Friday, May 01, 2009


Let’s be perfectly frank here. I think everyone who’s been reading this blog for a few weeks is aware that I’m stuck in the middle of a situation (of my own making) that I really, really don’t want to be in, and there’s not a hell of a lot I can do about it at the moment, so I’m stuck.

So I’m pretty much just burying myself in work, training and reading. I promised you some book reviews a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll start that today because I don’t want to write another cryptic post about “making changes,” or “acceptance,” or “moving forward” or anything else like that – although I’ve pretty much already done that in these first two paragraphs.

Anyway, I’ve read three books recently. My reviews here will be very straightforward. I’m not planning on doing anything other than telling you to either read the book or not. If you see me “analyzing” anything, it probably means I didn’t like it. Here they are:

High Exposure, by David Brashears: I went through the whole Into Thin Air inspired Everest books phase back in the late 90’s, but the Divorced Guy’s father gave me this one so I read it. It’s definitely more technical, from a climbing standpoint, than any of the others, but it fits into the typical Everest book theme of “I’m right and everyone else is wrong,” and that grated on me a bit – although, yes, I’m aware that when a guy writes a book, it’s necessarily going to be his opinion. It’s just that in all the accounts I’ve read of the Everest disaster, everyone has a different version, and everyone else was at fault.

So, I don’t really know what to make of this one. If you’re into rock or mountain climbing, you’ll like it. It’s not exactly a narrative geared for the general public the way Into Thin Air was, which I think was the problem for me, since I don’t know enough about climbing, or about who David Brashears is, to have enjoyed this book the way I should have.

Ask The Dust, by John Fante: This is one of the better books I’ve read in my lifetime. I don’t know if it’s considered a classic, since I’d never heard of John Fante until a few months ago, but it definitely should be. As the person who recommended this to me said, John Fante writes like Charles Bukowski wishes he could have.

Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem: This is another good choice. Read this, especially if you grew up anywhere within the five boroughs of New York City. Absolutely fucking outstanding. This is going to sound cheesy, hackneyed, clichéd and entirely “unprofessional,” but I couldn’t put this book down.

Ironic how I dedicated 176 words to the book I had to force myself to finish, and a paragraph each to what are probably the two best books I’ve read this year. I suppose that’s just the kind of week I’m having – opposite, backward, and spitting in the face of logic.

As for how I feel about this, I refer you to “Danphe and the Brain,” from Mogwai’s The Hawk is Howling album. That about sums it up.