Monday, December 14, 2009

The Sum of His Syndromes by K. B. Dixon and a bunch of malarkey (it *is* Monday, after all)

The Sum of His Syndromes by K. B. Dixon
Copyright 2009
Academy Chicago Publishers
126 pages

Sometimes the monotony of good ole common sense can simply flatten you. You can nod yes for just so long before somewhere deep inside you fall asleep.

There are times when I no longer know what it is I'm thinking. I mean, sometimes I get caught up in one of those regressive loops--thinking of myself as someone who is thinking of himself thinking of himself. Other times it's just a spooky white noise.

Dave Linden once got kicked in the head by a fireman. He deserved it.

This week Dr. C is suggesting some sort of compromise approach to what we are calling my issues. We should be "eclectic." I told him that while I'm frequently in favor of such approaches in this case it was something I could see right through. It was nothing more than chemistry in reason's clothing.

Paul Maynard once touched a porpoise.

David is a depressed man who hates his job, is falling in love with a girl named Kate but pretty sure her friend Lisa is going to talk Kate back to her senses and he'll lose her, is on his third psychiatrist (Dr. C) and has one close friend who is pretty strange, himself. David fights the idea of medicating his syndromes into submission. He's not exactly a people person and he takes notes in the sixth-floor men's room because he knows nobody will bother him there.

The Sum of His Syndromes is written entirely in little soundbites like those quoted above. It's a quirky little book, rather plotless. There's never any kind of resolution to the separate storylines embedded within the protagonist's offbeat observations, and yet there's something oddly appealing about it. The writing is idiosyncratic but intelligent, sometimes funny, frequently thought-provoking. The quote on the cover says this:

This is the kind of book where we see a bit of ourselves and grimace--but keep reading.
--A. M. Homes

That summarizes The Sum of His Syndromes pretty well. I think most everyone will feel a little familiarity with some aspect of David's life; there's something we can all relate to in this book. I had a grand time reading The Sum of His Syndromes.

4/5 - Bizarre fun in the form of snippets: observations about bits of conversation overheard, thoughts about the protagonist's everyday life at work, on dates, with his best friend, at the psychiatrist's office. I would have liked a bit of resolution--the book simply ends without wrapping up anything at all. But, The Sum of His Syndromes is uniquely entertaining and I'd love to read more by this author.

Woe betide the woman who turns down an author's offer to review and discovers she loves his writing. I'll just have to order Mr. Dixon's other books, later on. I'm still purging like crazy, donating tons to the local library. Children's books are always, always gone by the time I return to donate more -- whether fiction or nonfiction. It's interesting to see what quickly disappears and what lingers in the library basement, waiting for a new home.

Today, the weather sucks. That's good, really good. I finished reading Schooled by Gordon Korman -- a YA novel that I began reading in the hope that it would break last week's reading slump. Victory! It worked! So, I moved on to Mass Casualties by Spc Michael Anthony, a tour book I'll review soon. After I closed Mass Casualties, I started reading Extras by Scott Westerfeld. I knew this book left Tally Youngblood and her story behind, but it was still a bit of an adjustment. I'm enjoying Extras; it's just very different from the rest of the Uglies series.

During the weekend, I managed to finish the first of two stories in Angels at Christmas by Debbie Macomber. It was the usual sweet, light Macomber story with the three crazy angels: Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. At the moment, I don't feel like reading the second story and am unsure which Christmas book I'll attempt next. I have a couple that simply weren't grabbing me, but then nothing was really grabbing me, last week, so I'll just see try again and see what clicks. Devil's Cub wasn't even capturing me -- and it's by Georgette Heyer! If I can't get into Devil's Cub, it will be the first Georgette Heyer book I've ever set aside. And, I'll be freaked out, but I'll probably get over it.

I just removed Can God Be Trusted? from my sidebar for the same reason. It's just not keeping my attention. Every now and then, I have to totally shake up my reading material because I'll balance 5 or 6 books and all of a sudden none of them appeal to me. It's the weirdest thing. That may happen, soon but, at the moment, at least Extras and Look Who's Laughing are keeping my attention. Look Who's Laughing is a book I bought when our local Bible Factory Outlet went out of business, about 3 years ago and yet another book that I "just happened across" while cleaning to make room for the treadmill we ordered as a Christmas gift to ourselves (see sidebar about the message from God).

I'm afraid to look at my Google Reader. But, I visited a couple of Blogger blogs, today, and had no trouble commenting. Have I missed anything wonderful? I hate doing mass deletes, but sometimes readers are a pain. They taunt you with all the posts you're not getting around to reading. I refuse to kill myself over a lack of proper blog-hopping, so I did a mass delete to ease my mind. Right now, making space and purging, home repair and updating are my priorities. My brain is full. I anticipate taking off a couple of weeks, soon, and then after the holidays things should get back to normal.

Have you read anything unbearably wonderful, lately? Share a title and author with me. I still want to know what you're reading and loving. Skip the ones you hated. I'm fine with just the good stuff.

Happy Malarkey Monday!

Bookfool, getting into the Christmas spirit a wee bit late


  1. The Sum of his Syndromes? Sounds like a book that would annoy or frustrate me. I feel let down sometimes when they don't have a good resolution.

    Don't feel bad about wiping the slate clean in your reader. We all have to do that sometimes!

  2. I'm having a rough month with 3 books earning only 2 stars, I mean, PIE slices! but then there's the Proooooost book (loved!) and Green Grass Running Water was delightful. I'm about to dive into Sarah's Key which all my booklubbers have been extremely happy with.

  3. Jeane,

    I loved the book because I could see myself in David, in many ways. In some ways we're polar opposites, of course, but I liked reading his fictional thoughts and observations. It's a fun book, even without having a resolution and with a whiny protagonist.

    Thanks. I sometimes find the reader just makes me angst-ridden. It feels good to clean the slate.


    I enjoyed Sarah's Key. It's not a perfect book -- there were bits I picked on a little -- but like that other book we recently talked about (The Virgin Blue), it was a bit of a learning experience. I'd never heard of the Velodrome (sp?) and the round-up . . . you'll see. Anyway, it's heartbreaking but a very good read.

    Hope the rest of your month is an improvement!!!

  4. I have to read this book.

    I'm about three pages into The Piano Teacher by Janice YK Lee and already I can tell I'll love it.


  5. Connie,

    Thanks for sharing! I'll have to look up The Piano Teacher.

    If you like the quotes from The Sum of His Syndromes and don't mind the lack of a tidy resolution, I'm sure you'll love the book. I highly recommend it. It was really a fun read; I smiled a lot.

  6. - What Women Don't Know(and men don't tell you) by Michelle McKinney Hammond and Joel Brooks Jr.
    - The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

    Those are two books that I read recently that I liked. I am going to try and get my review up tomorrow of The Sherrif's Surrender. :)

  7. Brittanie,

    I read a similar title to that first one, earlier this year. For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. I'll have to look for your review of What Women Don't Know. We need all the help we can get. Guys are baffling.

    I'll be watching for your other review, too. Thanks for sharing!!!


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