All Chuck Palahniuk books here.
Chuck Palahniuk is best known as the author of Fight Club, the classic novel that was also made into a classic film. The novel opens with the memorable line “Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s bushmen got into my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.”
From there on we learn the tale of a milquetoastish individual who discovers his Nietzschean will to power via the machinations of the mysterious Tyler Durden. The first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club.
The author also went on to write several equally unusual books. Link above.
We call it personal branding, but the catalog uses the terms below. Had a question about this so I’ll pass it along.
Self-perception.(note: this mixes in how others perceive us with other topics)
Patricia Highsmith is best known for her crime novels The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers On A Train – both made into classic films. But she also wrote a lot of other novels and short stories that feature such disparate subjects as animals taking revenge on cruel people, giant snails, and icy and claustrophobic tales of daily life.
In fact, it was the giant snails that got me as a kid. A professor goes in search of legendary giants snails on a Pacific Island and, well, he does find them.
There’s also the dinner party at which the host’s cat brings in a finger, a mysterious furry thing that lives in the birdhouse that may or may not have gotten into the narrator’s house and lots more stories guaranteed to put a chill in your heart.
All Highsmith books here..
All Walter Kirn books here
Walter Kirn is an American novelist and journalist who has written for several prominent magazines as well as being the author of Up In The Air (which was made into an excellent film starring George Clooney).
His most recent book is Blood Will Out (link to a review of the book, signin required) – a fascinating nonfiction account of his relationship with a con man with a murderous past. Excerpt from the review linked above:
“Powerful people fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center.Kirn was targeted for something else. At certain moments of lucidity, Kirn self-flagellates over his phony pal, and the reader feels a little sorry for him. (Yeah, yeah, but first: “In 1975, when I was twelve, my family packed a U-Haul van, snapped a Yale padlock on its rear loading door, and left predictable rural Minnesota for burgeoning, anarchic Phoenix.” Even Walter Kirn‘s hardware is pedigreed.) Kirn writes, “Maybe my egotism was a homing beacon. Maybe it made me a more attractive mark.”
This was the central characteristic of Rockefeller’s frauds–and Crowe’s, and Chichester’s, if not Gerhart’s: their puffed-up prey. The prey who needed some insecurity polished by having nobility, American or otherwise, within their lives. There were the wealthy old ladies threatened by the middle-class-ification of their town. There were the Wall Street men who wanted to employ a broker who was to-the-manor-born and had connections in Hollywood. Then there was the management consultant who wound up leading her firm’s work for Michael Bloomberg and Charles Schumer; her Rockefeller connection could not have hurt her there. And of course there was the educated, snobby journalist on the make, looking for a story and an entrée into society. The people who accepted Gerhartsreiter in his various grandiose guises had hustles of their own. Powerful people within a nation ostensibly impervious to aristocracy fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center. Gerhartsreiter’s joke was on them.”
Here are some books about setting personal goals and keeping them!
Whether it’s time management, getting healthy, practicing that musical instrument, saving money or whatever, these books will give you the psychological habits needed to make your goals a reality!
All Robert Aickman books here.
Robert Aickman was a master of the “strange story.” His style is related to MR James and the ghost stories of Henry James, but Aickman has his own voice. Enigma, vibe and alienation are some of his hallmarks.
Literature Resource Center sums up one Aickman story:
In “The Inner Room,” collected in Sub Rosa (1968), a woman narrates the story of an incident from her early childhood in a struggling family that later splits apart. She receives as a birthday gift an enormous dollhouse that contains a mysteriously inaccessible inner room. Later in life, she visits what is apparently the actual house on which the dollhouse was modeled and comes close to discovering a nameless horror in the inner room, which signifies the hidden life of dream–or rather dream as reality, which creates emotional peril when repressed.
Donna Tartt (link to our books here) s a best selling author whose principal theme is the moral seduction of working class innocents who are drawn into the world of glamorous but dangerous wealthy people.
Here’s a review of her work (about her famous debut The Secret History) from Literature Resource Center.
“The Secret History is less a mystery–the killers are revealed on the first page–than “an exploration of evil, both banal and bizarre,” in the words of Martha Duffy in Time. The story is narrated by Richard Papen, a transfer student who disavows his own middle-class upbringing to gain entrance into an elitist circle of students. “The gradual moral seduction of Richard is all the more cleverly revealed by its depiction in his own voice,” commented Andrew Rosenheim in the New York Times Book Review. As Richard becomes accepted by the group, he learns that four out of the five other members had participated in the bloody murder of a farmer who interrupted their late-night “bacchanal.” When one among the small coterie threatens to betray this dark secret, that person, too, is killed. “Tartt shows a superior sense of pace, playing off her red herrings and foreshadowings like an old hand at the suspense game,” Duffy stated in Time. In the New York Times Book Review, Rosenheim praised Tartt’s “skillful investigation of the chasm between academe’s supposed ideals and the vagaries of its actual behavior” and further commented that her prose was “at once lush and precise.” Nancy Wood, reviewing The Secret History in Maclean’s, believed that Tartt “is strongest when she finds poetry in everyday events: the sights and smells of a campus, the familiarity of certain television shows.” The Secret History, Wood concluded, “stands out as well written and original.”
I can recommend wholeheartedly The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs.
This book pretty much sums up the current cutting edge approach to presentations – honesty, passion and preparation. External appearance doesn’t matter so much as authenticity.
There are also tips on how to organize a presentation. For example, define an enemy or problem and show the audience how your idea overcomes the problem. Also create an a-ha moment that the audience can take home with them mentally.
Along the way, the book also discusses the correct use of slide images and text behind you and the correct use of props. Lots more in this one – check it out.
Barbara Ehrenreich Is a journalist and writer who is willing to tackle some very tough subjects. You may have heard of her book Nickel And Dimed: On Not Getting By In America. The author took a series of low paying jobs to see if you could actually make ends meet. It makes for some pretty interesting reading!
My other favorite book by this author is Bright-Sided. This book has a very interesting idea: that Americans mistake critical analysis for pessimism and this inability to address our problems damages social discourse.
Recommended for anyone who wants a good read and people interested in current affairs.
Link to review of Nickel and Dimed in Dissent Magazine
Five jobs and three cities later, Ehrenreich concludes that many of today’s jobs don’t pay enough to support one person—much less a whole family. She works two jobs at a time andeats “chopped meat, beans, cheese and noodles.” But in all three cities, rent gets the
better of her economy. “You don’t need a degree in economics,” she writes, “to see that
wages are too low and rents too high.” But this is a mathematical conclusion, which could
have been made with the aid of a calculator. By taking these jobs herself, Ehrenreich is able to capture the material details of workplace indignity.”
Interested in writing nonfiction, international journalism, or some of the best reportage ever put on paper?
Check out our Rsyzard Kapusckinki books (yes, we have them in English).
Kapusckinki wrote about colonialism in Africa, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Soccer War in Central America (my personal favorite and you’ll have to get the book to get the whole story).
Often travelling outside the major cities, Kapusckinki regales us with stories of lemonade stands in Central Asia, the circular logic of policeman at an African road checkpoint, mountains of frozen ice from perpetually broken pipes in Siberia, and his comical attempts to navigate a city during a wartime blackout.