Home > Uncategorized > What I’m Reading (June 2014)

What I’m Reading (June 2014)

With a week off from work and a trip to Florida, I anticipated getting quite a bit of reading done. What’s the saying, all good plans… or something like that. Not only did I read less than I expected, but I think I read the fewest number of books in month for the entire year. Looking back, my reading lacked a bit of variety as well- crime novels, cycling books, and a self-help book.

Best Book of the Month: Corrosion by Jon Bassoff.  How do I even begin to describe this book? Imagine the talents of Flannery O’Connor, Jim Thompson, and Chuck Palaniuk being dropped into a blender. This would be the book they’d produce. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the book. Part One struck me as an outstanding story of a drifter down on his luck, who comes into a small town, saves a damsel in distress, who it turns out has double-crossed him. Throw in some creepy characters, a little southern religion, and it was a great read. Part Two introduced an entirely new set of characters who pushed the creepiness factor to new levels. Bassoff does a great job interjecting the hallucinations of the main character so that you have to stop and figure out what’s real and what’s not. The pace picks up towards the end of Part Two and the book becomes a fascinating, engrossing, twisting, dark tale with some of the most unique and fascinating characters I’ve encountered in awhile. I finished it earlier in the month and I’m still thinking about it.

Last month I introduced one of my new favorite authors, Jake Hinkson, and this month I finished a third book of his, Saint Homicide, which is the story of a zealous young man ravaged by shame and faith who determines his holy course of action is to commit a homicide.  A short, but great read. Hinkson also has a short story, “The Theologians,” in the latest issue of All Due Respect, and there’s an interview with him as well.

Other crime novels I read this month, Federales by Christopher Irvin, and Peckerwood by Jedidiah Ayres, both of which I enjoyed.

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program by Steve Peters is one of the more insightful books I’ve read on understanding how the mind operates. In simple terms, according to Peters, we all have a chimp, a human, and a computer in our brains. The chimp is that part of the brain that usually gets a person into trouble by fighting, freezing, or fleeing in stressful situations. Peters provides insights into understanding how the chimp part of the brain works and learning not to change it, but to manage it. Lots of interesting thoughts.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday, which means publishers are releasing any and all cycling books. The Climb by Chris Froome is his as-told to life story. Froome, last year’s winner of the Tour de France, didn’t come up through the normal ranks, and his emergence is a testament to his dedication. As nearly every level, his career almost didn’t happen. Pro Cycling on $10 A Day by Phil Gaimon is the “traditional” story of how an average rider climbs the ranks in pro cycling. It’s not pretty, or glamorous, and far from lucrative. Gaimon has an entertaining, self-depreciating way of writing, and he doesn’t hold back in telling you what he thinks. In contrast is The Loyal Lieutenant by George Hincapie, the telling of his life as a professional cyclist, who is most known for riding with Lance Armstrong. While the book covers his lengthy professional career, he tends to gloss over the details, and he doesn’t give much analysis about why he did what he did. He took performance enhancing drugs, then he stopped. That’s about as deep as it gets.

****

On the TV front, Rectify is back for season two on Sundance. I caught the first episode and the season looks promising. That’s about all I’ve watched. With the Tour starting on Saturday, I doubt I’ll watch much else this month.

***

The reason for the lack of reading- I finally finished the third draft of my next novel. Sometimes, you get in a groove and figure out the story and you just want to keep at it. I may post something about the third draft process here in the next week or two. We’ll see.

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