Category Archives: books - Page 2


Warren Ellis has a newsletter. It’s very good. It has turned me on to some really good books and a couple of magazines that I feel like sharing.

Rituals and Declarations is a UK based series of 4 issues. The current is issue 2. I’ve taken my time reading these. They’re nice to savor. Interesting topics that I wouldn’t have come across on my own. It feels like I’m learning things.

There’s also Weird Walk which is another one based out of the UK and is about, well, walking and weird places. Another good one to pick at over the course of a few evenings.

I’m not sure that Ellis brought me to The Desert Oracle but I’ll give a not anyway. This one is subscription worthy for sure. It’s a field guide to the American Desert. The stories cover flora and fauna with the occasional UFO or conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. The podcast is great too.

The Monkey Grammarian

The Monkey Grammarian
The Monkey Grammarian

I finished this one up last night. It keeps in line with my recent kick with authors translated from Spanish. This book is more poem than prose and it is beautiful. Chapter 9 in particular is one that I would underline all of. I will definitely revisit this one in a year or so. It’s dense, but I don’t want to overthink it.

The Mighty Fitz

I finished up The Mighty Fitz by Michael Shumacher a week or so ago (just before I finished Kitchen Confidential) and it was a fascinating recounting of the tragedy and investigation. No, it’s not an in-depth, technical rehash of the sinking, but it did plow through enough of the detail to make one want to know more. A good introductory text on the matter, I’d say.

Given all the theories, it did make me want to dig a little deeper. Later. It’s not great before bed reading, this subject.

Kitchen Confidential

Cover of "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain
Cover of “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain

Just finished this one after taking almost a year to read it. The thing is, you only get to read a really great book once for the first time. I’m more aware of that now than I was before.

From my journal…

Finished “Kitchen Confidential.” I’m still moved by Bourdain’s death in a way that makes no sense. I guess, in a way, we feel a resonance with people whose minds might be a bit like our own. To see one go down in flames is a bit much. It’s a strange hurt for someone we don’t know. It’s difficult to understand (for me).

In any case, the book is brilliant. It has a savage and building rhythm and I think that’s why people liken him to HST. But he wasn’t HST. I get it, he just wasn’t. He was himself. And that’s more important.

books on the shelf

Books that are currently churning:

“The Monkey Grammarian” by Octavio Paz

Why am I reading this? Because it was mentioned in book three of “The Nocilla Trilogy” by Agustín Fernández Mallo (which I have loved all the way up to book three. That one is a struggle.) It’s a fascinating book. I can’t say why, because I can’t quite figure out why.

“The Heyduke Trail” by Joe Mitchell and Mike Coronella

Why? Because my wife and I watched a documentary about a hike on the trail and we’re never going to do that. But it’s fun to pore over the maps and look at segments we could try. The whole thing? No.

“Adventures With The Mojave Phone Booth” by Godfrey “Doc” Daniels

Again, why? Because I heard about it on Desert Oracle Radio and I read the Desert Oracle magazine and you probably should too. This book reads like a blog from the 90s and I like that.

“The Mighty Fitz” by Dr. Michael Shumacher

No one who knows me asked why. Books on this topic are important.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez

I’m finding that I really enjoy literature written in the Spanish language. I know that translations are a rough game, but I’ve stumbled onto more than a few that have led me here. I’ll admit to having avoided this text in particular because I assumed that a translation wouldn’t be the same. And yet, I’m loving it. Being a reformed academic is a tough business. I need to let go more and read this stuff.

I’ll make another post when I knock out a few of these. I have a few days off for the holidays and that should be good for reading.