Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I probably still practice several vestigial customs I picked up while working at a bookstore, but the most inconvenient is the need I still have to read books from the store's own bestseller list, which was updated every week, and comprised mostly of Jonathan Lethem novels, Brooklyn-themed cookbooks, and New York City walking guides. This is the best reason I can give for my having picked up a perfumed copy of Chuck Palahniuk's 2008 novel, Snuff. Another reason being that as of January 1st, Koch and I officially became squatters and all my worldly possessions, including as-yet unread books, are in boxes. So when I finished Jean Vautrin's excellent novel Un grand pas vers le bon Dieu (think Marcel Pagnol/Clint Eastwood western/Oedipus Rex), to Half-Price Books I went.

When I bought Snuff, goddammit I already knew I hated Chuck! (His last name is too annoying to spell out all over again, so I'll stick to Chuck.) Five or six years ago I read Haunted and almost fainted during the part about the guy masturbating in the pool and then having his anus...well never mind. The short of it is, he loses all but a foot of his colon.) What I'm trying to say is, Chuck generally has no qualms compromising his writing in favor of gross-out, shock-fest pulp. To which I, and other like-minded Brooklynites, are not immune. This, for example, is a short excerpt from the description of the dust jacket of Snuff: "Cassie Wright, porn priestess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication." Sold!

What the dust jacket doesn't mention is that the main reason Chuck chose to write about a porn star is to showcase the many ridiculous punny titles to old school porn flicks he's thought of over the years. Here's a (relatively) short handful to give you an idea: Sex with the City, The Da Vinci Load, To Drill a Mockingbird, The Postman Always Cums Twice, Chitty Chitty Gang Bang, The Wizard of Ass, Gropes of Wrath, World Whore One, World Whore Two, World Whore Three: The Whore to End All Whores, Moby Dicked, A Midsummer Night's Ream, Much Adieu About Humping [sic], Lassie Cum, Now!, The Ass Menagerie, Catch Her in the Eye, A Separate Piece, Bang the Bum Slowly. All before page 30.

On top of the cheap laughs are gaping plot holes (why, exactly, does a woman lie to her adopted son and tell him Cassie Wright the porn star is his mother? comes to mind) and an outlandishly gory and blood-spattered account of a bikini wax. I finished this book on a plane and immediately rushed to the nearest bookstore in the Charlotte airport to get The Girl Who Played with Fire. Swedish rape will ease the pain.

What comes up when you Google image "Chuck Palahniuk Snuff".

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

J. Edgar

Unsure what to do on the first of the new year, Koch and I decided to spend a gorgeous sunny day in the movie theater. The flick: Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar". I liked it quite a bit. It's a lot like "Brokeback Mountain" but with more make up and less heterosexual sex. Sometimes I could barely recognize Leonardo di Caprio under all that paint.