So, I've been reading...

Well dudes, I have made it to 30.Thirty books. I have read a total of thirty books in my lifetime.

I am proud to say it, although a little shamed that Ben Mezrich is the one who helped me cross the finish line. As I said in my last review of his book Bringing Down the House, he has become known as a bullshit artist. Passing off complete fabrications as non-fiction, thus whoring the entire genre. I feel like I've been cheated on.

Nevertheless, the books are good. They keep you reading. Actually, The Accidental Billionaires was really just okay. Long story short: An awkward Harvard drop-out started Facebook and made billions. Who cares. Everybody already knows that. The tagline reads "A tale of sex, money, genius, and betrayal." There is no sex in the book (not that I was really hoping for it), no incredible genius, and no real betrayal. Sure, there is money, but that is to be expected, and it comes rather anti-climactically. It is really just a dumb story about an odd kid. Not that great.

Busting Vegas was a great read, and definitely interesting, but Mezrich really overhypes the teams "genius" plan. They basically just do everything they can to try to see a card in the deck and wait for it to come out. Lame. Every moron in the world thinks of that the second they walk into a casino. To their credit, though, they did it pretty well - but anything can be perfected with hours and hours of practice. Plus - who really knows? Mezrich has lost all credibility with me.

Am I lowering my standards here? I feel dirty.

Anyway,

here is my newly updated list. All 30 books, in order.

  1. Superman: Doomsday & Beyond – Louise Simonson
  2. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
  3. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  4. Wild at Heart – John Eldredge
  5. Waking the Dead – John Eldredge
  6. Dangerous Wonder – Michael Yacconelli
  7. Messy Spirituality – Michael Yacconelli
  8. Run Like an Antelope: On The Road With Phish – Sean Gibbon
  9. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  10. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
  11. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
  12. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
  13. Searching For God Knows What – Donald Miller
  14. Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
  15. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kyosaki
  16. What Jesus Meant – Gary Wills
  17. No Shortcuts to the Top – Ed Viesturs
  18. Into The Wild – Jon Krakauer
  19. To Own a Dragon – Donald Miller
  20. No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green – Melody Green
  21. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men & Mountains – Jon Krakauer
  22. Under The Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer
  23. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  24. Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
  25. The Survivors Club – Ben Sherwood
  26. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  27. Bringing Down The House - Ben Mezrich
  28. Rigged - Ben Mezrich
  29. Busting Vegas - Ben Mezrich
  30. The Accidental Billionaires - Ben Mezrich
*By the way - to those of you who think I have cheated on my week off from Facebook because you saw this on there - my blog automatically posts to Facebook when I write something new. So suck it.

Top Ten Albums You Need To Buy

So I was thinking today about my favorite albums of all time, regardless of release date, popularity, coolness, or anything else. I have done lists like this before, but always with a thought in the back of my mind that I want to make sure I impress people with a full and complete list including something from all important genres. This list is different. This list doesn't care what anyone else thinks. These are my top 10 most consistently loved albums of all time. I love them, and all of you should too. Here they are, in order, with some comments about each:

10. God Shuffled His Feet - Crash Test Dummies

Amazing record. Most people just know the song "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm", which is a great song, but by no means the best. Highlights are "Afternoons & Coffeespoons" (video below), "God Shuffled His Feet", and "How Does a Duck Know". No one sings like Brad Roberts, and the music is deep and thoughtful, yet cheery.

9. The Last Waltz - The Band

Quite possibly the most most rockstar studded live show of all time. The Band is completely amazing all by itself, with Rick Danko pleading and crying into the mic, and the one and only Levon singing from the drumset like he was riding a tractor and farming a crop, but with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dr. John, and tons more sharing the stage, this show is just totally crazy.

8. Legend - Bob Marley & The Wailers

There has never been anyone like him and there will never be another. Any Bob Marley disc is fantastic, and this is definitely his best seller. Everyone loves Marley, and they should not be afraid to belt out "Three Little Birds" while walking down a crowded street, smiling.

7. Stop Making Sense - The Talking Heads

Holy crap. With an opener like Psycho Killer, featuring a solo David Byrne with an acoustic guitar and a 1984-era boombox sitting on the stage next to him playing breakbeats, only pure glory can be expected to follow. And it does. I would list the highlight tracks, but they are all perfect in every possible way. Literally.

6. Light Fuse, Get Away - Widespread Panic

The first CD I ever really jammed out on, this classic double disc from the Boys from Georgia will always make me stomp my foot and wrinkle my face into JB-esque southern grins. "Papa Legba" is always my favorite song when they bust it out live. It's just killer. "Porch Song",  "Love Tractor", and a cover of Clapton's "Traveling Light" will definitely bring you down to a perfect goodtime chill.

5. Live - James Taylor

Of course, James Taylor will make every top 10 music list I ever come up with. If you don't think JT can rock, listen to "Country Road" off this CD - and if that doesn't do it for you, hit up "Sun On The Moon". Amazing. Also, "Millwork" is strange and somehow grips me every time.

4. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan

There is almost nothing to say about this record that hasn't already been said. Every song is so perfect it can really never be touched. Historically, this should be number one on my list just out of reverence, but since this list is actual, it takes a supremely respectable #4 and a major tip of my hat. If not for this CD I would never have broken up with my first girlfriend.

3. A Picture Of Nectar - Phish

When I pressed Nectar into my CD player back in high school and "Llama" came on I was instantly hooked. I needed no further review. Then "Cavern" found its way into my brain and took me deep into a newfound underwater depth that is only Phish. I can't describe how amazing the drums are right before the precussionistic line "I snatched Rick's fork to scrape it off with deadly, icy calm."

2. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - The Neutral Milk Hotel

Without a doubt, the only perfect fusion of punk, bagpipe, and something else the world has yet to name. Jeff Mangum's voice is unlike every single other voice in the world. It is the voice of a guy who sings, but doesn't know how. It is hypnotic and maddening in that nothing else can be imagined in its place. "Holland, 1945" is and always has been one of my favorite songs of all time. The bass drum on "Ghost" will send you heaving into the wilderness.

1. The Arista Years - The Grateful Dead

Definitely the best CD of all time. A double disc set that includes literally everything you need in life, musically. I used to think the big hit songs were the best, but now I rock the lesser known gems, like "Picasso Moon", "Just A Little Light", and "Alabama Getaway". The Dead have it all, and if I were pressed to choose a band to listen to exclusively for the rest of my life. They'd be it. No hesitation.