Lists: Books to love



And so it begins, the life I sat dreaming about for months and months on end – it is here, before me. Yes, that life I pondered on, drooled over, half cried, half begged for has arrived and now it’s time to take a hold of it. So, I thought I would start with a list! A list of books. There has been a challenge going around Facebook, “10 Books that have stayed with you.” What a better place to start than the books that have influenced me and molded me – propelling me forward – into this world of writing. I decided to do 15, because 10 isn’t enough – to be honest 15 isn’t either. I read a lot of books and many have influenced me one way or the other. But here is my list of 15 books that have “stayed” with me over the years.


1. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
I love how Hinton portrays the separation of class. I feel it was ground breaking in the 60s and is still relatable today.

2. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
I love Ender. It’s a great character living in an interesting world. This book made me want to write sci-fi.

3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
This is the book that hooked me on sci-fi! It’s so much fun and Adams is hilarious. 42!

4. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
In my early 20s I read this and Wuthering Heights. Loved Jane Eyre. Her strength and honesty make her one of my favorite characters. (I still don’t get why people like Wuthering Heights.)

ham on rye
5. Ham in Rye – Charles Bukowski
Bukowski is a fan favorite all around. I’ve read most of his works, from poetry to short stories to novels – but Ham on Rye is my absolute favorite. The gradual growth of Hank is heart breaking.

6. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
This book – mother of all things holy – the nightmares I had. Perfectly captures how volatile humans are.

7. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Wallis
I could gush about this book for days. Beautifully written story about family, love, loss, and dealing with it all.

8. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Most amazing anti-war book of all time.

9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
Written in omniscient 3rd, a point of view people rarely use these days, as the fly on a wall you watch the family grow. I randomly have scenes pop into my head on any given day.

10. Sandman – Neil Gaiman
The reason I started reading comics.

11. I am Legend – Richard Matheson
Incredible and interesting horror.

12. Princess Bride – William Goldman
Just as funny, if not funnier, than the movie.

13. And if I Perish… – Evenlyn M.Monahan & Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee
It’s about WWII nurses. Follows American nurses from the states through all major WWII battles.

14. Fat Kid Rules the World – K.L. Going
The movie adaptation of this book should be set on fire. This book is genius. Music, drugs, poverty, age appropriate awkwardness, true friends, and family.

15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Can’t describe it. Friendship, love, and life.




In the house

There is a pony

A stuffed pony

Named champion

& on that pony

Is a boy

Who will one day

Be grown

& on that day

I’ll look back

To that stuffed pony

& wonder

How time went

By so fast

& the house

Won’t be this one

& the pony

Will be gone

& I will be

Someone I’m not now

But for now

In this house

There is a pony

& a boy

Riding him

Freedom and writers block…

Calvin and Hobbes


This week is my child’s first week of school. He is officially in kindergarten and I officially have time to write! And guess what? I CAN’T DO IT!!

It’s like my brain has been frozen by some klingon-esk ray gun that has fixed it in place so firmly words have ceased to exist. How cruel is that? Very. Very, very cruel. It is so cruel I would like to bounce the old noggin off the wall a few times to see if anything rattles loose. (Honestly, I won’t do that. I have a low pain threshold.)

So how does one deal with writers block? This is something new for me. Most days I’m like a well stocked waterfall, words pour out of me in one form or another.  I know that answer is simple, I need to wait and acclimate myself to this new life unfolding in front of me – but I’m about as patient as a kid in a Christmas checkout line. I want my toy, and I want my toy now.

Damn you words! How can you forsaken me when we have planed this rendezvous for so long? You have left me with nothing but half ass metaphors and a migraine… And with that – I’m going to nap.



Friday in Review – Ready Player One



I am late this week, but alas… I will make it worth your while. I give you READY PLAYER ONE, a novel by Ernest Cline.

To be frank one of my biggest passions in all of the world is Science Fiction (and yes, some fantasy as well). The list of books I have been posting have not been in that genre, but that is about to end…

I now give you, by far, one of my new all time favorites – READY PLAYER ONE!

Here is my list of why:

#1 – The old adage, “Write what you know.” This book is an amazing example of writing what you know, but in a way that is fresh and new. Set in the future but ripped from out past – Rush (the band), acid washed jeans, pizza parlors, and video games all dropped into a Digital setting (Live action Role Play). Did you like Dungeons and Dragons growing up? Than read this book.

#2- Realism. This world could exist! It’s the notions of taking the truth and keeping it mostly intact to add to the terrifying idea of what’s to come. Such a wonderful way to add ambiance to a book.  This setting becomes its own character and you forget where you’re at. I was so absorbed I dreamt I was in OASIS (the digital LARPing game that dominates in this title.)

