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 nights lengthen, the days grow colder, and our allotted days slough away -- but, on the plus side, we welcome the world's best sportswriter, David J. Roth, to endure the 252 pages of book-like object The Boz, Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero, attributed to (or perhaps simply blamed on) Brian "The Boz" Bosworth and Rick Reilly. It's time to ask yourself: "Do you like football?" Well, we're talking about it either way.

What's this book like? It's like sitting next to a guy telling you -- lengthily -- about each of his conquering moments as a high school athlete while a sherry-drunk golf dad lazily jumps in to punch up the stories with rejected pitches to Mad Magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions". The episode, however, is like bathing your ears and very soul with three friends making fun of a guy telling you lengthily about each of his conquering moments as a high school athlete while a sherry-drunk golf dad lazily jumps in to punch up the stories with rejected pitches to Mad Magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions".

 

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Space" by Galt MacDermot
  • "Lester Hayes" by Maroons
  • "Smooth Operator" by Sade
Direct download: 94_-_Boz.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 12:43pm PST

Things get savage in the garden as we enjoy one of the best versions yet of the MORE OR LESS INNOCUOUS FAUNA ARE COMING FOR YOU genre with Shaun Hutson's Slugs. A nasty bit of work that runs the gamut from gory to incredibly gross, Slugs answers the eternal question "What if you gave a huge Iron Maiden fan three weeks to write a horror novel?"—and answers it well! Let us enjoy this slimy slide together! Trail along behind us, because if you weren't afraid of slugs before, you soon will be. This is one episode that will have you searching for that lost shaker of salt... so you can waste your way through the blood-soaked Gastropodville of...Slugs.

 

Recommendations:

  • Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
  • Elizabeth Drew, Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall
  • Supplemental recommendation: Slugdge

Music:

  • "Slug Line" by John Hiatt
  • "Tend My Garden" by James Gang
  • "The Chapter For Transforming Into A Slug" by Slugdge
Direct download: 9320-20Slugs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am PST

Grab your Dio tape and tug your jerkin into place, because it's time to get extremely barbaric with Robert Aspirin's sword and farcery romp Myth Conceptions -- and, best of all, we're joined by Dan Boeckner, of Wolf Parade, Operators, and others! Eat your heart out as we rock through a book that has more dad-joke density than an episode of Car Talk.

If you're ready for for a sub-epic quest full of military bluster and sexual fluster, then gird your loins, say goodbye to your loved ones back home, and join our party (we could use a healer). But be warned, stranger: 'tis a wild, wicked road we walk, and those who set out 'pon it never come back the same as when first they trod the path of puns, myth, and mirth. Indeed, most come back a little mirth for wear after sojourning in the land where the pun never sets. But if you're strong enough for it, and don't mind mything out when the going gets tough, then this may be the series for you.

 
 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "The Magician" by Return to Forever
  • "Tumbling Dice" by The Rolling Stones
  • "Brave Sir Robin" by Monty Python
Direct download: 9220-20Myth20Conceptions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PST

Take your broken wing(s) and learn to fly again, not with Mr. Mister but with Mr. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Mr. Richard Bach, in close formation with your friends Messrs. Friedman J.W. and Collsion Chris. This episode is certain to crack you up, as we scramble to lay out the metaphysical scheme Bach hatches for us—and, best of all, you won't have to shell anything out for our yolks!

For longime listeners who have been waiting for us to go Full Weed Dad, this should satisfy your darkest fantasies (assuming your darkest fantasies are lit by blacklight and prominently feature wizards holding bongs). If you're a new listener, no, we're not always this happy and positive. But yes—we do always love you this much.

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister
  • "Above my Butts" by Gang Starr
  • "Lesbian Seagull" by Engelbert Humperdinck
Direct download: 9120-20Jonathan20Livingston20Seagull.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 7:55am PST

Collin Yost's A Shot of Whiskey and a Kiss You'll Regret in the Morning is the book that made Marianne Moore write "I, too, dislike it" about poetry; it's the book that made the rock-and-roll clown from Metalocalypse say "man, this guy talks about cocaine a lot; it's by a writer who undoubtedly has made a number of bartenders mutter "Ah, Christ, not this guy again..." Our first foray into poetry finds us foundering but unflustered.

Choke down another shot and plan out your excuses why you can't hang out with him later—because he's gonna expect you to, guaranteed—but just know that if you read this book, you're definitely going to regret it in the morning.

 

Recommendations:

  • "Tacoma" (a game by Fullbright)
  • "Autobiography of Red" by Anne Carson / Norton Anthology

Music:

  • "Green Corn" by NOFX
  • "Saturday Night" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
  • "Panama" by Van Halen
Direct download: 9020-20A20Shot20of20Whiskey.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 2:43pm PST

By a writer who thinks he's hot shit (but is actually just a cold turkey), it's A Million Little Pieces, James Frey's fake memoir slash terrible novel. Lauren Parker drops by to help us get through what may be the worst book we've ever read, full of Man Pain, capitalized Nouns, and long passages about the universal passion of the most boring Americans, boxing.

