Check out my other blogs: Life, etc. and Chrisfit

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hide and Seek

I didn't know how to start this post. I'm not really sure anyone is still even reading this so fuck it. When I've hurt my last true friend then what is there left for me? God, I fucked up so badly. I fucked up so so horribly. And there's no one else to blame this time for my mistakes. There's no ex-girlfriend, there's no school or awful home to blame. This was all me. This was my own stupidity and my own weakness and I must take all the blame for it. And I must make this right.

No apology I make can be enough and no forgiveness can be given that will make up for this egregious breach of trust. I've said I'm sorry and you know it's true. I'll keep saying it, but it means nothing right now. All I can do is step away. I must fix this in myself. I must turn inward once again. And so I will not be writing on this blog for awhile. I'll no longer be responding to texts or calls to my phone. If this is what I do to my last true friend then I cannot have friends right now.

I will seek guidance and I will do my penance. And hopefully one day you'll understand how sorry I am that I am who I am.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

This weekend my mother and sister went to California to finalize wedding plans, leaving me with the house all to my self. Naturally I celebrated this kind of freedom in the most reckless way I could think of. In the 48 hours encompassing friday and saturday I drank close to two liters of rum. Unfortunately in doing so I managed to ruin an area rug and a trash can. Don't ask how I ruined a trash can, but I did.

Last month a good friend of mine encouraged me to make a list of things that make me happy. I've been working on it off and on for about three or four weeks now and today I finally came up with my goal of ten things. Yes, it took me a month to come up with ten things that make me happy. It's not easy for some of us. At any rate, without further ado, my list (in no particular order):

1) Rosie (my guitar)
2) rainstorms on a hot day
3) silent, empty buildings
4) exploring
5) lying in bed on a cold morning
6) applause
7) big open fields where you can't hear a single car
8) making people proud
9) soft hair
10)when I don't feel afraid

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Group Effort

Hey there folks. It's me, Chris, the blogger. How are you today? Well I hope. I have a fun activity planned for all of us to do together. You remember those stories you used to do with your friends where one person would start and then it would go around the room and each person would add a bit more until you had a full story? Well that's what we're going to do now. Now this is going to require all of you, my readers to comment on this. I will start and then you will go into the comments and write the next part of the story. When someone comments I will go back and add that on to the post itself and then someone else will post a comment and so forth. Write as much or as little as you like, it's all in good fun. So, here we go:

What Fresh Hell Is This? A Story
There is a turtle who works as a waiter at my favorite restaurant. Whenever I go there for supper, which is about once a week when I can afford it, I ask to sit in his section. Despite the fact that he is, no doubt, the absolute worst waiter in the world (or perhaps because of that), I find him infinitely charming. Everytime I see him he greets me with a warm smile and a jovial fist bump. I ask him how he's doing and he'll say (without fail) "Less than perfect" and smile his big, turtle teeth at me. Smiling back, I'll say, "Oh no! Why is that?" and he'll begin to tell me one of his absurdly silly stories. Why just the other day, he told me that he had only just that minute returned from a trip to Vietnam. Apparently the President had sent him in as a spy to keep an eye on a clan of Cambodian Pirates. "It all began like any normal day of hunting Cambodian pirates in the Tonkin Gulf," he told me, "I was sitting on a rock out in the middle of the water, sunning myself, when suddenly my cell phone rang and everything went wrong."

Now, it's your turn my faithful readers. What happens next?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The White Steeple in Multiple Mediums

I wrote the following story about two weeks ago while sitting in a starbucks and meditating over my triple grande no-whip mocha. It's origin is the amalgamation between a real event in my life and a dream that I had the night before I wrote this. I made the sketch at the bottom bit by bit as I was writing. Both pieces are titled "The White Steeple"

