Summer Reading List by Roy Christopher


Roy Christopher has assembled his annual summer reading list, which includes book recommendations from several of our friends and former guest bloggers.

Gareth Branwyn:

A trend I’m noticing in books recently is that there are an increasing number that trade in danger – anti-Nanny State books. No, not those Dangerous Book for Boys and Girls. Those are rubbish. I’m talking about books like Theo Gray’s tremendously awesome Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home – But Probably Shouldn’t (Black Dog & Leventhal) and Bill Gurstelle’s Absinthe and Flamethrowers (Chicago Review Press). Gray’s book has a bunch of enticing experiments that are so well-documented and gorgeously photographed, you don’t have to do them yourself, but if you decide you want to, Gray tells you the real dangers involved and what you have to find out on your own to do them safely and successfully. Treating us like adults. What a concept.

My friend Bill Gurstelle’s book first looks at reasons for living dangerously, mapping what he calls the Golden Third, those people who take risks, who aren’t afraid to live a certain degree of risk,… but not too much risk. Be too risk-taking and you might not survive, not reproduce, don’t take any risks, and you won’t move the culture, innovation, etc. forward. All the action is in that Golden Third. After these ruminations on the why of living dangerously, he gets into some projects and activities, the “art” of living dangerously, from “thrill eating” (stuff like fugu that can theoretically kill you) to Bill’s main bailiwick, teaching you how to spectacularly blow shit up (hence “flamethrower” in the title).

Richard Metzger:
Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back by Douglas Rushkoff (Random House, 2009): Ever get the feeling that you’re trapped on a hamster wheel of predatory “Corporatism”? An unwitting participant in a system that you didn’t sign up for in the first place? What happens when the operating system of the corporate Moloch runs amok.

Never Trust a Rabbit by Jeremy Dyson (Duck Editions, UK, 2001): Great macabre short story collection from the silent member of The League of Gentlemen. “Never trust a rabbit. They may look like a child’s toy, but they will eat your crops.” Hungarian proverb.

Summer Reading List by Roy Christopher


  1. Rabbits are scary. They have those red eyes which look like they can pierce your soul. I think their depiction in Courage the Cowardly Dog is spot on.

  2. Hmm I have my doubts that “never trust a rabbit” is really a Hungarian proverb. Anyone know for sure?

  3. It’s not a Hungarian proverb, at least not in that form. Neither my Hungarian family nor the Hungarian proverbs book available on Google books has it.

    There is the expression of “trusting the garden to the goat” which is equivalent to having the wolf guard the henhouse.

    1. I was in a store once where I overheard a woman with a mysterious accent tell the proprietor, “In my country we have saying: if you can’t get dog, get cat!” and then storm out. It was like an outtake from EuroTrip.

  4. As a resident of Portland, it makes me very happy to see that all the book links are to Powell’s Books.

  5. Just a few days ago I saw a rabbit hopping around in the pool area. He seemed fine. He’d go over and look at the water, then hop around a bit, then look at the water again. The he leapt out into the pool.
    I figured I’d let him swim around a little, just to tire himself, then I’d fish him out with the net-on-a-long-pole. I swear it wasn’t five minutes. When I got there, he was on the bottom, convulsing. I ran and grabbed the pole and fished him out, then layed him on the deck.
    His eye was horribly swollen, red, and bleeding. I picked him up by his hind legs and tried to bounce water out of his lungs, then squeezed his lungs to make him breathe. I’m sorry, but I don’t give mouth-to-mouth to wild animals- not if they display symptoms of disease.
    I laid him on a bench in the warm sunshine, and noticed that his other eye was fine. I hoped he’d be alright, but he was dead.
    It looked so much like a pain-induced suicide. Poor widdo wabbit.

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