2011 Literature

Reading has been kind of slow as of late since graduate school consumes most of my leisure time I’d spend reading things that I’d enjoy.  However, I did manage to squeeze a few books in this year.  Here are a few that finished before the calendar changed to ’12.

If you’d like to compare 2010’s selections to 2011, feel free to click here and check ’em out.

Hero by Perry Moore

Hero by Perry Moore

Conservative people everywhere will not enjoy this story. But really, does anyone value their opinion anyways?

Growing up as a teenager can be a difficult learning experience.  Now imagine that you’re a teenager growing up and discovering that you have super powers.  Oh, and also you realize you’re gay.  Well, such is the life of Thom Creed who spends most of his days worrying about his father and how he can balance having a job, being a basketball star, and trying to join The League, a group of other Heroes.

And you thought your adolescence was complicated.

It was good coming-of-age story that would probably hold meaning to kids struggling with some of the same issues or a more mature adolescent audience.  If you still giggle whenever someone says ‘ejaculation’, you’re probably not the target audience for this book.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max

I’d like to preface this review by stating that I don’t believe half the shit this ass-clown wrote about in his debut autobiography.  Tucker Max is a total turd who suffers from having parents who were too rich and too busy with their own fucked up lives to raise their kid.  And that’s where Tucker Max came from.

Based on the spectacular life of Mr. Tucker Max, Esq., this book relives, in explicit detail, the absurd adventures of a guy and his tag-along friends as they travel around the world.  Throughout this book, Tucker Max proves that, yes, there are people in this world sleazier than pedophiles.

That being said, I laughed out loud several times as I was reading.  And regardless of whether you believe any of this guy’s stories, they are pretty funny.  There was nothing clever or interesting about them, like a Bukowski.  However, for all the shortcomings of his personality and interpersonal skills, his total douchey-ness, and the shitty movie that will forever remain a genital wart on the history of American cinema as result of this book, Tucker Max can spin one helluva yarn.

Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk is an author that leaves me hanging on every word.  When I read this book of actual real life stories and interviews, I couldn’t put it down.  Palahniuk delves into the world of Marilyn Manson, the testicle festival, and the murder of his father by a crazy hillbilly.

If you ever wondered how his perspective on life could be so drastically different from yours, take a few days and read this one cover to cover.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

I came home after an evening out on the town one night and saw that amazon.com recommended this book for me:

Well needless to say after watching the trailer attached to the book, I had to preorder it!  All-in-all, it ended up being the most enjoyable read of 2011.

May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I read this book out loud to my class of fourth graders at the end of last year and they absolutely loved it.  While it’s no Harry Potter, it does a decent job of filling the fantasy void that children will inevitably run into once they’ve finished the Potter series.  It’s a little dense at times, but Anderson has created a memorable character that you care about by the end of the story.  I’ll be reading the rest of the books in the series in time, I’m sure.

Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero by Jeff Pearlman

One of my favorite sportswriters is Jeff Pearlman, who doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to telling the stories of athletes.  I can only imagine the hours Pearlman put into the research that went into writing this book about one of the most reclusive and polarizing athletes of my generation.  As a Pirates fan and a baseball fan in general, it is an absolute must read that helps you to better understand one of the most enigmatic figures in baseball history.

You’re Okay, It’s Just a Bruise: A Doctor’s Sideline Secrets About Pro Football’s Most Outrageous Team by Dr. Rob Huizenga

If you like to read books about dysfuntion in professional sports, this one would probably be a good place to start.  Crazy Al Davis (rest his insane little heart) was never afraid to take risks when it came to winning.  Sometimes they panned out (Howie Long, Dave Casper) and sometimes they didn’t (Todd Marinovich, Jamarcus Russell).  If you’d like an entertaining look into professional football from the perspective of someone who doesn’t smash into people from a living, Dr. Robert Huizenga has the right prescription for you.

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan

I, Lucifer

The pain was banging away like an autistic kettle drummer and my heart… Oh, all right not my heart, but it was one of those weird days when I could barely concentrate on what I was doing, when the blood-spattered and corpse-littered wake of my busy life tugged at me like a conundrum.”

A very cleverly crafted tale, I, Lucifer follows Satan as he gets to take over the body of the underachieving writer Declan Gunn.  What is given to him as a shot at redemption turns into a month-long vacation in overindulgence as Lucifer gets to experience everything that we, as human beings take for granted.

This book was an enjoyable page-turner that frames life from the other perspective.  By the end of the book you’ll come to relate and have some sympathy for the devil.

We Can’t All be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes

A great story for a classroom.

This is a fantastic book for kids.  I read it out loud to my class last year and they loved it.  I typically would end up reading an extra chapter or two from the book when we’d sit down and read just because they were so captivated by the story.

Well, that and it was the end of the year and I needed to kill some time.  This is a great story that highlights themes like friendship, accepting who you are, and bullying.  I’d recommend it to any classroom teacher, K-6.

Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

My friends who went to law school all told me that  the purpose of law school is to change the way you think.  I think the same could be said for Freakanomics.  Steven and Stephen do an excellent job connecting concepts and then supporting their theories using data.  The book is captivating, but written so that any schmo who didn’t know his wallet from a hole in the ground could understand it.  If I haven’t convinced you to rush to your nearest book distributor (which is probably amazon.com, since you’re on a computer), Levitt and Dubner also have some of the most clever chapter titles that will almost immediately pique your interest, such as “What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?”

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