In the distance is a white steeple. The church to which it belongs is hidden down in the valley, creating the illusion that the steeple is rising out of the ground itself. The sky is covered in blue-gray clouds and it melts into the blurred outline of a chain of mountains. It has stopped raining for the moment but the air remains wet and I know it will be raining again soon. I won’t see the sun for a long, long time. There is nothing to see in the mist; the clouds have come down now to obscure the white steeple. All around me are those blue-gray clouds, fattened with rain unfallen. The grass at my feet is vivid and it sparkles with rain fallen.
I close my eyes and reach out with my mind. I can feel every blade of wet grass. I taste the blue-gray clouds. Down in the valley my namesake is walking across the river. He stumbles and drowns. In the distance, the mountains begin singing their sorrowful song. They weep openly. From somewhere far away I can hear the ocean gasp before shuddering back into life, it reaches out to me in vain but I am unable to touch it.
And suddenly the earth is shaking violently. It starts deep beneath the ocean where the waves leap into the sky, higher than they’ve ever gone before, before crashing back down upon themselves. They are grasping at the clouds. They are trying to pull themselves up and away from the quaking earth beneath them. Now the tremors have reach the mountains; they pull away from the sky, they shake pathetically before collapsing down into dust. The earthquake reaches me now and I can hear every blade of grass screaming out in terror. I try to reassure them, I try to comfort them but I don’t know how. I want to tell them it’s going to be okay but I don’t believe it myself. The quake pulls itself out of the earth, climbs up my leg and stops in the pocket of my jeans.
I strain to open my eyes. My cheeks are wet but I don’t remember crying. It has started raining again. In my pocket my phone is buzzing incessantly. I reach down and pull it out. Without looking I hold it in my hand until it stops vibrating. Only once it has become silent and still do I dare to look down at it. The little red light on its face winks up at me to inform me that I have a new text message. Against my better judgment, I read it: “Hey how are you doing? :)” Even if I didn’t already know, the little smiley face emoticon would have told me it’s her.
In response I decide to call her. Even before she has a chance to pick up I start screaming into the phone’s mouth piece. I scream as many obscenities I can think of and when I run out I just scream a scream. I scream until my throat is burning. I scream until I can no longer possibly scream and I fall to my knees coughing. I begin to rip at the wet dirt with my hands. I dig frantically, violently. I dig until my fingers scrape against stone and begin to bleed. I fall back on my heels and look down at the phone. I see that stupid fucking smiley face and I slam the phone down onto the uncovered rock. I smash it again and again and again and again and again until there is nothing left and then I keep smashing it when it is only my empty hand that I am destroying. My hand, reduced to nothing but a clump of broken bones and bruised skin. Exhausted, I lay back on the wet grass. I feel like I’m ready to die but I finally feel happy. I feel at peace. I feel that I have closure.
Actually I text back “I’m doing fine” and hit the send button.
“Lying is a sin.”
“I don’t believe in sin,” I say. Her laugh is loud and high-pitched, full of self confidence and joy. My phone vibrates again in my pocket. “That’s great! :)” her reply says. I look at that familiar smiley face emoticon and think of how to perfectly word my response. I close my eyes and scream. Down in the valley, the white steeple whispers nothing to the world. In the sky the blue-gray clouds sigh, the mountains sing their familiar song, and on my shoulder the bird is still laughing at me.

The White Steeple

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning

The weather outside is absolutely wonderful. After a long, cold, lonely winter it truly has been a miraculous experience to see the sun once again. Yesterday was the first day I went for a walk around the neighborhood without my shoes on, an experience that marks, for me, the real beginning of spring. Today, I did some cleaning around the house and managed to stumble upon two of my highschool's literary magazines. I'd like to share with you all now my very first published works from many many years ago. Please enjoy this stroll down memory lane with me:

She Said No
by Chris Echesabal (2003)
Why did she go?
Why'd she say no?
The woman I love,
Is the woman I hate.
The world is a scary place,
When an embarrassment,
Becomes a way of life.
I refused to ask,
Out of fear for my heart.
I believed it would work,
But I'm broken apart.
Why do I live when I cringe at your smile?
When once I loved life,
Now the sight of my blood.
Where can I go,
When the girl said no?

Madman's Wonderland
by Chris Echesabal (2004)
Blushing cheeks from windows lit
Admiration in their eyes
Wide wonder blown astray with cold
Flying high on pride
Snowfall, bells in midnight skies
A terror soon they'll know.

In the shadows, silhouettes
Silver gleams in blackened robes
Pain filling violent hearts
A terror soon they'll know.

Nighttime lovers walk alone
Joy and innocence
Never will their children know
The fires deep within
A wildman's hardened soul
Drugged with craze and pain and spite and fear and...
Alone again covered in blood and tears
He cries with all the pain he's felt, the pain he gave
The snow, it melts.

Nighttime lovers walk alone, a crazed man holds his mind.
In the madman's wonderland
A terror soon they'll know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

And Madness Sets In

If life is for the living then am I wasting a life? Or am I living a wasted life, thereby making it not a waste at all? Am I failing to live or living to...wait for it...better myself.

