How I Exorcised A Ghost, Plus A Reading List


An actual ghost came into our room while we were sleeping. It was the fourth night of our vacation.

The ghost opened up the DVD player and closed it for about a half hour. First I kept dreaming about the noise.

Finally we were both sort of half awake and we were like, “What is that noise?” So we turned on the lights and the DVD player was opening closing non-stop.

There’s a wikipedia entry for the vacation house we were renting. It actually says in Wikipedia there’s a ghost in the house. So I joked around, “Maybe it’s the ghost.”

I got out of bed and walked towards the DVD player. It closed and then it stopped opening when I was about one foot from it. I waited for awhile. It didn’t open again.

I said, “I guess that’s it.” I was tired.

We went back to sleep. Within five minutes the DVD player started opening and closing again. Claudia said, “It’s the ghost!”

I went over there and I unplugged the DVD player. It stopped opening and closing.

I exorcised the ghost and we slept for the rest of the night with no more problems.

When I’m not bravely battling ghosts or doing stuff with my kids and Claudia, I’m reading. I try to read 3-4 hours every morning or night.

When I read I’ll read a chapter or two from one book and then go onto the next book. Eventually I get through with all the books. But each day I like to diversify my mind by reading a splattering from many books.

Here’s my reading list. These are all books I’ve at least touched in the past ten days.

“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut. I never read it before.

“Vintage Didion” by Joan Didion. I had never read anything by Joan Didion. Some author I like said she was a big influence but I forget which author.

“Kick Me” by Paul Feig. I had read it once before about two years ago. He wrote the series “Freaks and Geeks” and a ton of other fun stuff.

“Honored Guest” by Joy Williams. Short stories. When I wrote a bad novel about 21 years ago I showed it to a professor who said I should read her books. So now I finally am.

“Bird by Bird” – a guide to writing by Anne Lamott. Almost as good as Stephen King’s “On Writing”.

“Notes from the Underground” by Dostoevsky. Why not?

“Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls” by Alisa Nutting. Stories. Haven’t really touched it yet.

“Newsjacking” by David Scott. Recommended by Ryan Holiday. About how to hijack the news for your marketing events. I’m anonymously doing some fiction around this idea.

“Run With the Hunted” by Charles Bukowski. Snippets from his poetry, stories, and novels that seem to go in chronological order. It’s good.

“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. Sort of like “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

“Where’d You Go Bernadette” – ranked #1 in literary humor on Amazon. It’s not really funny but it has an interesting style of moving the story along via letters sent from various characters to each other.

“Hacking Hollywood” by Fast Company writers. I bought it just for the discussion between Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow but there are some other good sections.

“Rivethead” by Ben Hamper. A GM autoworker writes about his experiences. Somewhat Bukowski-like. A bit more ego.

“Travels” by Michael Crichton. Someone just recommended it to me. Looks good. I’ve never read anything by Crichton but the first two chapters were good.

“Stoner” by John Williams. One of the best, little known, novels ever.

“Standup Guys” – John Debellis. A memoir of standup comedy in the 70s. Lots of mention of Larry David and other well-known comics.

“Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson. A collection of short stories. I never go anywhere without occasionally rereading one of the stories. Chuck Pahlianuk (author of “Fight Club”) says he’s read this book over 300 times.

Any other good book recommendations welcome. I like strong autobiographical fiction.

I left off one or two books that I started and didn’t like. I don’t like to put down books. People are trying to make a living from them and put a lot of work into them.

Now I’m going to play ping pong. Claudia is deluded into thinking she’s gotten better than me but I have to prove her wrong. Because that’s the way I roll.

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image – Sean MacEntee