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My current chart. It's what I'm currently playing, reading and listening to.


Body Scissors by Michael Simon. Who needs James Ellroy anyway? He hasn't put out a book since 1974. While still waiting for Ellroy to quit hobnobbing with Hollywood sorts and finish a book, Simon has more than adequately filled the void. His first book "Dirty Sally" was outstanding and "Body Scissors" might even be better. Ellroy even blurbs it.

On Deck:
  • Ask the Dust by John Fante
  • Disney War by James B. Stewart
  • An Unfinished Season by Ward Just


  • Audioslave- Out of Exile
  • My Morning Jacket- Z
  • Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary
  • Son Volt- Okemah and the Melody of Riot
  • Stavesacre- Bull Takes Fighter (EP)

Chris Cornell has arguably the best voice in rock and he has always described the human condition vivdly, with raw emotion. I say arguably because Mark Solomon from Stavesacre is an amazing vocalist as well. Stavesacre is in my top 5 bands of all-time.


PS2- Madden 2006, NBA2K6. Both outstanding.

Please write in with any recommendations...


mike d said...

Hmm, books, I feel almost genitically compelled to comment.

First, I'll admit, I'm not the biggest Ellroy fan. I've come to recognize I enjoy a certain ornamentation in writing and Ellroy, Bruen and his brood strip it down a notch to far for my liking, most of the time.

I read Drity Sally last year and found it okay if not spectacular. The plot and dynamics of the book follow most of the hard boiled noir conventions to a T. I did like the late 80s Austin setting. Simon definitely shows promise and people that like their novels down, dirty and gritty would probably love him already.

A random recommendation for another hard boiled author that probably deserves a higher profile, Charlie Huston. You might like Caught Stealing and Six Bad Things.

As an aside, couldn't agree more with Sun Volt and MMJ. Both were in heavy rotation in 2005 for me.

The Zoner said...

And you like the Bears. Mike D is all right by me.

I liked how you put it--down, dirty and gritty. Indeed it is.

Quick recommendation to you-- Steve Monroe-- '57 Chicago and his follow up '46 Chicago. I am a big fan.

Anonymous said...

Books: Currently reading 'A Window in Copacabana' by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, the 4th in a series of cop/mystery books, translated from Brazil. Oddly existential and absurdist stories, light and easy and always entertaining--in short, at the other end of the noir spectrum from Simon and Ellroy (who I think are tops). In fact I've often stated that Ellroy is essential American Reading (whatever that means, and whoever I am to say it)--

And speaking of such I recently read 'American Pastoral' by Phillip Roth, the first of his 'American Trilogy' ('I Married A Communist' and 'Human Stain' are the next two (I already have the next one on deck)). I've only also read 'Plot Against America' by him, a small sample size given his body of work, but I'm already thinking that there can't be a better chronicler of post-WWII America. There's such momentum to his writing, you just get propelled along--and then intermittently hit over the head with, like, deeep meaning and insight, man.

Music: Wolf Parade was the best record of '05, though sadly MMJ never could stick in my rotation. Finally got around to 'Alligator' by The National, and it's highly recommended: poetic and haunting and melodic and anthemic. Essential indie rock stuff. Also been listening to 'Ziggy Stardust' (huh?) and live Wilco.

Video Games: 'Spider-man: Mysterio's Menace' and 'Scrabble Blast' on GameBoy Advance. Lame, I know, but I like my games simple: side-scrolling beat 'em ups and puzzles. Yay.


The Zoner said...

Well the Plot Against America was the '04 book of the year IMO.

MMJ is in the rotation, but there are only a few tracks I dig. And after At Dawn and It Still Moves it's hard to improve on that.

I saw the Human Stain the other night. Decent enough. I forgot movies. I watched the Notebook...and I enjoyed it. Netflix is the bomb.

Bowie is awesome. Good for you.

Greg said...

Actually, while I agree that Mike D. is, in fact, "all right", he is a Patriots fan. We co-write SportsBlah and I'm actually the Bears fan. But he can read, and I can't. So your recommendations will not go unnoticed.

Greg said...

Also, how does one go about emailing "the Zoner"? I had a question for you, but couldn't find an address. Just send me an email if you don't want to post it here. But if you don't want anyone having your address, I retract my question.

The Zoner said...

That's right--you are the Bears fan. Mike D can jump in the creek then. 46-10 Mike! Aw Yeah!

Anyway, check your e-mail for Zoner's double secret e-mail address.

mike d said...

Yes, 46-10 took a long time to get over, but recent years have been a nice balm.

I'll agree MMJ is a bit of an acquired taste and needs repeated listens to really dig its claws in, but it's one of the few discs I bought last year that felt like an album and not a collection of singles. Which is sort of odd in retrospect given the variety of sounds on the album and probably more due to the lead singer's distinct voice than any arrangement or theme.

I will second PV's recommendation of The National and add The Hold Steady, a lot louder and brasher, but another quality band I stumbled on in '05.

The Plot Against America is currently in the TBR pile. While I pledged to read more non-fiction in 06, I'll more than likely cave by March and be back to gorging on crime and mystery, the books not the actual felonies, so I'll hit up Steve Monroe.

The Zoner said...

It looks like I will be checking out the National. And by that I mean the group, not the defunct daily sports newspaper that I loved so much. I think you are the east coast version of me. PV and I refer to the 'TBR pile' as the 'stack'. Recommends are detailed as "one to add to the stack". Stellar recommends are "immediate purchase" or for movies "immediate viewing". As in, "You haven't seen it? Oh dude--immediate viewing."

As for non-robert ficktion, I hgighly recommend:

Everybody Pays by Rick Kogan (mob/crime)

Conspiracy of Fools by Kurt Eichenwald (Enron)

The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald (ADM anti-trust--incredible story)