Thrill to a baffled, hostile trio trying to come to terms with high-school level poetry like "I realize why dawn is called mourning." Enjoy a spirited argument about whether Frey's prose reads more like Evanescence, nü-metal, or youth crew—and if these references don't click for you don't worry: everything comes together by the end. Once we're done, you'll want to buy a copy of the book so you can follow James Frey around shouting his writing at him.

 

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Positive Hardcore" by Good Clean Fun
  • "All Lies" by NoMeansNo
  • "Mistadobalina" by Del The Funky Homosapien
Direct download: 89_-_A_Million_Little_Pieces.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 12:41pm PST

Worlds of Power No. 1: Blaster Master: a strange artifact, here, not as clumsy or random as fanfic, an elegant read from a more civilized age. Yes, what we have here is a novelization ... of a video game ... meant for children. But, due to one host's long-standing relationship with the work, we break our normal rules, and craft for you an episode that's chockablock with crackerjack infotainment, including a decided enthusiasm gap between your hosts, a rich vein of fun factage*, and even—yes—a brand-new game with its very own song! Significant blasting; much mastery: that's what you're in for.

So slip into your power suit and check the charge on your laser pistol, because it's time for Baby's First Body Horror. It's time ... for Blaster Master!

*Fun fact: this series of books was listed as by "F.X. Nine" because, depending on who** you believe, the series creator wanted kids to stumble over them when they were looking on the shelves for either Nintendo or Nine Inch Nails, neither of which we recommend you look for.

**whom***

***whomstdve

 

Recommendations:

  • Helen McDonald, H Is for Hawk
  • Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master's Son

Music:

  • "Elephant Riders" by Clutch
  • "Standstill" by Gorilla Biscuits
  • "Hot One" by Shudder to Think
Direct download: 8820-20Blaster20Master.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 1:48pm PST

Because sometimes there's a man, we won't say a hero, but what is a hero, anyway, who can take skycabs down the mean streets without himself becoming mean, because sometimes we need a hero, are holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night, but we don't need another hero, it's time for William Shatner's TekLab!

Like a cuddly Mike Hammer, or a Mack Bolan who wages a lonely war against evil but still remembers to call his girlfriend at the end of the day, TekLab protagonist Jake Cardigan is just the thing to slip into if you're looking for something comfy. Action! is the name of the game here, but not so much action that you'll get upset or anything. Intrigue! abounds, but is mostly reserved to "Hey, remember when we used to be enemies?" conversations, so don't feel like you have to take notes or pay all that much attention. Wisecracks! are everywhere, but they're not exactly zingers, so relax: you are more than welcome to join this battle of wits even if you're essentially unarmed. It's an enjoyable, easy read, and we hope you'll enjoy loping along with us.

NOTE: Yes, we know Shatner said some stupid things on Twitter recently; No, we don't particularly care. He didn't even write the book, people, and if you really need to take your political cues from an elderly Canadian, might we suggest Margaret Atwood or somebody?

Recommendations:

  • TekWar!

Music:

  • "Back to the Grill" by MC Serch
  • "Pure Energy" by Information Society
  • "Don't Sweat the Technique" by Erik B. and Rakim
Direct download: 8720-20Teklab.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 6:38pm PST

From the mind of Rush Limbaugh and four of his closest corporate lackeys comes Rush Revere and the American Revolution, a book in his "Time Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans" series; from across the pond, Kefin Mahon joins us to learn some American history from a book best described as "What if Ms. Frizzle was incompetent and evil?"...

Sneezing, hungry, time-travelling horses, troubled teens in war zones, meat pies with the Continental Congress, custom t-shirts and a history teacher with a disturbing fashion sense: this book has it all! Well, except for a plot, a decent editor, or a discernible reason for existing. But in the end, the real history was the friends we made along the way, wasn't it?

Anyway, enjoy this episode, where a charming Irishman learns about the American Revolution with a couple of revolting Americans and we all endure a book that makes an episode of Carmen Sandiego look seriously sophisticated.

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Bloody Revolution" by Warlock Pinchers
  • "Horses in my Dreams" by PJ Harvey
  • "Rush, Rush" by Paula Abdul
Direct download: 8620-20Rush20Revere.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 10:08am PST

Answering the question "Wha happens when you try to write a taut horror-thriller but forget to finish it and just publish your initial collection of scenes and scenarios instead?" it's ... You Were Warned, a couple hundred pages of hard and fast incompetence from the minds of James "The Franchise Maker" Patterson and Howard Roughan, "The Freshmaker."

WARNING: this book makes zero sense. WARNING: it's impossible to explain the cliche-per-page rate here. WARNING: it says right on the cover not to look. It's good advice.

Anyway, this is our first experiment with the works of James Patterson, and, without saying too much ... this is now a James Patterson-cast. So please join us as we ignore the warnings and plunge ahead into an unadulterated world of positively portrayed adultery, laughing girlfriends snarking on scarfing sushi, visions of dead dads and pulsing body bags, and trucks named Bob. Sound good? No? Well, anyway, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Recommendations:

Music:

  • "Girl, We Made a Promise" by Sunday Shoes
  • "Photograph" by Def Leppard
  • "Warning" by Notoroious BIG
Direct download: 8520-20Youve20Been20Warned.mp3
Category:comedy -- posted at: 10:39am PST