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Elfin Books, Movies, and More...

I support reading in all its forms. Even the junior high girl who reads nothing but trashy romance novels is at least reading, and that is a good thing. Did you know that reading has been shown to actually improve IQ? Granted, romance novels won't inspire any deep critical analysis of the state of the universe, but it is a step in the right direction, as is, I think, this list. With that in mind, I thought that you all might like to hear some of my recommendations for cool shit produced by the human race.

Books  Movies  Albums  Music  Games 



A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. You'll have to read this Pulitzer Prize winning book to get a feel for this one insane man's loony ride through life.  This book was published in 1980 by Toole's mother after he committed suicide in 1969.  The story is hilarious, witty, inventive, and sad all at once.  Copyright 1980.  Random House.

Bad Haircut by Tom Perrotta. A collection of short stories woven into a novel about the joys, trials, and experiences of growing up in the 70's. This is probably my favorite book.  Copyright 1994.  Berkley Books.

Keeper of the Moon by Tim McLaurin. An auto-biographical telling of this incredible man's North Carolina boyhood. It speaks to a great many personal values that I believe Americans should pay more attention to. It is incredibly well written and thought provoking.  Copyright 1991.  Doubleday.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. An amusing account of this man's final tour of Great Britain before moving to the United States, after having lived in England for twenty some years. If you've ever been to the U.K. you'll laugh every other page, if not, you'll laugh every fourth page. (Check out other travel books by Bryson, as they are all funny and enjoyable reads).

Last Days of the Dog-Men by Brad Watson.  This incredible collection of short stories speaks of the animal nature of humans and the human nature of dogs.  These tales affect the reader on many levels, and will haunt you in a pleasant way days after you've read the last story.  Copyright 1996.  W.W. Norton & Company.

Alien Sex edited by Ellen Datlow. Forward by William Gibson. This fairly interesting collection of science fiction stories explores relationships between humans and various other non-human entities. Most of the stories are pretty good and provide interesting insights into the relationships humans have with each other. The collection includes Larry Niven's famous Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex piece about the peculiarities of Superman's sex-life with Lois Lane. Copyright 1990. ROC.

Cowboys are My Weakness by Pam Houston. This is a collection of stories about smart, strong women who search for love with men who may or may not be good for them. Houston's narrators make no apologies for their weaknesses, and neither do the men in her stories. These are stories about women with a desire for men who can love them, but at the same time still be men. The best thing about all of these stories is Houston's incredible voice. Read and learn. Copyright 1992. Washington Square Press.

Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut. Supposedly the last book Vonnegut will write, this is the first one by him I read. All I can say is read it; it's by Kurt Vonnegut. Copyright 1997. G.P. Putnam's Sons.

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. Wow. All I can say is wow. Say what you will about his fascination with bears, incest, and other odd sexual parings and innuendos. This man is a genius. He is clearly one of the best writers of our time. His stories are intricate, well plotted, entertaining, and engrossing. This book is no different. My only criticism is that some of the ending on this one seemed a tad forced, but hell, they guy makes sex with your sister believable. Read it. Copyright 1981 by Garp Enterprises, Ltd.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I love this book. I recommend reading this book about every 4 to 10 years. The last time I read the book I was like 14 or 15, and it was funny and amusing then, but I just read it again and it was still funny. It's the kind of intellectually wacky galactic-dork humor only people who are willing to accept the goofy and absurd will find entertaining, so of course I like it. You will too. Copyright 1979. Crown Publishers, Inc.

Joe College by John Perrotta. Well I had to read this after loving Bad Haircut so much. (See above). It's pretty hard to write a whole book about your experiences in college that anyone besides you would want to read. Perrotta actually pulls it off though with his understated humor, interesting and likable characters, and his ability to touch upon key moments of truth in life. What is great about this book is that it is vastly deeper than what the the story's events initially present. Perrotta controls the whole story from the beginning and takes you right where he wants you to go. Give it a read. Copyright 2000. St. Martin's Griffin.

The World According to Garp by John Irving. This book and The Hotel New Hampshire are my two favorite books by Mr. Irving thus far. Garp is a remarkable story, full of imagination, romance, heartbreak, and hope. Many people view this as Irving's best novel. They may very well be right. Copyright 1976. E.P. Dutton.

