Friends, neighbors, family, and random people who stumble here, let me start by telling you what’s been going down.
My October (or “Rock-tober” as it is being called in the Elkins home) has been off to a raging start. It began with an amazing board meeting at City Neighbors and the relaunch of the Advocacy Committee – a fantastic group I’m very excited about working with. Then Valley (the church I work for) hired their next Head Pastor. There was discussion, interviews, food, a sermon, and a vote. Once the dust settled, Chad and Callie Morreau agreed to come and serve at Valley in 2014. Super pumped about that. The previous week was dominated by organizing Valley’s Community Yard Sale.
Now…here we are. This week has been wonderful. No big events. No wild’n'crazy stuff. I’ve had time to write three more chapters of the novel. Good, good, good.
So far in Rock-tober, I’ve finished reading five books. Each time I put one down I said to myself, “Self, you should write a blog review on that book so other people know about it.”
But then Rock-tober was all like, “No, no, no. Busy, busy, busy.”
So here I am with five books to review and very little time to do so. Therefore, we shall do rapid reviews.
Five books in five-hundred words.
Hysterical! Super funny insight into a family of seven (dad, mom, and five kids) who live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in New York city. The book starts slow. I really felt like the hilarity began around page 100. That is when the book really hits its groove. The first is great too…just not as funny as the end. In the book you see a deeper side to Gaffigan. While I think his comedy is fantastic (huge fan), I would not describe it as deep or socially insightful. The book provides a closer look into Gaffigan’s thinking and world view. Highly recommend this…especially if you live with young children.
Although Sedaris is quirky and walks on the line of “judgmental-elitist-jerk”, he and his story telling are undeniably charming. He could recount standing in a line at McDonalds and I would be completely enthralled. There is something about his story telling that grabs you and sucks you in. The work is a collection of memories and short stories. In it David shares several moments concerning his embracing homosexuality, which I found fascinating. He is raw and open. The work provides deep but humorous insight into the mind of a young adult struggling with his sexuality. The book is crass at times and comes from a far left political perspective, but it is a good read. I recommend it to readers who won’t be troubled by the harsh language, occasionally sexual content, or world-view. Oh…and David really doesn’t like China. His chapter on China made me never want to go there.
In mid-Rock-tober I felt the need to read a classic. So I Googled “Greatest American Novel” and read two or three lists. Ulysses was in the top ten of all of them. Which I now find, after reading most of it, highly confusing.
Who has time for that?
Joe Bunting recommended this on his blog The Write Practice so I grabbed a copy and jumped in. In the book Blake Snyder, a successful screen writer in Hollywood, tells the secrets of story telling in the age of movies. This is a must read for all writers. It has transformed my writing, forced me to do a fourth restructuring of my novel (which, thanks to Blake Snyder, I now understand is an “Institutional” story in the same genera as the God Father and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest), and has equipped me with a whole new belt of story-telling tools. Warning – if you love movies and don’t want to see behind the Wizard’s curtain, then don’t read this book. You will never look at a movie plot line the same way again.
In this “insider tells all” book, Mark Leibovich reveals how Washington D.C. truly works. I finished reading this just before the government shut down went into full crazy mode. It radically changed my perspective on how things work in the American halls of power. After reading this – regardless of your political party – you will be discussed, scream, demand term limits, fear the Clintons, and never again read a news in the same way. If you like politics but don’t trust politicians, this book will be gas on your fire. If you want to stay highly unaware of the social club that is D.C., don’t read this.
Alright…I went about 50 words over. Sorry about that.
Go forth now and read great things!
I’ve got two leadership books, a fictional novel, and a theology book I’m reading right now. If people find this rapid style review helpful let me know and I’ll do it again in December.
If you have a book you are reading that you love, share it in the comments.