#3 – The Characters. Maybe you’re not a nerd. Maybe you weren’t in marching band in high school and didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons, and when you hear the word “Universe” you don’t automatically think of Marvel vs. DC, but all of that was part of my life. (And mostly still is.) For me I felt like I knew these kids. These are the people I spent a lot of my awkward teen years with, and even some of my twenties.

I loved this book SO MUCH I hijacked nearly every conversation I had for a week after I finished reading it to ask, “Have you read, Ready Player One? You really should – it’s amazing!” And now I ask you, have you read Ready Player One? Because you should!


I would love to hear from you! What are you reading?

Until next week! Happy reading!






Friday in Review: Ham on Rye

ham on rye


I visited Bukowski’s grave after moving to Los Angeles. It’s in San Pedro, about a 40 minute drive from my apartment. Better yet, my apartment is about a ten minute drive from the house he grew up in. Well, not better for Chuck ‘ol boy – it wasn’t really a happy home.

To put it mildly, I am a Bukowski fan and have been for years. Oddly, Ham on Rye is a book I’ve only read recently (because someone stole my copy). <- true story. The reason it is so odd is Ham on Rye is by far his best book. I liked Factotum, I loved Women and Hollywood, and I was even amused by Pulp (his last book published shortly before his death 20 years ago.) Say what you want about the man – hate him for all I care – but Ham on Rye is one of the most genuine coming of age stories I have read in a very long time. Starting from when he is 3 years old and ending at the beginning of World War II, Bukowski takes on his alter ego “Hank” and tells you his story like it was. (With a little embellishment here and there just to give it that extra flair.)

Are there women? Some.

Is there booze? Of course.

Why is this different from all of his other booze induced, women laced books?  Because it shows you the “why”. Why did he become the man he was? Why did he crawl inside a bottle? Why was he so obsessed with women and words? Every single answer is right there smashed between orange groves, high school angst, the great depression, and trolley rides to and from Pershing Square.

Loud, brash Bukowski is known for getting right in your face and saying, “What the hell are you going to do about it?” That quality is still there, but that’s not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the spider. The small tiny moments that subsequently mould us into our adult selves.

So that’s why I pick this book. I pick Charles Bukowski for his poetry, for his soul, and for his courage to say out loud all those things that are very easily hidden behind booze and broads. Maybe you’ve read him, or maybe he is new to you – this is the place to start.

Ham on Rye won’t let you down.

“So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was going to be easy for me.”


Maybe it wasn’t always easy, but it was totally worth it.


Please feel free to recommend books below!


Friday in Review: Gone Girl



Last week I chose a title from years ago, and this week I’ve decided to go a bit more contemporary.

If you haven’t heard of Gone Girl yet, I commend you. About a month back I asked for book suggestions on my Facebook page and this was the number one pick suggestion. So I read it, and let me tell you – it has been stuck in my mind ever since.

Now, I read a lot and I’m not overly picky when it comes to genre. Some of my favorite reads are from Douglas Adams to Jane Austen over to Rick Riordan and Brian K. Vaughan. YA, thriller, science fiction, fantasy – poetry and essays. I enjoy in a way that when I meet people who say, “Who has time for reading?” silently I gasp. That said, if I start a book and lose interest I am also not the type of person who will finish the damn thing. Time wasted on reading isn’t a waste, unless the book doesn’t draw you in. Then it is a waste, indeed.

Enter – Gone Girl.

This is one of those stories 1000+ writers will read and think, “God damn, why didn’t I think of that?” (Or they’ll say, “I thought about that a while ago.” – cuz that’s what we do… fickle as we are.)

The simplicity of this book is genius – and at the same time, there is nothing simple about it. Gone Girl is a gem, and I’m glad it was recommended. (Or I would have skipped it purely out of popularity. As fickle as I am… )




You have until October 3rd before the movie is released, there after  Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike will forever stuck in your brain as you read it. Honestly, I don’t think the casting is bad, but as an avid reader it’s always nice to have the ability to create what/who I want to see.

Here are my three reasons why you should read Gone Girl?

  1. As I said before – simplicity. Growing up on Law & Order and Sue Grafton (G is for Gumshoe is another fav), I’ve read and seen my fair share of detective dramas. I’ve looked for the clues – I’ve missed some, I’ve noticed others and normally I figure out who did it in the first few minutes of the show or first few chapters of the book. When I read/see something in this vein of writing and they trip me up I am most impressed.
  2. Along with the simplicity is the originality. It’s scary perfect in a very tangible way. Maybe it’s because part of my life was a petri dish of sorts, or the fact I need to analyze and dissect things (that would be the writer in me) but it is woven in a way you think, “I know that guy/girl.”
  3. It will make you look at the people in your life in a whole new light. There is genius in crafting something that makes other’s perspectives shift. Last week I chose the George Orwell book, Down and Out in London and Pairs. That book made me looks at how much hasn’t changed. It cemented the villainization of poor people in this world we live in. This week, Gone Girl has forced me to stand back and look at past relationships. Who said what when and what did their body language say to me at the time? Am I crazy? Well, am I? Maybe… but that’s okay.

