The Shrubbery
June 1999
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The Shrubbery Staff's Favorite Books

The Shrub is nothing if not an exercise in literacy. Here are the books that have made us who we are today. To order any book from Amazon.com, simply click on the title.

This Month's Featured Book List:

Jessica Brandt, Managing Editor

If I Never Get Back By Daryl Brock
This is my all-time favorite book. It combines real history with fiction, baseball with Mark Twain, a mystery, and a romance all in one. Highly reccommended to any baseball fan, or any history buff.

A Show of Evil By William Diehl
This is the sequel to Primal Fear, which is one of my favorite movies (haven't read the book.) It's just as suspenseful and clever as its predecessor. Scared the pants off me at one point.

To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee
An absolute classic. This book really draws you in, and looks at the sensitive topic of racism in the south through a child's eyes. It's very very powerful. Harper Lee and I share a birthday...

Moby Dick By Herman Melville
"What?? That's a schoolbook!" Yes, I know. I had to read it for school as well. But it really is interesting. I suggest picking up the Cliffs Notes and skipping some chapters (like the scientific chapter on whaling) so you understand it better. It's also a book you'll have to read more than once. However, once you've read it, listen to Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" and tell me it's not a song about that book...

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is a book by a swinger, for swingers, and about swingers. The best book to come out of that era, and it tells a great story. I read it again and again.

Ghram Crackers By Ghram Chapman
A really great look at this Monty Python genius. It came out after his death, so there's a lot of great things in there from the other Pythons as well as Ghram's "1ife partner" and adopted son. Funny as 'ell, too.

Growing Up Brady By Barry Williams
I must admit, I read this book twice. It has behind-the-scenes looks at the Brady Bunch, as well as a synopsis of every episode (at least from Barry William's perspective.) By the way, he played Greg.

Hatchet By Gary Paulsen
This is juvennile fiction, I think, but it was the first truly great book I ever read. I just read it again a few weeks ago. Very powerful writing. Check out ALL of Paulsen's work (including Winterkill.)

The Chocolate War By Robert Cormier The first of many incredible books by Cormier. He is also juvennile fiction but I read a lot of his stuff in high school. You must read I Am The Cheese, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, and The Rerutn of the Chocolate War. All very incredible pieces of work.

Very Important Reference Books:

The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits

The Complete TV Guide 1948-present

The Blockbuster Video and Movie Guide


Other Staff's Picks:

Adam Bresson

Book List:

On the Road

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Traveler's Tales Food : A Taste of the Road

Penn & Teller's How To Play With Your Food

Route 66


Gordon Dymowski's Top 10 Books That Make Damn Good Reads, in No Particular Order

Buddy Babylon: the Autobiography of Buddy Cole by Scott Thompson & Paul Bellini

If you're a KITH fan, and enjoy Buddy's monologues, read this book! It's an easy read, and is an instant classic. Take a journey with Buddy throughout his wacky, Huckleberry Finn-esque life. It's that good. Sell off your younger siblings, if you have to, to get this book.

The Groucho Letters by Groucho Marx.

If anyone could be considered Buddy Cole's forefather in wit & verbal humor, it's Groucho Marx. Read his letters to assorted famous people, his family, etc. If it gets your butt over to Blockbuster to rent old Marx Brothers movies, all the better.

Kingdom Come by Mark Waid & Alex Ross

This was a big four issue comic miniseries back in 1996, and dealt with the "nature of heroism". Whatever. Just groove on the painted art, and some of the in-jokes (trust me, in one panel, you'll see the Monkees! Honest) and you'll be fine.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

This book - a comic in and of itself - is a scholarly look at comics. This book will not bore you. It's very entertaining, and may even get you to read more comics. It's worth reading.

Buzz: The Science & Lore of Alcohol & Caffeine by Stephen Braun

Are you a coffee achiever? Like downing tequila? Well, here's a book that explains how and why the two most widely used drugs - alcohol & caffeine - work. This is no boring science lecture - you should be able to finish this book in a few hours, and be entertained all the way through.

Savage Art: the Life & Works of Jim Thompson by Robert Polito

Jim Thompson wrote a lot about rednecks, self-delusional heroes, and people on the fringes of society. (Trust me, you'll never look at law enforcement the same way again after THE KILLER INSIDE ME). This book is a biography, but it does some excellent work on giving a profile on one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. And hey, after you read this, go buy all of Jim Thompson's books. You won't regret it.

The Straight Dope: A Compendium of Human Knowledge,

The Return of the Straight Dope,

More of the Straight Dope,

The Straight Dope Tells All by Cecil Adams

I've saved the best for last - Cecil Adams, who writes THE STRAIGHT DOPE column, is democracy in action. He answers questions that the people need answered, such as "How do you get Teflon to stick to the pan?", "What are the lyrics to Louie, Louie?" and "What is the Trilateral commission?" Cecil is America's smart guy, and to not read his books should be a capital crime. Trust me, people, a little Cecil is good for the soul. Read him. Worship him. Now.


