Tag Archives: powell’s

Being ‘Damned’ with Chuck Palahniuk

On October 18th you’ll have your chance to journey down to hell with Madison Spencer, a thirteen-year-old girl whom regardless of the putrid scenery is determined to make the best of things. Unsure of how and why she is there, she befriends what has been labeled as ‘the Breakfast Club in hell’.

Palahniuk’s clever and often humorous portrayal of hell and all the ways one can find themselves there will keep your turning pages, wondering how a girl like Madison could possibly end up in a place inhabited by a myriad of demons from various cultural mythologies, a waterfall of shit, a vomit pond, a river of hot saliva, and other foul landscapes. Everyone worth knowing ends up in hell, but what Madison has that none of the other inhabitants have is hope. Despite being the chubby cast off to boarding school kid of celebrity parents, she is determined to make her death better than what her short life turned out to be. By making friends, discovering that she’s not in hell because of an overdose of marijuana, like she had previously guessed, she is able to muster up the strength and candy (the currency of hell) to storm the gates. ‘Damned’ is a fun ride, and once you’ve read it come back to me so we can discuss the end. Seriously.

You can pick up the book on Amazon.

There is a short/small tour planned, which kicks off for those of us in the Portland area on the 18th (the book’s release date). It’s a ticketed event, hosted by Powell’s Books at the Bagdad Theatre at 7pm.  The cost of admission gets you a pre-signed copy of the book, and Mr. Palahniuk will be giving a talk and answering some questions.


10/1/10 – 10/1/11, A New Hope

So, yesterday I read this blog post by Chris Guillebeau.

Well, he was guest blogging on the Powell’s website for the week. So, over the week I’ve grown quite attached to this guy’s ideas. I even ordered his book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. I’ll tell you more about the book after it arrives and I read it. You can support your independent bookstore and order it from Powell’s for 10.47$ or you can do what I did (cause I read a lot and I’m cheap) and buy it off Amazon for 5.99$

Okay, back to my point. So basically if you read through the blog post you’ll see that Mr. Guillebeau has written a very lovely article about a year of learning. So after some thinking this through I decided I am going to do this year program with a couple modifications.


So now I’m going to lay this out. What I plan to do to enrich my pathetic ass life over the next year.


I want to make sure this is all credited properly. So, I’m not going to repost his article. Here’s what we’ll do. You can read his article. But what I’ll do is post a numbered list of what it is I plan on doing for the next twelve months of my life. Part of this plan will involve blogging more. You’re excited. So here goes:

10/1/10 -10/1/11

  1. I’m going to do as Chris suggests and subscribe to The Economist and read every issue. Why the hell not.
  2. I’m also going to spend a few hours and as Chris also suggests and memorize the names of every country, world capital, and current president or prime minister in the world. Because I should know this stuff.
  3. Here, he suggests some international travel. I’m going to be honest, I have never been out of the country. And yes, before you can protest, not even to Mexico?? No. Not even to Mexico! I’ve been by the border a bunch of times, but no. I know it’s been close to where I’ve lived out most of my life. I get it. So here goes. I’m going to pick two very different countries than he suggests, because it will be cheaper/easier to make this happen. I’m going to get a passport and sometime over the next twelve months I’ll go to Mexico, and also Canada. I’ll venture further later. Lets just start there.
  4. Like he suggests I’m going to read the principle text of these four religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam & Buddhism. I will also visit the places of worship that belong to these religions. The religions schedule is as follows:

Judaism: October, November, December

Christianity: January, February, March

Islam: April, May, June

Buddhism: July, August, September

I will be blogging about my experiences with these religions bi-weekly on Saturdays starting on 10/9/10

5. I’m learning German. I’m doing this by (as he suggested) subscribing to a podcast that I will listen to 20 minutes a day five days a week. I’ll let you know what I pick and how useful it is. I also picked up a whole slew of language learning books from the library. I need someone to practice with, but I’ll figure this out and add it in when I don’t feel as lame navigating this language.

6. I want to do this one, maybe later in the year. We’ll get back to this.

7. I’m going to acquire three shiny new skills. I’ll devote four months to picking up each skill. My new skills (and not in order) will be:




8. I’m going to also do as he suggests and read 30 non-fiction books over the next twelve months (that’s 2.5 a month – I’ll put up a list after I decide what I’m reading & yes, there will be blogging) & 20 classic novels, as follows, but not in this order:

  1. The Odyssey – Homer
  2. Walden – Thoreau
  3. Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None – Nietzsche
  4. The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway
  5. War and Peace – Tolstoy
  6. Pride and Prejudice – Austen
  7. Moby Dick – Melville
  8. Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky
  9. Don Quixote – Cervantes
  10. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
  11. The Scarlett Letter – Hawthorne
  12. The Sound and the Fury – Faulkner
  13. A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens
  14. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Stowe
  15. Winesburg, Ohio Anderson
  16. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
  17. Persuasion – Austin
  18. The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky
  19. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Lawrence
  20. The Iliad – Homer

9. Yes yes yes. I will do this one too.

10. Yes I will find some way to get comfortable with public speaking. I’ll figure out how later. We’ll return to this.

11. I’m blogging now. So now I’m starting a bit of a blog schedule. I will do the bi-weekly religion blogs plus random updates on this commitment, but also I will watch two movies I have never seen before and blog about them once a week starting this Sunday and every Sunday after for the next twelve months.

12.Done. I set my homepage to Wikipedia, random article. And I will read the whole page. Every time.

13. I’m gonna start listening to Grammar Girl. Done. And I bought this book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott off Amazon used for a couple dollars.

14. I also ordered this book (and yes I’m adding these two to my non-fiction list) that he suggested: The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs, again off Amazon. I paid 4$ with shipping.

So that’s it. This is what I’m spending the next year of my life doing, among other things.