2006 Books 71 - 75

71. Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff - A collection of essays about wanting more, whether it be more beautiful, more self sufficient, more spiritual, or more included. Reading the essays one right after another was a bit much, I kept getting an image of Rakoff chortling "Oh the cleverness of me!" as he typed. Taken one at a time, they're entertaining and enlightening, especially the one about Log Cabin Republicans..

72. Closer by Dennis Cooper Dark, angsty, self-centered, violent and going places few stories that aren't simple hard core porn would risk going, this is the story of George, a young man looking for love and accepting anything in place of it; and the men who move through his life taking advantage of that need. Each chapter is told from the POV of a different character, except for George, who gets more than one chance to make the reader care about him. Once the plot actually starts to move foreward (unfortunately, almost half way through the book), it's not a bad read, if you like dark, angsty, violence leading to an attempt at a "happily ever after" ending.

73. The Innocent Man by John Grisham - Contrary to what the cover flap of this book promises, I wasn't shocked, disturbed or infuriated by what this book discloses. It's not news that the innocent are sometimes wrongly convicted in the United States. Grisham does an adequate job of relaying the story of how one man ended up on death row and another received a life sentence for crimes they didn't commit, but spends little time on why this happens - what motivates police and prosecutors to break the law in order to enforce it? That makes for a very flat, albeit detailed, read.

74. On Glory's Course by James Purdy - Everybody judges everybody in this story, set in a fictional town in middle American in 1930. With almost every taboo of that era (and this one, in at least two cases) hinted at or out-right admitted to, no character can take the high road. The plot is pure soap opera, but it's well written soap opera.

75. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence - I was hooked on this book at the fifth paragraph. It's no wonder that the self-appointed moral watchdogs of 1915 were aghast at what he'd written. Lawrence packs more sensuality into a description of the agrarian life than most writers (past and present) could put into a narrative about a full on physical encounter.

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