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Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Ruins Broke My Slump

Over the past few years my ability to start AND finish a book has sort of gone out the window. I've mentioned before how I seem to start books ok-- but I usually fade out on them. Or get mad at them. Or decide the writer is a dick. Or boring. Or I get the basic gist and feel like that's enough. Or the book will feel like "required" reading. Even if I finish one, it doesn't push me to pick up another for months.

And lately, I'll be staring at the TV watching crap like The Two Coreys and be like, 'Psst. Dude, you are totally frying your brain out! Can you hear the sizzle sizzling? You need to read a book or something! Asap! Code Dumb! Code Dumb!' But instead of reading I'll just find myself poking around at internet nothingness or reading a magazine.

Anyway, at the airport in Los Angeles, I actually bought a book (really out of respect for books in general-- not really believing I was going to actually read it. I mean, now that there's TV screens on every friggin seat, it's not even possible to read books on a plane anymore. i'll usually just sit there and flip channels and slowly get pissed at television for grinning at me while running butt-twitchy victory laps in my brain.)

The book I bought was called The Ruins by Scott Smith.

Although I actually didn't read any of it on the plane. ( got drunk in Vegas and passed out for most of the red eye flight). When I got home I started reading it and I burned right through the thing. I stayed up one night and bit off 200 pages reading till like 4AM reading away all mental.

Granted, it's not a world changing book or some sort of literary "achievement" blah blah or whatever. And it had its issues. (Some substantial). But this book was chockfull of scary/creepy and gross tension. Enough to make me groan out loud while reading. Gotta like that.

But more importantly it somehow shook my reading slumber wide-awake finally. I've had a bunch of stalled attempts to get back into reading but I feel like this one actually jumpstarted my need to read like a motorcycle kick start vroom thing. So I wanna say thanks to the awful goodness of The Ruins. I'm already onto another book called 'After Dark' (which I'm liking-- not loving... but finishing). It's different enough. And it feels good. And I feel smarter already.

Plus, I'm psyched to leave crud like The Two Coreys in the dumpster of my personal time-- and give my brain something decent to chew on...

ok bye!


PS. Thanks again to Odd Todd's Ducky Ducks. Winning ducks are posted here.

PPS. What are you reading? Post here?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"reading makes you smarter"
Thats common sense, right?
Wrong! studies show that the "smartest" people are the ones that spend the most time in social situations. Having a weekly social outing like going to a bridge club will increase not only your cognitive abilities but will also increase your life span! So you are better off spending your time having lunch with friends than you are watching TV or reading scary, suspense novels!

August 12, 2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I try to read anything by David Sedaris. He's funny and I love his writing style. I usually have trouble getting into books, too. "Dress Your Family in Cordoroy and Denim" is a good one to's all short stories, great for those of us with ADD!

August 12, 2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm reading good husband great marriage by robert mark alter. a lot of married guys (or even guys about to be) in good, bad, seemingly self destructing marriages need to read it. i'm about 40 pages from the end, and it's been a good kick in the ass as my marriage has gone downhill a bit. now i see why. it's like someone finally explained me to me if that makes sense! but man what an eye opener!

August 12, 2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger *LiAnNe* said...

I'm huge into Dean Koontz books. Other than that, I don't read fiction. I'm almost done with "Mr. Murder."

August 12, 2007 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love James Patterson & Dean Koontz. Great writing styles and most are hard to put down.

August 12, 2007 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey tOdd, try Cell by Stephen King. Grabs you right from the first paragraph!!! Jinx from L.A.

August 12, 2007 4:31 PM  
Blogger DeeJay said...

I'm reading Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Very good book...but I need to make time to read other than at bed time. I read a few pages and then catch myself waking up. If you'd like to read it too...I'll mail it to you when I'm done, k?

August 12, 2007 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reading is gay

August 12, 2007 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Tender Bar" JR Moehringer. Best book I've read in past few years. Good New Yorker book.

August 12, 2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous tina said...

I read mostly cookbooks, books about food, and biographies. So, in lieu of going out to lunch with friends, I can read about food (instead of eating) and read about someone's life (instead of sitting and listening to it). And I never watch the boob tube.

August 12, 2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous talula0658 said...

Hello, Harry Potter anyone? I just read all 7 of them again. After I got the 7th one, of course. tOdd, you might like them. Also I'm reading all of Amy Tan's books. You know, the "Joy Lock Club" chick. And "Velocity" by Dean Koontz. Good happy fun summer reading time!

August 12, 2007 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Moore's books are my favorite. funny, quirky, good stuff, easy reading.

August 12, 2007 7:25 PM  
Blogger catsnjags said...

