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Archive for September, 2011

5 Disgusting Words That Make Me Cringe

I have a friend who hates the word “moist.”

It’s true. You may ask, “Hey Robert, what does the word ‘moist’ have to do with your 101 Book project?”

Great question, to which I would answer, “Hey there. Absolutely nothing.”

But, truthfully, this blog is not just about the 101 books. It’s about reading words. Yes, I read words. Lots of words. And then I sit down and write words about the words I just read. It gets a little wordy up in here.

So, with all that in mind, I thought I’d list my 5 least favorite words today. These are the words that make me cringe, twinge, squirm and scream. Sometimes, their usage might raise the hairs on my arms.

If any of these words appear in any of the 101 books, you can count on me automatically excluding that book from the top 10 in my rankings. That’s just how I roll, to borrow a cliche’.

Curious? Here are my least favorite words.

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Revolutionary Road And The Art Of Selfish Parenting

One of the aspects of fiction I love, and one of the reasons I began to prefer fiction to nonfiction, is the emotional intelligence I gain by watching the lives of these characters and relating them to my own life.

After all, these characters and stories were written by authors who have experienced life, dealt with their own issues, and have more than likely put pen to paper to help cope and understand.

As a new parent, I’m always interested in reading about parental roles in the novels. With the exception of Atticus Finch, some of the parents in the first 25 books have been pretty below average in the old parenting skills department. Think about the Lamberts from The Corrections or the Angstroms in Rabbit, Run.

The newest crappy parents are Frank and April Wheeler in Revolutionary Road. These two are, perhaps, the most selfish individuals in the history of fiction.

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Ranking The First 25 Books

Well, it’s that time again.

Time for me to justify my nonsensical, totally arbitrary, ridiculously-easy-to-criticize rankings of the books I’ve read to this point. Lev Grossman explained why Time didn’t rank the novels in my interview with him, but I guess the football fan in me decided I had to do rankings of some sort.

So, without further needless explanation, here’s my explanation of my rankings of the books I’ve read since my last ranking update.

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Do You Like Depressing Stories?

Why do I ask such a strange question?

Well, you might know that I’m currently reading Revolutionary Road–and, if the movie is any indication, this will be one of the more depressing reads on the list to this point.

I’ve seen comments before on this blog, like “I didn’t like that book because it was too depressing.” But the more I read through the list, the more I realize that if I can qualify a book as “depressing,” that’s a good indication it’s probably a well-written, excellent novel. That simply means the author is doing his or her job, evoking strong emotions in me as the reader.

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The Decemberists Rock Infinite Jest

Have you ever heard of this thing called music videos?

I heard that they were a popular thing back in the 80s and 90s on a channel called MTV. Anyway, some bands still make these “music videos,” The Decemberists being one.

The band was so inspired by Infinite Jest that they made a video depicting one of the most memorable scenes in the book–the kids at the tennis academy playing Eschaton.

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Your Search Questions Answered, Volume 4

Welcome to the fourth volume of Your Search Questions Answered, in which I try and make sense of wonderfully, wacky search terms that find my blog. Remember, I’ve left these terms in all of their unedited glory. Interested in previous editions of this series? Got you covered.

Now, on with volume 4!

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Next Up: Revolutionary Road

My familiarity with Revolutionary Road comes strictly from Sam Mendes’ 2008 movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet. Sadly, I know very little about Richard Yates, so this novel will be another learning experience for me.

I’ll be interested to see how it compares to the screenplay, which was dark and depressing, and didn’t inspire me with much hope. I also remember appreciating how forward the movie was with the realistic consequences, both physical and emotional, of bad decisions.The story revolves around a middle-class, suburbanite couple and their pursuit of the American Dream in exchange for their own identity.

The challenge here is to read Frank Wheeler’s lines in this book and not hear Dicaprio speaking. We’ll see how it goes.

A few quick facts about Revolutionary Road.

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Book #25: A Clockwork Orange

This is a difficult book to review.

Depending on which version of the book you’ve read (revisit this post from last week for more detail on that), your understanding of the story could be totally different than mine.

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A Grammar Nazi Intervention

Does it annoy you that one of the Rolling Stones most famous songs, “Who do you love?” is grammatically incorrect? Do you correct your friends on their usage of “which” and “that”? Read more

The Art of Reading While Watching Football

Tomorrow’s a big day here in the U.S.

College football officially starts. Thousands of maniacal, football-crazed fans will gather in massive sporting venues to watch 20 year olds attempt to rip Read more


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