February 28, 2008

My Name Is Russell Fink ***

*** My Name is Russell Fink, by Michael Snyder, 2008

When I go to Nashville, which is not often these days, I have dinner with Snyderman if he can fit me into his schedule. We hooked up via email not long after Welcome to Fred came out. He's the guy that turned me on to Richard Russo. And Doug Coupland. And Lisa Samson.

I knew from reading Snyder's early stuff that it was only a matter of time before he got published. Then I read the toad-licker story and I realized that I didn't want to introduce him to my editor because I didn't need the competition. When you read an opening that goes:

“Kill the toad, man. Before it kills you.”

You know you're about to read something special. And it is. Read it. It's not that long and after you finish, you'll know if you want to rush out and get the novel or not. A few elements of that story made it into My Name Is Russel Fink, but not the toad part. Or the rock star part. Maybe in the next book. I really miss the toad. I got a chance to read Fink for endorsement. In the last 4 years, half a dozen publishers have sent me books for endorsement, some written by friends, some by strangers. I declined to endorse everything that I got. Until Fink.

I'm a pretty picky guy. I have ecclectic and highly subjective tastes. And I expect that when readers of the FredBooks see my name endorsing a book, they're going to be expecting something at least a bit out of the mainstream. And they're right. In this case, considerably out of the mainstream.

I'm not going to describe the plot of the book. You can find that in other places. Instead I'm just going to say, if you like the vibe of the toad-licker story, get the book. If you don't, stick with whoever it is that you read.

February 14, 2008


Speaking of book reviews, I found a great site. BlueRectangle.com does short video book reviews. They have hundreds of fiction and non-fiction reviews in 17 categores. They also have a store in Alameda, CA (just south of Oakland) and they buy books, in person and over the web. They have a review a day and an RSS feed so you can make sure you don't miss any reviews. When I saw they had a review of Wodehouse, I was sold.

Oddly enough, I just happen to be in Pismo Beach, CA this week and will be driving up to Sunnyvale on Monday. I wish my schedule permitted me to drive on up to their store for a visit, but that would entail at least an hour each way, if there's no traffic, and then I would inevitably end up with an extra suitcase of books to take back with me on the plane, so maybe not.

February 7, 2008

Action Plan for High Cholesterol ***

*** Action Plan for High Cholesterol, Arry Durstine, 2006

At this point you're thinking, "What? This isn't fiction!"

The point of the Wunderfool Reading list is to record everything I read in the year, not just the literary stuff. And I read this, so here it is.

2007 was the year for The Wunderfool to slay the glucose monster, as mentioned occasionally in some restaurant reviews on Eating Fred, Texas. It is safely laid to rest and 2008 is the year to tame the cholesterol beast.

If you're in a similar position, this is a good book to start with. Only 160 pages without the recipes and appendices, it's a slim volume. Durstine is a sports medicine guy and his focus is on diet and exercise, with a few chapters on medications and alternative treatments as well, which I skimmed, since my goal is to beat this without medication, which I don't want to pay for and can't remember to take anyway.

As I read the description of how the body process all this stuff, which is very complicated, I came up with an analogy involving frat guys and janitors and pimps to explain it all. Maybe one day I'll write it down for the benefit of posterity.

In the meantime, three stars if you're interested in controlling cholesterol. For you others, and you know who you are, up your life insurance.