Tag Archives: william t. vollmann

On Our Nightstand, August 17th-23rd

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Night of the Living Trekkies
By Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall
Laugh all you want (I can totally hear you!), but it’s the best zombie book I’ve read since World War Z. And it’s hilarious. So actually, you really can laugh.

Geo in Brentwood
Riding Toward Everywhere
By William T. Vollmann
In this book, Vollmann does what he does best: immerse himself in some crazy experience so he can tell us about it. This time it’s illegal trainhopping. While it doesn’t make me want to risk my life on the rails, I do now fancy a nice little train trip up the coast.

John Evans
The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape
By Harm J. De Blij
For readers of Thomas Friedman and Jared Diamond, a nuanced global perspective which furthers, and corrects, much of their writings. Leave it to a geographer to clarify overwhelmingly vast complexities.

John Peck in Oakland
The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories
By Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman
Continuing my world culinary tour with this awesome and very complete cookbook. Contains beautiful photographs of both food and regions of Turkey.

Kim in Malibu
So Long, See You Tomorrow
By William Maxwell
Maxwell might be one of the best mid-century American writers you’ve never heard of, and this book, a slim novella that packs a hefty emotional punch, is quietly satisfying. It was written as the pseudo memoir of a man recounting the events of his childhood growing up in Illinois in the ’20s in the aftermath of a local murder, and, prepositional phrases aside, conjures up such a complex inner world for his characters, I find myself transported.

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On Our Nightstand, July 13th-19th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Somebody Everybody Listens To
By Suzanne Supplee
A realistic and heartfelt young adult novel about a teenage girl from the small-town South who tries to set her dreams of becoming a country singer in motion. I don’t know much about country music, but Supplee does a great job of capturing how music of any kind can convey and intensify emotion.

Geo in Brentwood
Poor People
By William T. Vollmann
I can always count on William Vollmann’s work to challenge me intellectually and philosophically. Poor People is no exception.

John Peck in Oakland
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
By Tom Bissell
Every art form based on new technology spends its first few decades in a sort of limbo, during which any attempt to valorize it as art is smacked down by the guardians of high culture. As video games near their third decade, the argument for games as art is gradually, but surely, becoming irrefutable. As a gamer, I’ve been waiting a long time for a good book-length study of one of my favorite activities, obsessions, and yes, art forms.

Kim in Malibu
About a Mountain
By John D’Agata
It would have been easy for essayist John D’Agata to rant about how storing nuclear waste inside a mountain is a really, really bad idea. Instead, he weaves together the facts of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, project with wit, insight, and surprising cross references, ultimately revealing just how little we can truly know about anything.

Thomas in Brentwood
The Man With the Golden Arm
By Nelson Algren
Nelson Algren’s The Man With the Golden Arm is crass, dirty and unrelenting. I am gladly submerged in the tremendous daily follies of Algren’s post-WWII burnouts and users.

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On Our Nightstand, May 18th-24th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
The Literary Conference
By Cesar Aira
A hilarious and bizarre novella about a writer–named Cesar Aira–who attends a literary conference in Venezuela for the purpose of stealing the genetic material of Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes in order to clone an army of geniuses.

Diane in Brentwood
The Surrendered
By Chang-rae Lee
This novel presents the Korean War in a way you’ve never thought of before.

Elise in Oakland
Boom!
By Mark Haddon
A cute, imaginative, and relatable kids’ book by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, in which the protagonist and his best friend discover that their teachers are aliens.

Geo in Brentwood
Kissing the Mask
By William T. Vollmann
Vollmann’s sincere interest in an obscure art form–Japanese Noh theater–is inspiring and fascinating.

Kim in Malibu
Pedro Paramo
By Juan Rulfo
Simple and evocative magical realism said to have influenced Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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