I Don't Even Own a Television
This is a podcast about godawful books. Each episode, hosts Jay W. Friedman and Chris Collision sit down with some guests to discuss books that all of them wish they hadn't read. Humor, serious talk, progressive inebriation, who could ask for more?

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The country's in dire straits indeed, even when not listening to Dire Straits, and it's clear that only two men are literarily capable of breaking down the situation and empowering the masses with knowledge bullets to fell their foes, and those men are ... second-or-maybe-third-tier action protag dude Steven Segal and his pal (?) Tom Morrissey, who wasn't in any movies with DMX.

For this roughest of rides, only one man could show up and help us through the deep thickets of paranoid dog-whistling about a version of the Deep State (sic) that lurks just beyond every border, and also in our nation's capital, and also in TV stations and we could go on like this for some time, but luckily (?) Messers. Segal and Morrissey have gone ahead and gone on like that for us, and that man? Why, it's Jeb Lund!

Somehow, we make it through a couple hundred pages of magnificently clunky prose, pseudo-positive stereotypes bashing against horrifyingly offensive ones, head shots, manly banter that's torture to read, snake-heavy torture scenes, and more glancingly mentioned right-wing conspiracy theories than was probably healthy. But it's all fun, we promise. So if you're ready to step into the shadows and enter a state that's most deep, please: join us.

Keep in touch with Jeb's work here, and listen to his rad podcast, which just may soon feature a guest spot from some fellas you know, here!

 

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Work the Angles" by Dilated Peoples
  • "Apache Rose Peacock" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Cherry Coke" by Karate
Direct download: 11020-20Way20of20the20Shadow20Wolves.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 8:20am PDT

"The president is missing," you say? "Christ, I wish!" Sorry, that's not what this book is about, though. This episode drops the bucket down into the ever-reliable well of James Patterson and when we pull it back up we find that it's also got a few viscous droplets of ol' Bill Clinton mixed in. In The President Is Missing, we encounter a red-blooded, two-fisted kind of President of the United States, the kind of rugged leader who isn't afraid to...call terrorist leaders on the phone...or...go to a baseball game in disguise to meet with a possible source of information, the kind of guy with exactly two friends: a movie star who doesn't need anybody's help to resolve sexual harassment issues, and a venture capitalist who got rich on tech companies he brags about not understanding.

Look, we're not going to pretend this one makes a whole lot of sense. But hey, at least when this president drones on and on, it doesn't end up costing anybody their lives. If you're ready for a president who writes poems to square off against bad guys who thought of everything, but one thing they forgot: the United States has helicopters and knows how to use them, then you just might be ready for ... The President Is Missing.

 

Music:

  • "Funky President (People it's Bad)" by James Brown
  • "Adrenaline!" by The Roots
  • Theme from "Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja"
Direct download: 10920-20The20President20Is20Missing.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 2:41am PDT

We continue our trip around the world by following Amsterdam with a jaunt to Palo Alto, or anyway James Franco's grimdark version of Palo Alto. If you're still thrilled every time somebody says "Hi kids! Do you like violence?" this book may contain the pages you've been waiting for. If Sammy Hagar singing "you're like rock candy, baby—hot, sweet, and sticky" is how you like your descriptions of the act of physical love, this book may deserve a place on your shelf. Or, maybe, if you just have a serious thing for the products of creative writing programs, Palo Alto may satisfy. Otherwise, come along if you care—come along if you dare—take a ride to the land inside of Silicon Valley.

NOTE: this book contains serious quantities of objectionable content, including teen sex, not all of it consensual, violence, and racism and other forms of bigotry. Also, the author has been accused of inappropriate and exploitative sexual behavior, which we were not aware of at recording time: we apologize for not being aware of this. Had we known, we would have likely been much more critical of the book's content, or maybe not have discussed the book at all.

