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The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
You know those books that blew your mind in high school? Like Siddhartha or anything by Bukowski or Nietzche and you read it in a cafe trying to look...more
Nov 11, 2009
Sep 09, 2009
Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture
I'm changing my review of my own book from four stars to five just because I can. Sheesh, every other author does it!

To be honest, I know Slanted and...more
Sep 06, 2008
Feb 13, 2009
Zero Summer
I'm biased, because I've believed the author's a genius since 1995. Hopefully the rest of the world will catch up with me soon.
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Nov 23, 2008
Suspect the world does not need another review of Mary Karr’s newest memoir, but I do have some scattered thoughts on it. I feel, however, that they m...more
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Dec 22, 2009
All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s
Good gossip, unfortunate tumbles into overly academic prose. This era deserves a well-written treatment, and maybe its own TV series.
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Sep 14, 2007
An Infinity of Little Hours: The Trial of Faith of Five Young Men in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order
Though this book is occasionally flawed (and really, what book isn't?), I found it fascinating and compelling. You wouldn't think a book about guys jo...more
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Aug 25, 2009
Let's just get this out of the way: I'm not part of the FranzenCult; I agree on principle, as a fellow writer. that his work is often overhyped and ov...more
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Oct 28, 2011
The Marriage Plot
Though much of this book appealed to me, being of the generation that had to suffer through deconstruction as an English major, the big problem with t...more
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Nov 20, 2011
Seek: Reports from the Edges of America and Beyond
Dipped back into this recently and remembered how great some of these essays are. "Hippies" is probably my favorite (having grown up around Rainbow Fa...more
Jun 30, 2009
Jul 02, 2009
The Song Is You
As I was walking out of the library, I looked again at the spine of this book and recalled the fact that I'd hated Prague, but I figured every author...more
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Apr 02, 2010
Beautiful Children
Tried to read this last month (in paperback -- there were a ton of used paperback editions at Moe's) and gave up halfway through. I do try to finish a...more
May 2009
Jun 16, 2009
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Though my hometown of Oakland has a huge Mormon temple that looms over the city, I admittedly knew little about LDS Mormons other than what I learned...more
Jan 12, 2010
Jan 06, 2010
Redeemed: Stumbling Toward God, Sanity, and the Peace That Passes AllUnderstanding
Another in my recent spate of spiritual memoir reading, this was a choppy collection of anecdotes about the writer's journey into Catholicism. It was...more
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Dec 22, 2009
Just Kids
I always knew Patti Smith was a badass. Turns out, she's also a total sweetheart.
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May 05, 2010
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
Okay, so I waited a month for this to come in at the library, at which point somebody immediately recalled it, so I had the book in my hands for a tot...more
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Jul 24, 2010
The American Painter Emma Dial: A Novel
The narrator is a complete cipher, a vessel for Great Male Painters and someone who drifts through things unaffected (for the most part). There's some...more
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May 05, 2010
Loving Frank
I have had such bad luck with fiction lately, which may explain why I seem to only read nonfiction. I found a cheap copy of this at a yard sale and tr...more
Jun 28, 2009
Jul 02, 2009
Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day
Highly enjoyable for those of us who played our tiny part in the East Bay scene(s). Nice to see Klubstitute and the Homocore folks pop up near the end...more
Nov 10, 2009
Nov 02, 2009
The Sign of Jonas
True to its being mostly a journal, this is a "dipper" book for me, one I stop and peer into from time to time, and also a gift from a family friend (...more
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Jul 05, 2009
The Adderall Diaries
I have to knock one thing about this book on principle: why does Stephen Elliott talk so much sh*t about Oakland? Come on, man, we have cheaper rent a...more
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May 05, 2010
My Life With the Saints
Enjoyable enough. I knew Martin mostly from his appearances on the Colbert Report (he's the "resident chaplain"). He's a good writer, and the stories...more
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May 05, 2010
The Anthologist
Maybe this is one of those books that you can only appreciate if you've clocked serious time in Poetry World, but I thought this was funny as hell. Sp...more
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Mar 09, 2010
Shakespeare: The Biography
A bit dry, this was a tough one to get through. My streak of Shakespeare related reading has slowed since I've been sidetracked by ventures into other...more
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Jul 15, 2009
Happy Days
Reading this for my summer job at Cal Shakes (, and very much looking forward to this production (opens this week, and I may...more
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Aug 12, 2009
Mariette in Ecstasy
This book went by fast -- I think I finished it in a day. Hansen writes beautiful descriptions without heavy-handed attempts to be "poetic", and while...more
Mar 19, 2010
Mar 13, 2010
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, #1)
Continuing in my vacation/reading my way through the YA section at the local library mode, I picked this up because I like comics and I used to be a q...more
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Aug 05, 2009
God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet
Full disclosure: I occasionally write for Killing the Buddha, where Nathan is an editor. So, now that that's out of the way: this is a fascinating, st...more
Jun 29, 2013
Jun 16, 2013
American Wife
This was okay vacation reading, but, as other have said, the sex scenes were creepy as hell considering the players involved. I recently saw a product...more
Jan 06, 2010
Dec 29, 2009
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World
While I'm enjoying the interaction of field work and historical research in this book, I'm also finding it quite repetitive, though to be fair the sub...more
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Jul 05, 2009
Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance
This gets 4 for entertainment value alone. I disliked the choppy, 2-3 page chapter format, but Wareham's honest about what a dick he is and how boring...more
Jun 11, 2009
Jun 06, 2009
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