Author Kerry ZukusMy Favorites, Update 3

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MyFavoriteS Archives: June 2007
MyFavoriteS Archives: January 2008

I’ve talked about him and I’ve paid him homage. Now read about the man behind the myth. John O’Hara was a very talented son of a bitch, but a son of a bitch nonetheless. Wolff does a great job of exploring the psyche of the man and even the attitude still left behind in his Pennsylvania Protectorate, where he may never be as truly loved and admired as he so desired.

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I like Russo … a lot. This is probably his funniest tome, set in a poor excuse for a college amidst a lot of middle-aged craziness. Very enjoyable.

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Picture this: a great writer spends a lifetime building up his fictional library, then writes a book like this where he basically cops to having taken most all of it from reality, then goes on to rivet you with that very reality. Despite our familiarity with his hit novels (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, etc.) the true tales never fail to mesmerize.

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I read a review calling this “a right wing fantasy.” BS! I’m as liberal as they come, but this is a damn good thriller that appeals to both men and women. Excitement with the turn of each page. I don’t normally go for thrillers, particularly military thrillers, but this blend of politics, technology, big business, and international espionage had me from page one.

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The third in Powers’ “Catholic in America” comedic trilogy and most certainly the best. I started it one day and did not finish it until the sun came up – the first book that ever caused me to do that. When I finished, there were tears in my eyes and I could only shake my head. I had the honor of meeting Powers recently and told him how much his writing affected me. He modestly told me that his was a cult following, that either you got him or you didn’t, but he was glad I was one of the former. Call me a fan.

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Fight Club gave him the most avid cult following in literature. Read Diary and find out why the cult lives on. Palahniuk is a genius who studies his topics to such a degree as to blow your mind. Not only will you be entertained, but you come away learning something with each and every one of his books. Furthermore, you come to admire the world’s darkest sense of humor. Palahniuk is the Frank Zappa of letters.

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Do you have kids? Are you afraid to have “the talk” with them? No, not the sex talk; that one is easy. I’m talking about the money talk – you know, the one we always say we’re going to have but never do. If you haven’t done it because, perhaps, you’re not even that sure of how money works, pick up this book. In one book you will find nothing but solid, nuts-and-bolts explanations of all things practical and financial. Very well written.

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Okay, my nominee for the single funniest parody of all time. This had to have been written in the late 60’s/early ‘70’s and it still induces pain in me when I read it; it’s that funny. My sides ache, my jaw aches; I simply have to put it down and then recuperate for days after. As one might guess, this takes a ribald rip at Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy. I actually know a guy who can quote this entire book, word for word, from memory, even after all these years.

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