-person stories of young or middle-aged adults; a few of (female) children. The narrator sounds like a person assuming you know them and the situation. Often the stories:

  • Have a secret or a suicide or madness or betrayal or conflict (or several of these).
  • Tell of cause and effect, with the effect given first and the cause only revealed later.
  • Have knowledge of a particular kind of work, often manual.
Attention-grabbing quotations, particularly in opening lines:
  • "The day Mrs. Linkabaugh moved in next door, I cracked my pubic bone in two places."
  • "There was an earthquake at the bank this morning, totally minor, maybe a three."
  • "This summer Polly says to me in her soft, scratchy-gravel voice, 'I'm making it with a fork-lifter.'"
  • "Their story begins in 1963, in the parking lot of a small plaster-board motel."
  • "On the morning two commercial airliners crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in NYC, my father oversleeps his alarm in Memphis, Tennessee."
  • "Whenever my mother is drunk and in the company of men, she likes to get going on old dental-school stories about Daddy."
  • "If you're wondering what I'm doing in Junie Greenough's covered pickup on the shoulder of a public highway, with a cooler full of Viennese horse sperm locked in the back, well, that would be today's very good question."
(6.5.2006) (6.2.2006)

{ May (mayo (see also books on Spanish)) 2006 }


(5.30.2006) (5.29.2006) (5.27.2006) (5.24.2006)
Buy 'Lullaby'

Listened to Lullaby (2002) by Chuck Palahniuk, read by Richard Poe, who is one of the best readers of fiction, such as East of Eden and several books by Delillo.

Interesting though creepy book on the power to kill. One of the few books I've read where I began to feel grossed out, until a scene tipped into full-on absurdist mode.

The core question that the book asks is: what would you do if you discovered an ancient 'culling' lullaby poem that, after being incanted to someone that you want to die, causes that person to die painlessly and without a mark -- SIDS for everyone, as it were. It seems that anyone can behave like a criminal.

The story jumps between the narrated past and the flash-back past and the 'now' of the narrator and his sweetie (he hopes) on a literal witch hunt. It mostly works except before I get into stride: the pre-chapter and first chapter nearly put me off the book, because they seemed so superficial. Going back to them afterward, however, it became clear how well (though superficially and teasingly) they anticipated the eventual plot.

Interesting subplot on anti-advertising. In the end I have as much sympathy with the witches on the run as with the witch hunters.

One of the best books read in 2006. (5.20.2006)

(5.19.2006) (5.16.2006)
Buy 'The Body in Question: Exploring the Cutting Edge of Forensic Science'
(5.15.2006) (5.13.2006) (5.10.2006) (5.07.2006)

Drove to Yosemite, listening to a taped abridgment of:


{ April (abril (see also books on Spanish)) 2006 }


(4.25.2006) (4.23.2006) (4.22.2006) (4.15.2006) (4.14.2006) (4.12.2006) (4.10.2006) (4.8.2006) (4.7.2006) (4.6.2006) (4.5.2006) (4.4.2006)
Buy 'Gilgamesh'
(4.3.2006) (4.2.2006) (4.1.2006)