What it's all about...

The purpose of this blog is simple: Reading

My friends and me used to get immense joy from reading great books, sharing them, and maybe discussing them over a few beers. We no longer live in close proximity and for most of us free time comes at a premium.

This year, I have made it a personal goal of mine to turn off the TV and read more. I got through 3 books pretty quickly and realized that I wanted "that old thing back" - that community of being able to share these great books with others, so the blog was born.

If you see a book review and the book sounds interesting and you want to purchase the book, you can do so by directly linking to Amazon.com through a text link on the book title. I will be donating all proceeds (probably .15 this year) to Reading Is Fundamental (

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Road to Los Angeles

The Road to Los Angeles
By John Fante

Book Reporter: Joelman

Our protagonist is Arturo Bandini, and Italian-American 20-something living in Los Angeles and supporting his sister and mother. Arturo fancies himself a literary and cultural superior to those around him, particularly his mother and sister (both of whom are devout Catholics). Our hero struggles with his status as the "bread winner" and the fact that he is only professionally viable as a manual laborer. In his own mind, Bandini pumps himself up as a womanizer, a man to be feared, and a talented author. In fact, Bandini is a fool, mocked by the Mexican and Filipino laborers that work alongside him. The interplay between his real life and the life he lives in his head is humorously entertaining (if not slightly biting). Despite Bandini's obvious flaws and delusions, you can't help but wonder if he will ever finally break free from his real and imagined chains and become someone.

Bottom line: The "Great Bandini" is a humorous and interesting protagonist, one that lives with intense inner monologue that makes anyone feel sane by comparison. Bandini's "acting out" is something that most angst-filled young men can identify with, making him a timeless protagonist.

Recommendation: Strong Read


Anonymous said...

I've only read "Ask the Dust" by Fante, but I liked it. I saw the movie too - it was poop. I'll check this one out though.

Joelman said...

How true Terror. Ask the Dust is possibly Fante's best, if not best known work. Unfortunately, a garbage flick is what you get when whackos like Tom Cruise produce a movie about a character like Bandini that someone like Cruise obviously knows nothing about. Additionally, how can you put Colin Farrell in a role made for an Italian American? Despite the fact that the movie seemed to follow the book pretty closely, I ended up falling asleep halfway through.