Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On the Shelf- All the Sad, Young, Literary Men

For this edition of On the Shelf I decided to go to a book that has literally sat on my shelf for a few years without having been read: Keith Giessen’s All the Sad, Young, Literary Men. I picked it up on a whim because the title intrigued me (it’s an F. Scott Fitzgerald reference) and it’s possible I never started it because I was afraid the title described me. But in the end, my belief that no book on my shelf should ever go unread won out and I decided to make a concerted effort to finish this potential…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On The Shelf- In The Woods

I love a good whodunit. My bread and butter may lay more with fiction of the speculative variety, but at my core, I’m a puzzle solver. I want to put together the clues and see if I can’t figure it all out before the plot reaches the denouement. Unfortunately, I have consumed so much media over the years that I’ve become intimately familiar with all of the conventions of the mystery genre. As a result, some of the subtler breadcrumbs writers leave along the way for their readers instead read like big neon signs for me. I felt this was…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On The Shelf- Survivor

Sex. Violence. Consumerism. These are the three key components of any Chuck Palahniuk novel and this month’s entry of On The Shelf is no exception. In this iteration, we get a doomsday cult, a marketing messiah, and a woman who knows literally everything. So come with me as I dive deep into the bibliography of the man who brought you Fight Club and Choke and review one of his lesser-known works, Survivor. This is Palahniuk’s second novel, following three years after Fight Club. In it, Tender Branson is the last known survivor of a doomsday cult and after being approached…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On The Shelf- Moon Palace

Have you ever been fifty pages into a novel an thought to yourself “man this book is exquisitely written…….and I kind of hate it”? That’s where I found myself while reading Paul Auster’s Moon Palace, which is the subject of this edition of On The Shelf. Now, I’m normally a big fan of Paul Auster. The only reason you won’t find multiple copies of The New York Trilogy and Travels in the Scriptorium on my bookshelf is that every time I buy a copy of one of those books I immediately lend it out to a friend and never see…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On The Shelf- The Road

Sometimes our title On the Shelf means a book that’s been out a while that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to it yet and sometimes the books we look at have literally been on my shelf for years. The Road is a novel that falls into the latter category. Cormack McCarthy’s novel about a father and son trying to survive as they journey across a post-apocalyptic America is a poetic meditation on the things that drive us forward in life. What is the point of living when every day is a struggle to survive? When there…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On the Shelf- The Colour of Magic

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if Mel Brooks had decided to sit down and write a fantasy novel? Me too. And I’ve decided that the result would read a lot like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. And if that’s not something you’d be interested in I question your life choices. Full confession I’ve read Colour of Magic more than a few times and while it is not my favorite entry of the twenty plus novels set in Discworld it is up there. It’s also the first in the series and so as a holiday gift to you…

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Literary Liaisons, On the Shelf

On the Shelf- Devil in the White City

Welcome to the first installment of On the Shelf where I review books that have been out for a while but that you may be interested in going back and picking up (which really for me defines all books). I noted in my first instalment of In Stores Now that I had intended to write about Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America before realizing it was almost twelve years old. Well for On the Shelf a dozen years is nothing to stand in the way of a good (or…

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