Todd McCafferty, columnist, Klank Klank You're Dead

My 10 fav fab books:

in no order

James Joyce - Ulysses

Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things

J.D.Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five

Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man

Umberto Eco - Focault's Pendulum

Dante Alighieri - The Inferno

Neil Gaiman - The Sandman Graphic Novels

George Orwell - 1984

J.R.R.Tolkien - The Hobbit


Jason Morrison, Editor-in-Chief

J.R.R.Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings

Herodotus - Histories

Voltaire - Candide

Kurt Vonnegut - Timequake

Isaac Asimov - Foundation

James Gleick - Chaos : Making a New Science

Robert A. Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land

Jean-Paul Sartre - Existentialism and Human Emotions

Frank Miller - Batman : The Dark Knight Returns

Peter David - Q-in-Law


Dan Strohl, columnist, Angry Dan

The Crow graphic novel by James O'Barr

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Rage by Richard Bachman/Stephen King

The Long Walk by Richard Bachman/Stephen King

Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Long Valley by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurty

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare


Ryan Glowczewski, columnist, I Don't Shut Up

10. Out of Bounds: Jim Brown- This book has shaped my thoughts and opinions more than just about anything else. It's the raw and uncut story of a man who's known for football, but who is much, much, larger than mere sports.

9. Ender's Game: Orson Scott Card- I think I've read this one over fifty times. The whole series (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and *** I'll tell you later jason***) is excellent, but this one is the best. The science fiction isn't important, it's just setting. The struggles of someone forced to grow up too fast is. Oh yeah, and it's neat.

8. Bomb The Suburbs: William U. Wimsatt- I don't think it's possible to write a better book on hip-hop. Even if you could care less about hip-hop or rap music in general you should read this. It contains perhaps the most enlightened view on racism ever written by a white author. I cab't recommend a book more.

7. It: Steven King- you can laugh at King as literary fodder any time you want, but read this book and try to go to sleep with the lights off.

6. Happy Trails: Berkley Breathed- The final Bloom County compendium... I always, always cry at the last strip.

5. Attack of the Deranged, Mutant, Killer Snow Goons: Bill Watterson- If anyone disputes Calvin and Hobbes as the best comic strip ever, you should be examined. My favorite volume.

4. The Dark Night Returns: Frank Miller- The finest Comic Story ever. Batman is probably the most recognized name in comics, and this is the world's greatest dective being elevated from myth and legend into godhood.

The Big Three...

3. Cerebus: Dave Sim- Did I say the last entry was the finest comic story? Dave Sim's masterpiece is beyond comics. This may be the finest piece of Fantasy ever created. This is high literature indeed. Start off with high Society, even though it's the second volume, go to the first after words. But beware, once you start you can't ever stop. The scariest thing is that the story is not yet finished.

2. The Hitchhiker's Trilogy: Douglas Adams- I am UNDERestimating when I say i've read the first three books over ninety times a piece. I can't believe there is a more interesting or funny piece of fiction out there. This is the Starships and lasers equivalent to Monty Python. Read it now, but avoid the Tv series byb BBC like the plague.

1. Anything: Isaac Asimov- I can't say what you should start with by Dr. A. The mass of fiction is bigger than anything else out there. A good place to start would be by finding a collection of his short stories. Then hit up the Foundation series. Don't forget the Caves of Steel/The Naked Sun/Robots of Dawn Trilogy... once you make friends with (R.) Daneel, you'll miss him if you don't reread the books every few months.

John Hansen, columnist, Canadian Content

1) Summerset Maughm - The Razor's Edge

2) Robertson Davies - Fifth Business

3) Stephen Fry - The Liar

4) Mordecai Richler - The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

5) Douglas Coupland - Microserfs

6) Oscar Wilde - The Importance of Being Ernest (okay a play, then)

7) Armistead Maupin - The Tales of the City Series

8) William Gibson - Neuromancer

9) Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

10) Leonard Nimoy - I Am Spock


Wernau, contibutor

1. The Hitchhiker's guide the the Universe (Douglass Adams) (all five..you ahve to read all of them)

2. THE SECRET GARDEN (I'm a romantic nut)

3. SYBIL (This book made me want to become a psychologist...true story, amazingly written)

4. LUSCHER'S COLOR TEST (this book is translated from Germana nd impossible to find except in College libraries...it's a psychological test I did a project on and I foiund it extremely interesting)

5. The Catcher in the Rye-J.D. Salinger

6. The Eye's of the Dragon-Stephen King (his best book...not gorey, but dungeons ans dragons and mysteries)

7. Level 7-(science Fiction about the end of the world...it's cool because it is written in the first person)

8. A Midsummer Night's Dream -William Shakespeare ( I performed in Weston, England in a production of this play and I thought it was absolutley the coolest show I have ever done.)

9. A WRINKLE IN TIME- Madeline L'engle (the only book I've ever read twice)

10. Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book- (It still helps me sleep and I think Dr. Seuss is a genious)


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