Patton Oswalt

5 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: February 2015

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books we've read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Rachel Tyner: Wool started as a standalone short story about a post-apocalyptic Earth and then the author self-published it through Amazon! Howey then added four more short stories and dubbed it the “Silo” series. He followed up Wool with the Shift and Dust series. I’m 89% done with Wool, but I’m loving it!

El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo

Sean Tuohy: British journalist Ioan Grillo explores the root causes of the Mexican drug wars and the grow of the "Narco" culture in this in-depth book. Filled with interviews from cartel members, cops, government officials, traffickers, and victims of the drug war, Grillo's work sifts though the blood-soaked headlines, trying to discover the cause of the war and how best to end it. 

God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger

Daniel Ford: I read Léger’s novel in two nights. Yet another blizzard had dumped a couple of feet of snow on Boston and I was ensconced in my apartment with only the faint hope of spring. However, God Loves Haiti provided some real warmth to go along with the manufactured heat I found inside my bourbon bottle. As I mentioned in my recent email interview with Léger (podcast interview coming soon!), the author utilized an innovative structure that allowed him to illuminate experiences and themes that developed during the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Léger’s heart and soul is evident on every page, every line of dialogue, and in every character. Don’t just dream about warmer and optimistic times this winter, read this book and experience them in full splendor.

Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt

Robert Hilferty: Amazing retelling of being a comedian, growing as an artist, and movies. Excellent read.

Telegraph Hill by John Nardizzi

ST: Gangster, private detectives, and dirty lawyers fill the pages of this fast-paced and well thought out mystery from our favorite Boston PI/author John Nardizzi. Echoing with old school toughness, Telegraph Hill never stops twisting and turning. A Boston private detective is hired to locate a missing woman in San Francisco, but what looks like a simple missing person cases explodes in to a journey through the seedy underbelly of a city.


10 Books You Shouldn’t Be Without at the Beach This Summer

The perfect summer reading view

The perfect summer reading view

We’re going to let Frank Sinatra sing us into our roundup of great summertime reads:

If you have any summer reading you’d like to recommend, share them in the comment section or tweet us @WritersBone.

Florida Road Kill by Tim Dorsey

ST: Tim Dorsey is the reigning king of Florida fiction and that is because he understands the kooky landscape of the Sunshine State better than any other human. In his first novel, Dorsey introduces us to a cast of whacked, greedy, and blood-thirsty characters that you can only find in good ol’ Florida. Dorsey’s tour of Florida craziness will make you want to find a lawn chair and park in the shade on some beach.

The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery: A Comedy of Terrors by Peter Sherwood

Daniel Ford: Yes, I’m biased because Peter is a friend of mine and was kind enough to do a podcast interview with us. However, summer is meant for fun and Sherwood’s book is tremendous fun. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I still find myself chuckling thinking about the antics of the main characters. I’ve never highlighted more delightful passages on my Kindle. Give it a read while swaying in a hammock…but watch your head!

The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life by Robert Evans

ST: Evans is a legend. He sums up the craziness of Hollywood’s past. He helped bring some of the biggest movies to the screen; “The Godfather,” “Love Story,” and dozens of other movies. Evans is also the man who helped create the modern day blockbuster. His very personal and revealing biography gives us a firsthand look at his rise to Hollywood big wig. From his highest highs to his lowest lows, Evans is upfront and never flinches while telling his story. Enjoy this travel down the back roads of Hollywood pool side.

Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin

DF: I read most of this book sitting by a pool in Florida in February. It’s the perfect summer biography; it’s light, entertaining, and funny. There was no celebrity that enjoyed being a celebrity less than Carson, which makes his life all the more fascinating. I recommend drinking a lot of booze while reading this. Just don’t try to keep up with the people in it!

A Life in Men by Gina Frangello

Heather Kuka (Life enthusiast and Writer’s Bone contributor): The main character in A Life of Men is dying of cystic fibrosis and the story is about her friendship with her best friend, who dies unexpectedly, leaving the main character alone. She starts living her life for the two of them instead of staying home with her doctors and parents. The book follows her relationships with all of the men in her life—lovers, her adoptive father, her biological father, brother, and, eventually, her husband.

It’s about how life isn't just about experiences, it's also defined by the people you share those experiences with. It also shows the complicated aspects of love and sex.

Kon-Tiki: Across The Pacific by Thor Heyerdahl

ST: Summertime means taking the boat out with your buddies. Unless the boat is a 4,500-year old shop that may have taken man west. Kon Tiki tells the tale of six Dutch adventurers who sailed on a log raft from Peru to the Pacific islands. If this does not get you in the mood to travel then I don't know what is wrong with you. The story is full of adventure –with tender moments as well—but overall it’s what men will go through to reach their goals. It’s an awesome read for the sailors of the world.

In the Woods by Tana French

Catherine Kearns (Daniel’s college cohort, mother of two, and Writer’s Bone contributor): I’ve read all four of Tana French’s books and I can’t wait for the new one to come out in August. All the books are connected in some way and always feature an ending you are not expecting.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

DF: Even if you’re not a runner, you’ll appreciate this tale that features running Tarahumara Indians, ultra-marathons, and Barefoot Ted. McDougall also makes a strong case that humans survived because we evolved into runners. This book will make you want to grab your running shoes and hit the pavement!

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt

ST: If you want to relax this summer and get a good laugh, pick up this tale of a comic’s life journey. Patton Oswalt lets you view the world through his eyes. Oswalt allows us to take glance at his early years as a stand up and shares his funny coming of age tales.

DF: There is no more original comedy biography out there. His stories involving a movie theater are laugh-out-loud funny.

Read Your Own Damn Book!

ST: This summer, you’re going to be outside enjoying the warm rays and cool air. Your brain is going to be pumping. Ideas will be flowing. Why not create your own story? Sit down and pump out your own story and read it back. Share the story with others. Get feedback. Repeat.