In a sense I open myself up. There is a left winged Hare Krishna dancing upside down beneath an empty sky hole. "Higher! Higher!" he screams. From nowhere we can observe nothing envelop him. When it all closes up again, everything is there. The bull and the spur. The hatchet and the carbon. Seraphim and Ruth. An egg the size and shape of an egg. Only yellow. Like an egg. A face with no features but a thousand expressions and two voices. Two voices in perfect harmony.
Before us now is blue, swirling, everything. Behind me and in the future is a failed attempt at a life. There are points of no return and also a few points of only return. There are a few lines, but mostly they're points. The candied necklace of a beautiful, beautiful thing. What do you call them?
In the music it's like a series of intersecting rings. Sounds dance up and down on the stripped grass. Sadly. Joyously. There is all the difference in the world.
There is an empty plastic cup singing to me, giving me strength. It gives me the strength to fall. To fall down upon my knees; the perfect position. To beg. Mendigar. To pray. Suplicar. To cower and to be sick. And thank you, plastic cup, my secular saint. With your help I can do all this. I can do all things but quit. And when only that is left, what else do I have to do?
Evolsilla. It is that by which I live. I pray it upon my rosary and speak it to the glass. Evolsilla. In all things I cannot deny it. It is only when this no longer means anything to me that it will all be over.
And now I see I've spilled ink all over my hand. How does that even happen? How does that even happen in this day and age?

There are people. They're surrounding me. People all around and they're making so much noise. I can't possibly concentrate here. I can't possibly focus. My mind twists and turns, jumping from one world to another. I am here, I am not, and I am back again. The white noise of these scores of strangers is deafening. All the voices, all the laughter, blend together into one horrible din. The noises swell and crash like waves against rocks, receding back before falling upon me doubly strong. In crowds I know I lose all sense. I become unhinged and the paranoia takes over. My eyes lose focus but they are ever vigilant, always moving. I follow every shift, every shudder with keen attention. Hyper-vigilant and yet completely terrified. Everyone around me is an enemy, an opponent of some kind. I don't know them and yet I know they hate me. They all want to embarass me, to hurt me. I feel their eyes on me. Staring. Judging. Indistinctly, I can hear them, they are speaking about me, I know it. Laughing at me. I miss Her. I want the voices to go away, the stares to cease, all the judging to stop. She makes it stop. She makes it quiet, brings me peace. And when I'm alone...Well, then I'm just alone. What's truly interesting though is how little she actually needed me. She simply needed someone, anyone. As soon as I was gone she replace me with the first person she could find. Oh my love, your biggest problem was you always needed someone. You can never be alone, you need constant affirmation of your worth through romantic relationships with other people. Who did I just describe there? As a matter of fact, you have absolutely terrible taste in men. I am just one example of this. You're so willing to be with someone that you don't care if they understand or appreciate you. You only need them to like you and, considering how infinitely likable you are, there isn't much of a shortage of those men. Your problem is you need someone, anyone. My problem is I need you. I don't deny that I have my baggage. I don't denty that I have a laundry list of stupid little failings and big ugly problems. By no means am I an easy person to get along with, let alone to live with. I just couldn't be that casual college boyfriend you wanted. Fuck, I can't do anything casually. I take every personal relationship as seriously as any other. If I consider you a friend then we have a very special bond and there is almost nothing I would not do for you, my friend. This is why there are so few that I consider friends. This is why I have 18 contacts in my phone. And then again, if I love you...well, then my love is simply overflowing.

A man walks in, he is wearing an ugly sweater and a stupid fleece vest. I look up and catch his eye. I mouth the words "fuck you" to him.
He looks more shocked than angry, "What did you just say to me?" He asks. He's not quite shouting but it's pretty close.
For my part, I look up, startled "I didn't say anything," I answer honestly.
"You mouthed something at me."
Now I'm the one who is shocked. "What? No, I didn't."
"Yes, I'm sure you did. I saw you. You mouthed 'fuck you' to me!" Ok, now he's shouting.
"What are you talking about, man? I don't even know you!"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Another Letter

It has been a long, long week. It has been something like two weeks since anyone has left a comment but whatever, that's not why I do this. Physically, I'm probably in the best shape of my life and while I've still got those ugly purple scars on my forearm, they're all quite old and I'm feeling pretty okay about that. I'm a little behind in my reading but I'm really enjoying this book, Kafka On The Shore, and I'm going to go ahead and recommend it right now. Emotionally, I've been pretty average. Which, for me, is actually considered really, really good. I haven't had any kind of serious breakdown in a long time. I've had some really fucked up dreams the last week or two and I'm a little worried about that, but hey, it could be a lot worse. I still can't find a job, which means I still can't save up any money, which means I can't start looking for my own apartment anytime soon. Also, since my insurance dropped me I'm not sure I can even find the money to keep going to therapy right now unless I can find work. So...hmmmmm. Another letter to my love. Whoever she is.

