Reading list for Jun.06

(Did I forget to list the books for May? I have no idea what I read in May...)

Title: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (or, Pearls Before Swine)
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Year: 1965
Publisher: No idea.
What: A short novel about this guy Eliot Rosewater who's the last trustee in line for the fortune of his family's Foundation, but he's sort of crazy and maybe going through a middle-life crisis. He splits from his wife then goes to this small town in the middle of nowhere and sets up shop as somebody out to help the underdog, also becomes a volunteer firefighter. Meanwhile, an unscrupulous lawyer sets his sights on amassing the fortune to himself.
Comments while reading: This is a very enjoyable and funny book that makes you think- Vonnegut's trademarks. Even though it's not one of the author's most famous works- it's very low-key, in fact- it would make a terrific movie! I'm thinking Kevin Spacey as Eliot Rosewater, Teri Hatcher as his (ex-)wife, Donald Sutherland as Eliot's father, Senator Rosewater... also Alan Alda as the omnipresent Kilgore Trout... It would definitely become the no.1 feel-good movie of the year.

Title: American Psycho
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Year: 1991
Publisher: Don't know.
What: A couple of years in the life of Patrick Bateman, 26, living his life in the end of the 1980s as a Wall Street Yuppie by day... and a different sort of predator by night.
Comments while reading: Okay, you've probably seen the movie with Christian Bale in it a few years ago; it was a very good movie. Now forget the movie- it's a whole different ballgame; the movie feels like a dumbed-down, kindergarten adaptation of the real thing. Tons of sex, drugs, blood and gore. Also, there's something beyond all flash (and flesh?) and substance; not only it's a great portrayal of the times (1980s), but also an exposé? a critic? on the way we see ourselves and the shallowness of our instant-gratification culture.
Ellis is good; in fact I think this is possibly the best book I've read this year, maybe second only to Less Than Zero- by the same author. Ellis is really good.

Title: Superman in the Eighties
Author: (various)
Year: 2006; but a reprint of several 1980s stories.
Publisher: DC Comics
What: A paperback collection of assorted Superman tales during the 1980s, Pre- and Post-Crisis, with comments by writer/artist Jerry Ordway.
Comments while reading: Well, it's the last in a series of ten books; there's Batman's series from the 40s to the 80s and then Superman's too... and to be quite frank it's a bit of a letdown. The stories don't seem to follow any criteria, everything seems too random, there's a lost connection missing, no point at all. It's supposed to showcase and highlight the Superman stories from that decade but especially given the reboot the character underwent in '86 (past continuity was scrapped away and they started over from scratch) it comes off as too little, too late. That specific volume should be twice as thick, or at least focus on a specific era.
Or am I missing the point?

Title: Operation Shylock: A Confession
Author: Philip Roth
Year: 1993
Publisher: Forgot.
What: Philip Roth, the author himself, travels to Israel in the search of a man using his name and his face to support the idea of a reverse-Zionism, preaching that the very existence of the Jewish people is compromised by having them living in Israel itself. The author's double calls for a massive exodus of Israel and back to their native pre-War European homelands through the creation of an organization called "Anti-Semites Anonymous", for a worldwide reversal of anti-Semitism. Throw in the Mossad and the PLO and you got one hell of a thriller. Or at least, an an existential thriller if such a thing exists.
Comments while reading: Of course it's fiction- and despite the supposedly serious overtones there's an underlying humor all through the novel. Roth is very ironic and you gotta keep your eyes open for the funny bits mixed with the serious narrative.
Not being Jew myself and actually being at a loss as to most of their... stuff... I was a little off as to many passages and quotations. Still, you don't have to be a Jew to enjoy it- even though Roth’s got his own specific idea as to his demographics, his target-audience…
Also, the theme of the doppelganger has always fascinated me. Actually I feel that a great deal of my attraction to comic books stems from the extensive use of doppelgangers throughout comicbook history (Bizarro for Superman, Black Adam for Captain Marvel, Prof. Zoom for the Flash, etc).
But I digress...
Also, the Tzaddik is actually mentioned on the last page, and I read it and thought, “This is so cool.”

Anyway, I’ve just started with How we are Hungry, a collection of short stories by Dave Eggers, and next in line is Cat's Cradle by the aforementioned Kurt Vonnegut.
After that, I dunno. I was browsing over George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, and Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days and they both seemed interesting, but it's too early to tell.
...Which reminds me, it's time to place my next orders with the bookstore. What to read next, what to read next.