Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Title:  Haunted

Author:  Chuck Palahniuk

Paperback:  412 pages

Date Published:  2006

Publisher:  Vintage

ISBN:  9780099497172

Looking back, it was Mr. Whittier’s stand that we’re always right.

“It’s not a matter of right and wrong,” Mr. Whittier would say.

Really, there is no wrong.  Not in our own minds.  Our own Reality.

…In your own mind, you are always right.  Every action you take – what you do or say or how you choose to appear – is automatically right the moment you act.

…We’re all condemned to be right.  About everything we can consider.

In this shifting, liquid world where everyone is right and any idea is right the moment you act on it, Mr. Whitier would say, the only sure thing is what you promise.

“Three months, you promised,” Mr. Whittier says through the steam of his coffe.

It’s then something happens, but not much.

In that next look, you feel your asshole get tight.  Your fingers fly to cover your mouth.

Miss America is holding a knife in one hand.  With her other hand, she grips the knot of Mr. Whittier’s necktie, pulling his face up toward her own.  Mr. Whittier’s coffee, dropped, spilled steaming-hot on the floor.  His hands hang, shaking, swirling the dusty air at ech side.

Saint Gut-Free’s silver bag of instant crepe Suzette drops, spilled out on the cornflower-blue carpet, the sticky red cherries and reconstituted whipped cream.

And the cat runs over for a taste.

Her eyes almost touching Mr. Whittier’s, Miss America says, “So I’m right if I kill you?”

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, pages 60-61

Hauntedby Chuck Palahniuk is the stories and poems within a bigger story that is the shadow of the truth.  It is the camera behind the camera behind the camera, as is often said in the book.  It’s the story of a collection of strangers who have all answered an ad about a writer’s retreat, but find it’s a lot more than they bargained for.  Mr. Whittier, the operator of the “retreat” tells them that they’ve promised to write and, for the  next three months, he intends to hold them to that promise.  However, there is an unfortunate hiccup in the plan when Whittier dies from a busted gut after eating the equivalent of 10 freeze-dried turkey dinners.  Now the strangers are on their own, locked in an abandoned hotel/theater, each with their own guilt and story to haunt them.

From a psychological/sociological point of view, this book is fascinating.  It’s  a bit like Lord of the Fliesin that it is the witness of the de-evolution of society.  How depraved can people get?  How little humanity will be left at the end of the three month period?  When food runs out (because they’ve all sabotaged the supplies) what will they eat?  That they are all there as writers and artists, what will they do with this time they are given?

It is a dark look into the human soul.  The Missing Link states that it is how we treat the animals around us that shows our humanity… the cat disappears shortly after he says this.  Director Denial makes a statement again and again that people turn each other into objects, then turn objects into people.  Points are made that humans have  a low threshhold of tolerance to boredom, that we seek out a villain to blame all our troubles on, and that we thrive on chaos, drama and disaster.  There’s no joy like the joy found in another’s suffering.  That all this drama and difficulty is to prepare us for our final act, our own death.

While these are the concepts that drew me to this book, I found the book itself a bit on the boring side.  I kept falling asleep… though, that may have been because I couldn’t nibble while reading due to the nauseatingly disgusting content.  Haunted has more canabalism in it that the Donner Party was ever accused of.  The graphic descriptions of the toilets backing up, the cooking of a baby, and decomposition were enough to make me gag. 

This is only my second Palahniuk book, Rant being my first, and I’m aware he can be a bit disgusting and warped.  One review I read said that Hauntedwas for the true Palahniuk fans.  I’ve got a few more of his books on Mt. TBR, but I think I’m going to wait for a while before reading another by him… let my stomach settle.  It’s definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

Even though it was gut-churningly gross, the intellectual appeal was enough to keep me reading on.  I give Hauntedby Chuck Palahniuk 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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One of my favorite parts of my Border’s newsletters is the shortlist.  When Palahniuk’s book Snuff came out, the following video was his shortlist offering.  I think it was this vid that made me want to read more Palahniuk (as well as pick up Clown Girl)

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Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #3

Question: Why do Texans wear pointy-toed cowboy boots? answer at the end of today’s factoid.

Oh no! Gonna vom

Does anything eat facial hair?

There are bugs that will eat just about anything, including facial hair. The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, is a large, brown, winged cockroach, about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) long. This cockroach is commonly found in the southern United States in tropical climates, and will often be found living in sewers. It will eat practically anything including leather, book-bindings, glue, flakes of dead skin, and soiled clothing. It has also been known to munch on the eyelashes, eyebrows, fingernails, and even toenails of people while they are asleep.

OMG, I am actually having to choke back the vom right now. Seriously, several things went through my head as I copied this factoid. Huge winged cockroaches like from the horror movies. They’ll eat book-bindings, oh no, not the books! They eat eyelashes and eyebrows Oh no, not the eyelashes and eyebrows again! I wonder if they’ll eat the mites, though… Gawd, I’d rather have the mites! Then the things they do while their victims sleep! I remember hearing stories at the meat packing plant *lots of roaches there, btw!* about people who didn’t clean their earplugs going to the doctor for an earache only to have a baby roach pulled out of their ear. AND children living in filthy conditions who have sores from where the bugs had been nibbling on them as they slept.

hand me a bucket!GAG!!!!!!!!!!

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry 😀

Answer: So they can kill the cockroaches in the corners! -Dan Rather on the Late Show with David Letterman

Viral Video – Burger King Bath

Would you like fries with your shake? A soda with your cheeseburger? Some TOE JAM on your Caesar Salad? Say WHAT?!?