To the love of my life,

Do you know yet that I love? Do you feel me when my heart reaches out to you? Blindly, I reach out into the world, grasping with numbed fingers, finding nothing but empty air. Do you ever feel me, if only for just an instant? I wonder if my presence is ever known to you, somewhere in the back of your mind. Without form, without shape, merely a feeling. A comforting thought, a tinge of expectant joy. Deep down in your unconsciousness you feel a warmth, a sense of homecoming. You don’t know what makes you feel this way but you find yourself feeling mysteriously happy and you look forward to understanding it. Do you ever feel me in this way? I am reaching out to you though I don’t know who you are. Perhaps you too are reaching out. Perhaps somewhere, sometime our spirits cross and we both feel a spark of knowing. We both feel home. We both feel loved. Do you know yet that I love you? Do you know yet that I will always love you?

With all my love,

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I’m done for the night. I turn off the computer and slide it away from me. After a minute the screen glows a bright blue before flashing off. I am left in complete darkness now. Pushing my chair back, I stand up and in a second I’m lying face down on the carpet. It smells not unpleasantly of dust. I lay motionless here while all around me the world moves. The dark room swirls, spins, tilts, expands, then collapses all around me. Suddenly the roof is gone, the walls, and all my furniture are gone. The stars grin down at me from a pitch black, moonless sky until they too are swept away in the whirlwind that blows around all time and space.
And now I am naked under a glaring, angry sun. Beneath me bubbles thick, black tar stretching out in all directions. The sun inhales deeply and suddenly I am frozen in the hardened pitch. And then, violently, he spits. A wad of ugly, black, boiling tar comes screaming out of the sky, falling directly towards me. And now I am engulfed. I am covered in thick, black ooze. I try to breathe and it pours into my nostrils and mouth, filling my throat and lungs. It flows into my ears, my eyes, permeates my every pore. It is filling my skull. Filling in every nook and cranny in my brain, boiling me alive from the inside out. I cough, wretch once, then a second time and its all pouring out of me.
I’m in my bathroom. The only light comes from a streetlight, casting a sad orange lines across the floor. The linoleum feels cold against my bare knees and the toilet is reassuringly solid in my hands. I wretch again and another wave of tar bursts out of me. Only it’s not tar anymore. It is my dinner; spaghetti. It comes out of me partially liquefied, stained purple with wine. It burns its way out of my gut, up my throat, and then forces its way out of any opening it can find. Flowing freely now from my mouth and nostrils. I cough weakly and another burst of sick falls out of my mouth, splashes loudly into the water. I emit a pathetic sound, some sad noise that is half whimper and half gargle.
When my eyes open again, I’m face down on the cold, white floor. The world has stopped spinning but the room around me has become unrecognizable. I am in a bare white room, no door or window can be seen, no items of any kind around me. The whole room is lit by soft blue glow. But the light, I notice, doesn’t seem to be coming from anywhere. It is coming from everywhere. The whole of the room seems to be emanating its own light from somewhere deep within the walls. It’s that kind of antiseptic bluish-white light that you get in hospitals. I groan, it makes me sick. Collapsing into a corner I shut my eyes tightly and groan again. The silence of the room is suddenly broken by the sound of a bird chirping. Fuck.
“You okay down there?” She asks in that sincere but emotionless way that I’ve come to loathe.
No, I’m not going to answer that. Instead I say, “What the fuck are you doing here?” The vulgarity makes my head spin and I try to hold down my sick.
Above I hear her ruffle her feathers, offended. “How could you even ask that? I’m here for you.” I groan, roll onto my back and look up at her. A little yellow bird, perched on a little outcropping in the wall. She cocks her head to the side and looks at me severely. “I should ask what you’re doing here.” Instead she begins to sing then. Her soft high voice filling the room. And now the music is in my head. I can feel it swaying about from side to side. It passes behind my eyes and flows down into the back of my throat. I exhale softly and for a second I can see the music come out of my mouth as a thin fog.
My eyes open and I’m once again lying on the cold tile floor of my bathroom. The room is dark and quiet and I am alone. I pull myself into a sitting position and lean against the door. “Why did you wake me up?” I ask aloud to no one.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Autumn or The Fall