I’m sure the jacket has blurbs strewn across it. “FANTASTIC!” “ORGASMIC!!” “BEST SHIT YOU’LL READ THIS SUMMER!!” All of these statements are true. Check out Gone Girl and see what you can do with average unhappy people in a mundane vanilla setting. Check out Gone Girl and start doing background checks on all the new people you meet, and maybe some of the ones you think you already know.

Either way, go check out Gone Girl. And always remember, maybe you don’t have a kindle or you can’t afford to spend $15 on a new book – library cards are free AND if they don’t have the title you want, request it. Libraries are your friends.


Happy reading! Happy Writing! Happy Friday!

If you have any books you love and would like to recommend them to me, please list them in the comments below!

Friday in Review



There comes a time in every writers life when they must read. Or maybe there comes a time in a reader’s life when they must write – I feel this is similar to the “what comes first, the chicken or the egg” conundrum. One may never know…

But for me, the answer is simple – I was a reader and then at the ripe old age of 7 I became both.

As a writer, finding inspiration is a fundamental necessity to the craft. (& yes, hard work.) Finding a novel that instills the sort of inspiration that not only provides me with the courage to write, but motivate me to improve my craft, is a glorious feat. I have read many books (no, most are not listed on goodreads.) but sadly a lot of them have fallen through the cracked gray matter that is my brain. (If a reader reads a book and doesn’t post it on goodreads, does it still make a sound?)

But for every book that has slipped through my cerebrum, there are the few that stick like thick pancakes to your stomach lining. Each Friday I would like to share one of those books with you. My list of personal favorites. Maybe you will have read them, maybe you haven’t yet – either way I would love to hear your opinion.

To kick off this new line of blog posts I’m going to start with a wonderful book by George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London.

Down & Out in London & Paris


Published in 1933, more than ten years before the acclaimed Animal Farm and sixteen years before Nineteen Eight-Four, Down and Out follows George Orwell as he lives in squalor and sometimes locked up in prison blocks while taking on the life of those in poverty.

Yes, this sounds like a politically based book that shoves a part of the world in your faces most would like to pretend doesn’t exist – but that’s not it’s all about. Yes, there was, and is, an underlining issues of how the poor have been treated through time – but the story is really about the people he meets along the way.

As Orwell bonds with his subjects and they begin to trust him, you are transported to a world filled with lines, crusty bread, broken beds, repugnant bathing water, and incredible and indestructible people deal with the stigmas day in and out – for most of their lives.

Maybe you’ve read Orwell before and are reading this rolling your eyes a mile a minute – but I implore you (before your eyes  lodge themselves in the back of your head) don’t let past experiences sway you from the enlightenment of this novel. There is an easiness to this book, as if you’re sitting at a bar reminiscing with an old friend – a comfort of sorts. And if that isn’t enough you are treated to true craftsmanship in passages like:

Sometimes, he said, when sleeping on the Embankment, it had consoled him to look up at Mars or Jupiter and think that there were probably Embankment sleepers there. He had a curious theory about this. Life on earth, he said, is harsh because the planet is poor in the necessities of existence. Mars, with its cold climate and scanty water, must be far poorer, and life correspondingly harsher. Whereas on earth you are merely imprisoned for stealing sixpence, on Mars you are probably boiled alive.


Being a beggar, he said, was not his fault, and he refused either to have any compunction about it or to let it trouble him. He was the enemy of society, and quite ready to take to crime if he saw a good opportunity. He refused on principle to be thrifty. In the summer he saved nothing, spending his surplus earnings on drink, as he did not care about women. If he was penniless when winter came on, then society must look after him. He was ready to extract every penny he could from charity, provided that he was not expected to say thank you for it. He avoided religious charities, however, for he said it stuck in his throat to sing hymns for buns. He had various other points of honour; for instance, it was his boast that never in his life, even when starving, had he picked up a cigarette end. He considered himself in a class above the ordinary run of beggars, who, he said, were an abject lot, without even the decency to be ungrateful.

A fantastic read, and if you happen to have an eReader, chances are you can download a copy for free from your local library – or you can read it online at ->


Happy reading! Happy writing! Happy Friday!

If you have any books you love and would like to recommend them to me, please list them in the comments below.