 

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Less Than Nothing" by I Hate Myself
  • "Suburban Home" by The Descendents
  • "What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock)" by Shaquille O'Neal ft. The Fu-Schnickens
Direct download: 10820-20Palo20Alto.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 6:23am PDT

Who's the guy who made the Cold War ... cool? Why, the American James Bond, Nick Carter, of course! And it doesn't get much cooler than Nick Carter, Killmaster: Amsterdam, a plot-light traipse through some of the more scenic parts of the Netherlands—and not a few excursions through some rather gratuitously described nether regions.Actually, it does get much cooler than Nick Carter, Killmaster: Amsterdam. What it doesn't get is much more tepid or forgettable. But when a vacation isn't going well, it's time to make your own fun! So we do, ranging from Gorilla Biscuits to Gorilla Unit and trying to gin up some suspense of some kind in a book that drops foreshadowing hints like this: "Nick noted that she kept the big flat artist's case with her, as she had on the plane, where she even carried it to the powder room. Its contents might prove interesting, or they might just be ad proofs and sketches of jewelry settings; it was not worth a move on his part—yet." Riveting, riveting stuff. Please feel free to mention everything that isn't worth a move on Nick Carter's part yet.

If you want to read more about Nick Carter, that's seriously weird. But we can recommend the Glorious Trash blog on that front. So. If you're ready for a trip, put on your red light, grab your wooden shoes and prepare to plant tulips right on ... Nick Carter.

 
 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Uniform" by Faberyayo
  • "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers
  • "Amsterdam Squeeze" by The Bonobo Project
Direct download: 10720-20Amsterdam.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 12:25pm PDT

The latest entry in the ever-popular "Actually, Focusing Exclusively on Yourself Is the Best Thing for Everybody" sweepstakes is Jordan Peterson's lengthy tome 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which doesn't promise to unlock the life-changing magic of tidying up, but does tell you what to do if you have snakes in your closet. (Not a joke. Actual quote. If you have snakes in your closet, maybe take a quick look at the tidying up one before you take on dosing rules to medicate against chaos...)

Come along as we pull our pants up—as doth the mighty lobster scuttling—and investigate this all-conquering best-seller and YouTube sensation. Disney movies, a lot of anxieties about infidelity, not nearly enough about dragons, and the most inexplicable references to Cain and Abel since Aerosmith's "Lord of the Thighs". J.'s mad, Clsn's taking some extremely long walks, and Peterson is flexing on chumps in the comments and welcoming them to his straw man slaughterhouse. So keep your head and arms inside the car at all times, sit up straight and OH MY GOD ARE YOU CHEWING GUM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU SPIT THAT OUT RIGHT NOW MISTER.

Note 1: Yes, the cold open is actually from the book. No, we don't know why it sounds like the first draft of the theme song from Friends.

Note 2: Yes, this is a self-help book. No, we didn't apply our usual rule for judging a self-help book: is this more helpful or less helpful than Ice-T's twitter account. Is this book more helpful than Ice-T's twitter account? LOL FOH

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "First Failure" by Gorilla Biscuits
  • "Father Figure" by George Michael
  • "Nothing Can Stop Me" by Heavens to Betsy
Direct download: 10620-201220Rules20For20Life.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 12:45pm PDT

Watery but not quite grave, it's Steve Alten's Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror that we're sinking our rows of nine-inch teeth into this time around. Giant prehistoric sharks known as megalodons butt themselves into ships throughout, making them, we guess, megs of ram, and oh boy do our heroes have a hard drive escaping these mighty predators.

It's a classic monster story, with all the trimmings: sad hero, back-stabbing friends—and enemies!—things going wrong one after the other, and terrible threats gaining a taste for the best blood of all, human blood! In the finest tradition, it includes the phrase "gouts of gore" and more jawsplaining than anyone could have expected. Grab your spyglass and prepare to shout "Hark! It's a shark!" This shark week, it's time ... for the brine.

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Baseball" by Michael Franks
  • "Moby Dick" by Led Zeppelin
  • "My Name is Jonas" by Weezer
Direct download: 10520-20Meg.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 2:52pm PDT

Straight out of 1979, with a cool glass of white wine and an extremely wide collar, comes Rona Jaffe's disturbingly fictionalized account of a disturbing apocryphal tale, Mazes and Monsters.