There is a crunch of dry, old leaves and from somewhere nearby comes the monotonous hum of cars driving by. The trail is a gravel path, I can feel the loose rocks shift beneath my feet. But they’re invisible to me, covered by layer upon layer of colored leaves, all of them at different levels of decomposition. It’s still early in the morning and I am alone here in the forest. No living thing stirs; there is only myself and the gentle falling of dead leaves.
And so it is that I’m the only one around to notice when the world moves. Beneath my feet I feel the whole earth shift ninety degrees to the left. It happens so suddenly and instantaneously that even the leaves on the ground are surprised; it takes a few seconds for them to realize what has happened. It’s another thirty seconds for them to react and only then do they being to fall sideways down the earth. Tumbling, rolling, dancing, they pick up speed as they continue falling into the distance. I am too shocked to move. My feet seem to be cemented to the ground and, although I can feel gravity pulling me down, that is, to my right, I don’t budge an inch. Though leaves and rocks tumble down all around me, I stand there, unmoving, jutting out sideways from the earth like a tree sticking out of a sheer cliff wall.
It has been about five minutes now since the world moved and I’m still just standing here awkwardly in the same spot. I stick out horizontally from a vertical landscape. The shock of this terrestrial shift has worn out by now and, to be honest, I’m starting to get bored of it already. I dare not move however, for fear that nothing is keeping me from falling away save for my immobility. But the earth, so it would seem, is not willing to wait. It gives a violent shudder and my feet slip out from under me. I fall and my face crashes hard into the unforgiving ground. Against all logic, I lay there, flat against the hard, cold earth. It stands vertical against me and I lay there vertically against it. There is nothing but air beneath my fee and I can feel gravity tugging angrily against me but somehow I remain unmoved. Through no effort of my own I remain lying flat against the sheer ground.
Frustrated, the earth shakes again, the tremor more violent than the first. All around me the ground cracks and opens up, but still I lay there without falling. Somewhere above my head a stone is jarred loose by the shaking and I watch it tumble towards me. Still I do not move. It makes contact with my face, just below my left eye. My vision flashes red, then black, then a blinding white. I feel nothing. Still I don’t move.
With considerable effort I peel my eyes open and look around. I am standing at the edge of a rocky cliff. A valley opens up before me, it is overflowing with autumn color. Wave after wave of trees crash upon each other in bursts of orange, red, and yellow. All around me tourists and hikers are posing at the edge of the cliff, taking pictures and laughing. I look all around but no one notices me in the crowd of strangers. I take my cell phone out of my pocket and stare at its face, confused by the thoughts in my head. It’s already three in the afternoon. I open up the phone, select her phone number, and begin texting, “I’m going to fly away from here,” I type, “if I fall will you catch me?” I press send and shut my phone. I place it on the ground because I can’t stand to receive a reply that says “No”. On the ground at my feet, the phone begins vibrating quietly. I take one last look at it and then at all the people around me, I step forward and away from the cliff. As I fall away from everything I wonder what her reply was.

A Low Rising

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Pointless Post, vol. 2

Okay, so I’m going to do it again. From the period of February 1st to February 28th I read exactly ten books from my pile of books to read. I simply couldn’t pass up the perfect evenness of that. Besides, I decided my last list of book reviews was surely helpful to someone looking for new books to read. So here is volume two of my book reviews for the month of February. Please use this opportunity to tell me what you think of these books or to provide me any book recommendations. I always appreciate those.