As I was watching the 11 o’clock news last night… and again this morning…. and, AGAIN a few minutes ago (other than the Olympics, this seems to be the hottest news going), I was exposed to a sight even I, weird as I am, would have never thought of.

When you retire, some places give you a gold watch (didn’t make the baddie in SPEED happy, he used his to blow up the bus), others give you a clock and a party (my mom got that when she retired from Delco), and some lucky few get a hefty check as a way of saying, “Thanks for all you’ve done” (or, don’t let the door hit’ya where the good Lord split’ya!). I guess the thing to do when leaving Burger King is to take a bath in the sink.

It seems “Mr. Unstable”, as he calls himself, had been thinking about bathing in the dish sink for two months before taking the plunge. Apparently, the stunt was part of his birthday celebration.. some people have cake and presents, others get drunk, but only a select few get a spa treatment in a restaurant sink! I wonder if that “sanitizer” is a good exfoliate…

Scrubbing himself with utensils, he continues his bath even after a manager is informed. The manager simply shook her head and continued counting the cash. When Burger King corporate found out, all those involved, or uninvolved as in the case of the manager, were fired, all the utensils were thrown out, and the sink was sanitized… twice. As an added precaution, all remaining employees were retrained in safe food handling. I can just here the new training video: Always wash your hands whenever you touch your face, and NEVER take a bath in the utility sink.

Okay, HONESTLY, after I’m done laughing like a hyena, this video is disgusting. But not in the way you think, they’ve sanitized everything and my BK is safe. What makes this video disgusting is that someone thought to film the stunt, the manager thought little to nothing of it (would she have been just as indifferent if he was spitting on the sandwiches. a far more likely occurrence), and that we live in a day and age this stupid prank is a national news article that trumps wars, starvation and human suffering. Yeah, it’s weird. Yeah, it’s gross… I wouldn’t wash my dishes in the bathtub. But is it more shocking than the child molesting police officer (local news, here) or what’s happening between Georgia and Russia.

Another thing that makes this gross is: If this hadn’t been video-ed and posted on MySpace, the health inspector and Burger King would have never found out. Everything would have gone on as normal. Yuck! And I’m sure they used those utensils and sink the next morning… They didn’t throw them out and double-bleach the sink until AFTER the video was shown to the corporate and civil authorities.

Eastwood Mailman made the point that this shouldn’t be a shock; these are the very people we trust to make our food in a healthy and sanitary way. And I have to agree with him. I worked in fast food, like most teens, and I KNOW things that happened. That patty that fell on the floor is only dirty if someone sees, or those fries can be redipped to count as the “fresh fries” you asked for, and I KNOW not everyone washes their hands on backline after wiping a booger off their nose… not to mention, GAWD KNOWS where that booger landed!

Man, Weezer should have waited a little bit longer!  So… Who wants a Whopper for supper?

Booking Through Thursday -Holidays

Booking Through Thursday

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Oh good golly! I have been busy with the Jane-a-thon, and have finished Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park. I’m just about cross-eyed from Austen. I had forgotten how different the language is! Austen English and American modern English are at times so different it’s almost like a foreign language. I cannot tell you how many times a character has commented about another by saying, “You look fagged!” meaning “you look tired”, and Lady Bertram’s proclamation, “I am so very stupid!” wasn’t a self-deprecating comment (could that even be possible? She never wanted for self-esteem.), she was just commenting on feeling sleepy. Anyway, I think I’ll take in a few modern reads before returning to Austen-land (I’ve got that book on Mt. TBR, too.) and reading Emma.

I’ve already been cheating on Jane anyway. I’ve been reading Nam Le’s The Boat. I really love it. It’s compelling and sucks you in. Remember the Tom Riddle’s Diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? The boat pulls you into the lives and events in the pages like Riddle’s diary. The Boat is a book of vignette-like short stories about characters from different parts of the world. The first story has enough reality and truth that I wonder if it is a recounting of a real occurrence between Nam and his Ba (father in Vietnamese). I’m dying to throw Jane over so I can dedicate myself to Nam. Yes, he's that good!

I also picked up a book at Waldenbooks Tuesday called Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers by Fancesca Gould. It’s GROSS. It’s TRIVIA. It’s GROSS TRIVIA! It’s chalk full of nasty facts like various uses for human flesh, ie book covers, furniture and suits (I ate his liver with some favre beans and a nice Chianti *slff-fff-fff-fff*) I’m going back tomorrow and get a second copy to giveaway with the review. It’s a really fun book to have and read to people Bwaa-haa-haa

Yesterday, like several other bloggers, I received an email saying my review for The White Mary by Kira Salak is wanted. So that ARC is top o’ the Mount. I read the introduction today and it sounds really intense. So I’ll be hopping to on that one.

Other books to be read very soon are: Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant and Khaled Housseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. I will also be reading Dick Gibson’s Rob Grant Trilogy, then offering the set as a giveaway.

Other things worth mentioning: I have added a couple pages and sidebar boxes. Be sure to check out the Giveaways and Contests page, there are a lot of free books to be had! I’ve also posted my inventory of Mt. TBR… feel free to suggest what I should read next. And check out the authors box on to the right. I haven’t got many yet, but check back from time to time as I add more.

Last but not least, don’t forget to enter to win a $20 Borders gift card in My First Ever Giveaway!