This past week I read:
"The Mayor of Lexington Avenue" by James Sheehan
"Rain Storm" by Barry Eisler
"The Big Secret" by Pete Earley
"The Tristan Betrayal" by Robert Ludlum
and tonite I will finish
"The Great Divide" by Frank M. Robinson and John F. Levin
.... I can only sleep for about 2 hours a night, but I force myself to stay in bed for at least 6 to give the muscles a rest..
Spend those hours reading.

August 12, 2007 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Dede said...

Hey Todd,

How 'bout writing up occasional book reviews now that you got kinda jump-started on reading again...?

Just a thought...

August 12, 2007 8:45 PM  
Anonymous texasgirl said...

Am reading "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be." A really good parenting book!

August 12, 2007 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Nikki-Rose said...

I'm reading the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. I'm nearly done with the third book and this is the second time through the series.

The 5 books in the series are:
Clan of the Cave Bear
The Valley of Horses
The Mammoth Hunters
The Plains of Passage
The Shelters of Stone

Really good series set in pre-historic times when cavemen and modern day humans shared the earth.

August 12, 2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous pink from seattle said...

Harry Potter 1
Harry Potter 2
Harry Potter 3
Harry Potter 4
Harry Potter 5
Harry Potter 6
Harry Potter 7

Rinse. Repeat. Enjoy.

August 12, 2007 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got into a "dog book" kick and checked out about 10 of them at the library. So far, these 2 stand out as really great reads. Both are true stories and you can read them easily in a few hours. Perfect for the "Roscoe Dad".

"For Bea : The Story of the Beagle who Changed my Life" (Kristi Von Kreisler)


"A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me" (Jon Katz)
Happy reading!
Simgrrl in Seattle

August 12, 2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you are still totally watching the Two Coreys in secret, I can tell.

Currently reading: "Heat" by Bill Buford.

- Court-nay

August 13, 2007 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though it's getting pretty old now I still can't stop recommending "Youth in Revolt" - probably the funniest book I've ever read.

August 13, 2007 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently on The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands. - but less than 100 pages to go. Then its onto book IV.

August 13, 2007 9:11 AM  
Blogger Odd tOdd said...

I actually did read the first 3 Potter books but I gotta admit I couldn't tell you the plot of any of them specifically. They sort of all blur out for me. Does 4 get that different from the basic core plot situation thing?

August 13, 2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous krazykatlady said...

I'm currently reading (struggling thru really) Devil in the White City. It's about Chicago 1890s when they had the World's Fair, and a serial killer amongst them. It's very slow so I know how you feel on the "required reading" part. My dad just moved to Chicago, so I thought I could learn a little history.
I had previously just finsished "Candles Burning" which is a good ghost story by Tabitha King(Stephen's wife) which she finished for Michael McDowell(he died before it was completed) VERY GOOD BOOK

August 13, 2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you liked "The Ruins," you will love love love everything by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They wrote "Relic," which was a crappy movie, but a FANTASTIC book.

They've written a ton of great books, but you HAVE to read them IN ORDER. Start with "The Relic" and go from there. Their website is

August 13, 2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous kelly said...

good job reading, todd. The same thing happened to me. I read two books in one week after years of not reading anything other than mags - they were chick lit tho and kind of sucky.


August 13, 2007 12:17 PM  
Blogger Corinne said...

"bonfire of the vanities" by thom wolfe

August 13, 2007 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Monday - R. Scott Reiss

Something has invaded most of the world's gas supply, thus rendering a majority of internal combustion engines inoperative. Planes fall out of the sky, food sits rotting, people get hungry and the natives grow restless.

August 13, 2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

LOVED The Ruins!!!!! So good. You should read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Yes it's part of Oprah's book club, but I read it before she mentioned it and it's really really good. Dark, and mysterious. Awesome Read

August 13, 2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey todd please read catch-22

August 14, 2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Theo said...

You might like "The Man Who Was Thursday" by G.K. Chesterton. It's short.

August 14, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger elle said...

Recent reads were "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin (wild and crazy guy writes.enjoyable and quick), "Grief" by Andrew Holleran (depressed, grieving guy contemplates middle-aged gayness-zzzz), Night Watch" by Sarah Waters (deep chick lit with bombs and lesbians-confusing yet captivating), "Harry Potter 7" (so much better than 6-really enjoyed it except for the cheesy epilogue), "Five People you Meet in Heaven" (cute little novel-made me cry). And "Paths and walkways : simple projects, contemporary designs " by Hazel White(i like to garden). Now I think I'll go to the library and get an armful of books so I can balance them precariously and play chicken with some strollers on 7th avenue. hehehe

August 15, 2007 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Also, read 'Everything Is Illuminated' by Jonathan Safran Foer, and 'The Shining' by Stephen King. Kubrick TOTALLY ruined the story - WAY scarier in the book.

-Yma in Cali

August 29, 2007 8:01 PM  

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