A Widow for One Year by John Irving. What can I say? I got on an Irving kick. This is an imaginative love story. It is worth reading, as most John Irving is worth reading. Having said that, I wonder if Mr. Irving doesn't get away with being just a tad long-winded simply because he is John Irving. I mean if you were John Irving's editor, wouldn't you, when in doubt, say "Fuck it. He's John Irving." I think I would. I found myself wishing Ruth, the main character, would get the hell out of Amsterdam and get on with her life. Also, I found Eddie O'Hare so pathetic I couldn't care about him. Read the book, and see if you agree. Copyright 1998. Ballantine Publishing Group.


Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, all having something to do with that pretentious genius, Quentin Tarantino.

Anything George Lucas was ever involved in, except Jar-Jar Binks, or however the fuck you spell its friggin' name.

The Usual Suspects- This movie is pure genius.

Anything John Woo has made is good, even if I haven't seen it.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Big Lebowski- The Cohen brothers' nearly flawless tale involving rug urination, a severed toe, nude art, Vietnam memories, bowling, and Nihilism with a fascinating parallel to the US involvement in the Persian Gulf War. It also has Sam Elliot. Check out the phenomenal soundtrack.

Braveheart - William Wallace kicking major oppressor ass all over Scotland!


A Fish Called Wanda

American Beauty (and pretty much anything else with Kevin Spacey).

Mystery Alaska

Oh Brother Where Art Thou - Man those Cohen brothers are frickin' geniuses!

For reasons of brevity this list will change over time, so that you might be exposed to new and fun things.


The Joshua Tree, U2 **

Rumors, Fleetwood Mac **

The Dance, Fleetwood Mac

Appetite for Destruction, Guns & Roses **

Surfacing, Sarah McLachlan ***

Whitechocolatespaceegg, Liz Phair ***

So Tonight That I Might See, Mazzy Star ***

Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes **

Drag Queens in Limousines, Mary Gauthier

Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi ** Hell, really anything by Bon Jovi. They just ROCK! Go on. You can't listen to their music with an open mind and not get into a good mood.

Anything Metallica produced before 1992

Anything John Mellencamp produced from American Fool through Human Wheels

Any Henry Rollins spoken word

Anything by Simon & Garfunkel

The Dave Matthews Band produces some good stuff.

Lately I've been really enjoying some stuff by John Prine. I'm not normally one for country, but his music really speaks to me. He sings about life, love, and times both good and hard, but in a light yet meaningful way. Now I sound like I'm full of shit. Just listen to him and you'll see what I mean.

Finally, any songs with the words fuck, brain, pig, or death in the title are probably pretty good.

** If I could only own ten albums for my whole lifetime, this album would be one of them.

*** If I could only own thirty albums for my whole lifetime, this album would be one of them.


Update: After an interesting conversation with some of my chums, many of whom are music buffs, I have decided to at least begin telling you people what or who the best bands/artists, albums, and songs of all time are - according to me anyway. I hope you give every single one of these a listen if you haven't already. Of course, if you haven't already heard at least some of these, you are either in a third world country or the Bible belt. Note: This list does change quite a bit over time for me but, no matter what, all of these entries are on my top twenty list.

Top Five Bands/Artists of All Time:

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The Rolling Stones
Pink Floyd
The Beatles
Elton John

Top Five Albums of All Time:

The Joshua Tree - U2
Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Rumors - Fleetwood Mac
The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel

Top Five Songs of All Time:

Piano Man - Billy Joel
Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
That's Why They Call It the Blues - Elton John
American Music - Violent Femmes
In Spite of Ourselves - John Prine with Iris Dement

As a postscript thought, it really is almost absurd to try to pick a Top Five list of bands, songs, or albums. I mean there are so many great musicians out there to be sampled. And let's not forget all the artists out there who well never make it into the national eye, but may very well be producing amazing music. I suppose I have just made my lists above pointless, but I'll leave them up anyway as a humble beginning for list makers everywhere.


Axis & Allies
Spin the Bottle (at least, it was fun when I was a kid).
Anything involving Jarts

Books | Movies | Albums | Music | Games

Well, that's enough frivolity for now. I'll change and update this list as often as possible. For the few people who have read through the above list out of some sense of duty, I give you thanks. If you read the above list for fun, I admire you, so thank you too. If you're still interested in this land of Elfin Love, stay tuned, there'll be more to come.

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