Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"McSweeney's Recommends"

McSweeney's Internet Tendency is an offshoot of a multimedia publishing project started by Dave Eggers, author of You Shall Know Our Velocity and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

There are various features at the site worth checking out, so check it out.

One feature is "McSweeney's Recommends," where they recommend "many different kinds of things, from films to hairstyles, all of which have been researched, tested, and submitted to a month-long stay at a resort for people who appreciate the finer things in life, before finally being voted on in a democratic manner resembling that of our forefathers."

Here are some of the books and writers recently recommended:
"Discovering" a writer who has already published a bunch of books
We recently became acquainted with the work of Eric Kraft, who is highly recommended, but what makes it even better is that he's published like 10 books, none of which we've read, which means we're pretty much guaranteed a bunch of great reads in the coming months. Same thing happened with Steven Millhauser a few years ago.

U.S.! by Chris Bachelder
Mr. Bachelder is a friend, so take this recommendation for what you will, but his new novel, U.S.!, centered around a perpetually reanimating Upton Sinclair, could be the best book we've read this year.

Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips by Jim DeRogatis
Really just recommended for fans (or maybe fanatics) of the Lips, but if you are a fan, this book is great fun.

Cobra II by Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor
A "contemporary history" of the planning and execution of the Iraq war. Resolutely nonpartisan (the back blurbs for a previous book by the same authors come from Dick Cheney and Clinton cabinet member William Cohen). Basically proves that the fucked-up situation was caused by Donald Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks's piss-poor management and the complicity of Vice President Cheney and President Bush. Also demonstrates that the actual soldiers who see combat are incredibly brave, flexible, and intelligent. If we'd listened to them, the country wouldn't still be in this God-awful mess.

Anything written by Michael Ruhlman
We previously recommended his book Walk on Water, which is about an elite pediatric surgical unit. We've since read more of his books and they're all good. Even when you think you might have no interest in the subject, it turns out you do.

Click here to read chapter one of Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

--Marshal Zeringue