1)Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke – I bought this book several years ago after seeing it on an online list of the most important sci-fi books of the 20th century. I put it on the shelf and forgot about it however until recently seeing the film District 9. The film’s unique take on the alien encounter genre reminded me of Childhood’s End. So I read it and immediately found I couldn’t put it down. Easily the most unique telling of the alien invasion story I have ever encountered. Do I recommend this book? Even for people who don’t like sci-fi or alien books, this is a fascinating exploration of human nature, evolution, and psychology with a wholly unexpected twist ending.
2)Jingo by Terry Pratchett – I’ve said it many times before that I love Terry Pratchett but this book reminded me of why. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed one of his books this much since I first discovered him two years ago. Do I recommend this book? If you’re looking for a fun read that makes you laugh and think, yes.
3)The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera – Of course, I already discussed this book at some length in an earlier post so I won’t go into again here. I’ll just say I was extremely pleasantly surprised by this book and look forward to reading it again and again in the future. Do I recommend this book? Duh.
4)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – I’m honestly not sure why I picked up this book. It was an incredibly easy read that flashed me back to fifth grade when I’d read 30 of these books a month. Even after reading it I’m not positive that I actually enjoyed it. I liked the use of Greek mythology, of course, and found some of its modern applications very charming. But there were parts (particularly the narration) which were so juvenile and uninteresting that I wasn’t sure why I continued. And yet I am so intrigued as to whether or not I actually liked this book that I am forced to continue with the series. Do I recommend this book? I honestly don’t know yet. Ask me again next month.
5)Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell – Oh, George Orwell. I so desperately want to be you. I came into this book with such high hopes because I’ve loved every story, book, and essay that I’ve read by George Orwell. Unfortunately, something about this book could not capture my attention. It was a fascinating narrative of being poor in the cities of Paris and London but it read much more like an extended report than a novel and I think this is why I didn’t like it. It felt like there wasn’t actually a story, it was just this guy doing stuff for no particular reason. It wasn’t even interesting stuff! Just washing dishes and sweeping the floor. Do I recommend this book? Sadly, no. Read anything else by George Orwell though, please.
6)Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – I have to thank my friend Emmy for recommending me this book. Emmy, I absolutely adored it. Powerful, addictive, passionate, and wildly unique. Until I started reading this book I had no idea what it was about, I didn’t even read the back cover, I so wanted to be surprised by it. For anyone else who might read it I’ll leave them the same option. All I’ll say about it is it a story of loss without redemption, it is a story of coming to terms with something that can never ever be understood told from the perspective of one of the most brilliant narrators I’ve ever read. Do I recommend this book? Emmy does and so do I.
7)The World According to Garp by John Irving – One of my friends in Rome recommended this book to me back in 2006 and, like so many other books, I bought it, put it on my shelf and immediately forgot it existed. So I returned to it this month not remembering what he said it was about and so not knowing what to expect. I’ll say this about it, it was a very intriguing book. It was by no means happy but its sadness was all that could possibly have resulted from the lives of its tragically unhappy characters. Nonetheless, it was brilliantly written and I’m glad I finally read it. Do I recommend this book? Yes. More importantly I recommend Irving’s other book, A Prayer for Owen Meany which I read some time ago and found to be even better than this one.
8)A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah – I’ve read lots of books about African civil war and child soldiers but this book provides something unique and refreshing from that genre of memoir. Beah actually spends very little space (maybe a quarter of the book) discussing his experience as a soldier. The more important part of his narrative is the tale of his rehabilitation into normal, peaceful society. That part alone is well worth reading this book. Do I recommend this book? If you want to understand some of the problems of child soldiers in war-torn Africa, this is perhaps the best book I’ve encountered about it.
9)The Remarkable Millard Fillmore by George Pendle – I discovered this book in a newspaper clipping pinned on one of my Georgetown history professor’s door. It’s a comic telling of President Millard Fillmore’s life; in the vein of Forest Gump, it portrays Fillmore as a bumbling oaf who stumbled unknowingly across some of the most important events of the 19th century. Unfortunately for Pendle, the book fails to be either historically intriguing or particularly funny. Do I recommend this book? I’m pretty sure this is the only book I haven’t recommended thus far. Oh well.
10)Only Revolutions by Mark Z Danielewski – I’ll admit up front that I didn’t finish this book. I hate not finishing a book but, honestly, I just couldn’t get through it. The book, apparently, tells the story of two eternal teens on a two hundred year road trip causing trouble. I say apparently because I never got that out of it. I never discovered a plot of any kind. The book is written in the wildly imaginative way of having each character write from their perspective, on the same page, upside down from each other. Thus you can read the book from either end and get a different story. While that seems awesome, the book is written in a kind of slang poetry monologue and, a hundred pages into it, I simply couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Do I recommend this book? Read Danielewski’s first book, House of Leaves. It’s equally interesting in its layout but it’s also readable.
That’s it for this month. Please recommend me any interesting books you come across and I’ll do my best to add them to the pile.