What promises to be a stirring exploration of the dangers of role-playing games quickly pivots into a fairly detailed account of ... divorce being hard. With a morality derived from TV for children and a sense of mental illness that would leave an X-Men comic shaking its head and muttering "Jeez, that ain't how that works", Mazes and Monsters brings the disappointment from some unusual angles. Even though it's extremely short, it's worth noting that we never talk about some parts of it, like the fact that after a while, they stop playing Dungeons and Dragons in a dorm room and start acting it all out in some nearby steam tunnels, because those parts literally don't matter. Finally, if you want to get up to speed on the book without having to read it, knowing that we strongly recommend you do not read it, you can do so by reading a Chick Tract (but please don't give them any money).

NOTE FROM J TO EX-BOY SCOUTS: Yes, I know it's actually called a "Totin' Chit" and not a "Woodsman's Chit". I was very tired. Please forgive me.

 

 

Recommendations:

  • Shirley Jackson, FSG CLassics: The Lottery + Stories
  • Joan Didion, South and West
  • Frederic Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent

Music:

  • "The Game (HHH Theme)" by Mötorhead
  • "Maps" by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • "Renaissance Lute" - John Dowland
Direct download: 10420-20Mazes20and20Monsters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am PDT

There's a few ways to get ready for The Bible Code, a giant hit from a bygone era that finally—finally!—solves the ancient puzzle: what if there were a conspiracy theory that was all Easter eggs but also absolutely no fun at all? Set the controls for the late 90s, just before the end of the world, and set your expectations to nodding politely while the crazy man tells you about the letters he wrote to a wide variety of world leaders.

Get ready to turn into Han Solo, because when this one is over, you will absolutely never want anybody to tell you the odds ever again. But you'll still have a good time exploring the book that turns the Old Testament into the BOLD Testament! Trust us, this is one episode you won't want to pass over.

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Channel Zero" by Canibus
  • "End of All Things" by Nomeansno
  • "Nuclear War" by Sun Ra and his Arkestra
Direct download: 10320-20Bible20Code.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 4:20pm PDT

For Part One of our Big Podcast Crossover Event, we bring in Kait and Renata from the Worst Bestsellers podcast to help us out with a bestseller that is, in fact, Just The Worst: James Patterson's The Angel Experiment: Maximum Ride.

It's supposed to be something like The X-Men crossed with Twilight with hints of Frankenstein and family drama, but it ends up much more like 1982's non-blockbuster film Six Pack with moderately less Kenny Rogers slash stock car racing and significantly less charm. Luckily, the Cheersome Foursome helping you come to terms with this eventful yet plotless morass deliver more charm than you can probably handle! If you're ready for six urchins, countless henchmen and somewhere between zero and one parents, you just might be ready to go on this wild slow minimum ... Maximum Ride.

 

Recommendations:

  • S. E. Hinton
  • Judy Blume, Superfudge
  • Hercule Poirot stories first published in Sketch, by Agatha Christie
  • Ghost Quartet, Dave Malloy
  • Animorphs
  • Runaways, Brian K. Vaughn & Rainbow Rowell

Music:

  • "Fly Like an Eagle" by The Steve Miller Band
  • "Call Me Mother" by Rupaul
  • "Scatman" by Scatman John
Direct download: 10220-20Maximum20Ride.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am PDT

Our first episode to be scored entirely by harp, harpsichord, and ocarina, it's the oft-requested short side story The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a book that would describe itself as "twee as twee" and that features a character who "smiles" twice, "grins" every third paragraph, and once sweeps a staircase...up. It's a fun read, like hanging out with a friendly goth who's happy to share their cloves and lots of handy tips about getting red wine stains out of velvet cloaks.

Snatch up your gathersack, because this episode is brimming with amiable whimsy that you won't want to leave behind, make sure you've got your best copy of The Crow soundtrack with you, and prepare yourself for ... a quick glance at noisemakers? No, silly! It's time for a rhyme that's quiet as a mime with a twist of lime: it's time ... for The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

 

 

Recommendations:

  • Line Hollis, "Line On Sierra"
  • Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Music:

  • Joanna Newsom, "monkey & bear"
  • Clutch, "the soapmakers"
  • Radiohead, "Everything in Its Right Place"
  • A YouTube Genius, "Seinfeld/Bizkit Mashup"
Direct download: 10120-20The20Slow20Regard20of20Silent20Things.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm PDT