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Jim's Picks

Pronto
Pronto
Just Kids
Just Kids
No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men
On the Road
On the Road
The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep
1984
1984
Make Trouble
Make Trouble
Cryptonomicon
Cryptonomicon
The Alienist
The Alienist
Slouching Toward Nirvana
Slouching Toward Nirvana
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Myth of Sisyphus
Churchill & Orwell
Churchill & Orwell
The Great God Pan
The Great God Pan
Still Life with Woodpecker
Still Life with Woodpecker
Slaughterhouse Five
Slaughterhouse-Five
White Noise
White Noise
The Blessing Way
The Blessing Way
God, War, and Providence
God, War, and Providence
Helter Skelter
Helter Skelter
Wicked
Wicked
The World Broke in Two
The World Broke in Two
Wasteland
Wasteland
The Bughouse
The Bughouse
The Tsar of Love and Techno
The Tsar of Love and Techno
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Wild Sheep Chase
A Wild Sheep Chase
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
The Devil's Dictionary
The Devil's Dictionary

 

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Pronto - Elmore Leonard

It's a perfect Elmore Leonard novel; funny, gritty, rude, and filled with honest, well written dialogue.

 

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Just Kids - Patti Smith

A heartbreaking little book about love, loss, music. art, New York, the '70's, AIDS, fame, photography, and just being.

 

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No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

What should you do if you find a pick-up filled with drugs and money, surrounded by dead men? What ever you do don't do what Llewellyn Moss does, unless you are prepared for a lot of trouble.

 

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On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Two friends with one typewriter and one really long roll of paper, search for the America that most Americans didn't know was there.

 

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The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler

Phillip Marlowe tries to help a rich young lady avoid trouble, while trying to avoid it himself. He's only half successful. The real star of the story is 1930's Los Angeles.

 

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1984 - George Orwell

A story of two people trying to find love and live their own lives in a world controlled by an oppressive totalitarian State. Never leave the same way you came in.

 

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Make Trouble - John Waters

A few years ago, bad boy director, author, and actor John Waters gave a Commencement speech at RISD, one of the Graduates did some doodles while listening to the speech, this is the result.

 

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Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

Parallel stories of code breaking and encryption. One working for the Government during WWII and the other, avoiding the Government in the modern day.

 

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The Alienist - Caleb Carr

A Late 19th Century psychologist is drawn into a series of shocking murders of children in New York City. Filled with colorful characters, both historic and fictional, it is a wonderful read still.

 

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Slouching Toward Nirvana - Charles Bukowski

Poems written by a storyteller looking back over his life, and simultaneously looking forward, past death. The best reason to read these poems, is that they were written by Charles Bukowski.

 

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The Myth of Sisyphus - Albert Camus

An essay about the absurdity of life, presenting the ways humans live as if to ignore the inevitable, while reminding us of the inevitable. In the end there is happiness.

 

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Churchill & Orwell - Thomas E. Ricks

 

 

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The Great God Pan & Other Classic Horror Stories - Arthur Machen

Another collection, this time by an English "weird tales" author who inspired others. Oh, and by the way, these stories will scare you, even if you have no dream of being a famous writer.

 

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Still Life with Woodpecker - Tom Robbins

A love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. It deals with activism vs. romantic individualism, royalty, pregnant cheerleaders, the purpose of the moon. In other words it's a Tom Robbins novel.

 

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Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

While a prisoner of war, Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time. Flashbacks (and forwards) told to us by a narrator who may or may not be reliable.

 

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White Noise - Don DeLillo

The story of a professor and his dysfunctional family and equally dysfunctional college told in bits and pieces. The first book I read of his and still one of my favorites.

 

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The Blessing Way - Tony Hillerman

In the high rocks of the Navajo tribal lands in New Mexico, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn finds a crime scene complete devoid of clues. While everyone sees old Navajo spirits, Leaphorn knows there are more human devils at work.

 

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God, War, and Providence - James A. Warren

 

 

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Helter Skelter - Vincent Bugliosi

The man who prosecuted Charlie Manson and his rag-tag "family" tells the story of the nights of fear that they put LA thru in August of 1969. The first "true crime" book that I read, and still the one that I compare the others to.

 

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Wicked - Gregory Maguire

The first of his retellings of famous stories for adults. A great twist of the story that we all think that we all know.

 

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The World Broke in Two - Bill Goldstein

In 1922 British literature exploded behind a phalanx of new writers who's experimentation with words, topics, and styles influenced by the events of the First World War, would redefine literature.

 

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Wasteland - W. Scott Poole

World War One didn't just effect "literature" it also had a profound effect on the nascent movie industry in both the US and Germany. The horror of war and the stench of death would be visible on the movies screens of the world hidden in the images of Nosferatu and Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory.

 

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The Bughouse - Daniel Swift

 

 

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The Tsar of Love and Techno - Anthony Marra

Six short stories that take place in Russia, from the early years of Stalin right up to an unknown date in the future. People, themes, and music move back and forth between the stories. One of the beat group of stories written about Russia by a non-Russian.

 

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Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

Silly poems are not just for children.

 

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A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami

A postcard with a photo of a mutant begins a wonderful Murakami story. More info than that will spoil the story.

 

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The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allen Poe

This book is filled with the classics that you expect, and that's a good thing. Each of these stories inspired someone later to write something that you read and enjoyed.

 

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll

This is not the Disney world, it is a place that should scare most young girls who fall asleep with the cats, out on the lawn.

 

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The Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce

Sarcastic definitions of important words and phrases, here is the definitive weapon against complacent misuse of language.

 

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