Book Review: Townie

andre dubus iiiA few weeks ago I finished reading a memoir called Townie by Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog. Townie was a powerful book on multiple levels; it was raw and visceral, heartbreaking, and utterly inspiring to me as a writer.

Townie is a story of what it’s like to grow up poor, nearly fatherless, and fighting for your life in the streets of Boston in the 1970s and ’80s. It spares no gritty detail on back alleys filled with cigarette butts and broken glass, passing around a pint of Southern Comfort and a joint waiting for the school bus to take them to middle school, and the persistent, soul-crushing stench of the brown, bubbling Merrimack River.

merrimack river, polluted merrimack river, boston pollution

The Merrimack: Where childhoods go to die.

Continue reading

Review: Another Bullshit Night In Suck City

I just finished reading a charming, heart-warming book that couldn’t have been more perfect for the Christmas season. It’s called Another Bullshit Night In Suck City by Nick Flynn.

another-bullshit-night-in-suck-city-book-cover Continue reading

Book Review: “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”

I recently finished reading a great book called “The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift In the Equatorial Pacific” by J. Maarten Troost.

sex lives of cannibals book cover, sex lives of cannibals, j. maarten troost

This book, which is sort of a travelogue-meets-memoir about a guy who travels to “the end of the world” with his girlfriend and lives there for two years, had me laughing out loud every time I picked it up. Continue reading

Book Review: Lit

This past weekend I finished reading a memoir called “Lit” by Mary Karr.

Lit by Mary KarrI bought it the first week I moved to Atlanta at an independent bookstore called Blue Elephant Book Shop in downtown Decatur.  I was browsing the memoir/biography section when the one-word title caught my eye. I read the back and then flipped open to the Table of Contents where I began skimming the chapter titles. When I read titles like “Lost in the Golden State”, “Bent Bender”, “The Grinning Skull”, “The Nervous Hospital”, and “Dysfunctional Family Sweepstakes”, I was sold. It had been so long since I’d actually bought a book, I felt naughty, like I was purchasing contraband. Continue reading

Broetry

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you to learn that I hate bros. With their Sperry Topsiders, obnoxious pink Lacoste polo shirts with the collars flipped, and Widespread Panic tickets. And if I hear “Don’t Stop Believing” shittily sung at karaoke one more time, I will jump up on stage and strangle the singer with the microphone wire.

That said, there is one thing that I recently discovered that looks kind of hilarious and it’s called Broetry. Continue reading

Kaffir Boy

South Africa, apartheid, Mark Mathabane, Alexandra

I just finished reading “Kaffir Boy” by Mark Mathabane and let me tell you: wow. I actually cried at the end. Tears of joy, mind you. A friend of mine read it when he was in high school and never turned it back in. I guess you could call that stealing? Regardless, the theft was for the greater good because now the book is being read and enjoyed rather than cultivating new and more toxic strains of black mold in some Palm Bay High School storage room. Continue reading

Fuddruckers, RuddFuck . . . nevermind

Fuddruckers, Ruddfuckers, Buttfuckers

As most of you know from my incessant promotion on Facebook and [possibly] Twitter, I am now a bartender at Fuddruckers on Broughton. Today is my fifth shift and I’m proud to report that I absolutely love it! No B.S. There are ups and downs, but it’s a great gig.

The cool thing is that in Georgia you don’t need a certificate/license or anything to do this job as far as I know. And being that today is Mother’s Day I hope to make something good. Maybe some hungover ladies want a Bloody Mary? I’m on it. Faux mimosa*? On it. I really want to use the blender today, so if you’re craving some frozen paradise, let me know!

I work the weekends:

  • Thursday: 50 cent drafts for college students. Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Miller, Blue Moon, Yuengling, Newcastle and Sam Adams Noble Pils (seasonal ale).
  • Friday: Happy Hour 5-7. $1 off everything. Karaoke w/ my good friend Art.
  • Saturday: Happy Hour 5-7.
  • Sunday: same.

So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and see me! Grab a good drink and enjoy while I practice the Art of the Bar. (Thanks Brittany Vogel).

Oh yeah, there’s really good food too. Not just promo, it’s actually delicious.

Num Nums, cheeseburger, chzbrgr, Fuddruckers

*Natty Light and O.J. (Trust me!)

Scar Tissue: Part I

I’ve recently started reading Scar Tissue, a memoir by Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Scar Tissue, Larry Sloman, Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers

It’s a great read filled with–you guessed it–sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. However, there are a few things that irk me that I have to get off my chest.

First, the book is written by Anthony Kiedis with Larry Sloman. I’m not really sure how the world of book-writing works, but it’s very confusing because I’m never quite sure who’s voice I’m reading. For example, at one point in the first chapter, Kiedis describes his mother as being “cuter than the dickens.” Really? Cuter than the dickens? What is this, 1820? I can’t tell if this is Kiedis speaking, or Sloman’s adaptation of Kiedis’ description.

Second, Kiedis has a great vocabulary. This isn’t a problem, but it’s definitely weird to read about some girl getting on her knees for a blow job and then reading the words “reconnoitering”, “clime” or “ilk” in the next paragraph.

Next, Kiedis tends to use the same words and phrases to describe things. For example, whenever he needs money for something, he always has to “scrape together” the money. That phrase is used on about every other page. Also, whenever Kiedis is describing the 1980s L.A. architecture, he always calls the buildings “classic.” It gets old after a while.

*         *         *

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer. I really do enjoy reading this book. I was just disappointed in a few things and wanted to call attention to them.

At the same time, the passages about drug use are brutally honest and sometimes hard to read. Here is one example:

“I had been fastidious about using sterile rigs and sterile cotton when I first started shooting up, but by now I didn’t care much. If I had to, I’d use a syringe that I found in the street. Instead of sterilized cotton, I’d use a section of my sock or, more commonly, the filter of a cigarette. At first I’d use only sterilized spring water to dissolve the stuff in, but now I’d just pull the back off a toilet or look for a lawn sprinkler or even a puddle.” – Scar Tissue, p. 141-142

After reading this passage, I wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower, and crawl up under the covers and hide.

A melancholy Christmas

I just finished reading Augusten’s newest:

I was expecting really big things out of this book, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. The first few essays were about Augusten’s childhood and were admittedly chuckle-worthy. They involved a life-sized wax Santa with a half-eaten face and a gingerbread public housing unit. But as the book progressed, the stories became more and more melancholy. He described his drunk Christmas spent with bums in New York City, and an affair with a fat French Santa.

Overall, the book lacked Augusten’s usual sharp wit and eye for hilarious details. I wouldn’t recommend spending $21.99 on the hardcover version. With my Barnes and Noble member’s card it was $18 and some change, still a little steep. Maybe it’ll be out in paperback next year.

If you’re in the mood for a little holiday absurdity, I recommend reading “Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris. The best part is, you can buy it used on Amazon for $1.89.