Who Will Speak For Hoke Mosley?


The American Enterprise Online asks a bunch of jokers to list their summer reading. Only Reason's Jesse Walker comes through with a plug for the late, great Charles Willeford, whose books "read like Dostoyevsky crossed with the Coen brothers. Start with *The Woman Chaser*, *The Burnt Orange Heresy*, or *Cockfighter*."

If you only know Willeford's stuff via the movies, be advised that he's been indifferently served by Hollywood. Puddy fans may enjoy the adaptation of The Woman Chaser, but it took me years to learn to appreciate the genius of Alec Baldwin after his disappointing turn as Junior in Miami Blues. (Fred Ward, on the other hand, is the platonic ideal of Hoke Mosley.) Caveat: I've never seen Monte Hellman's version of Cockfighter, but it's got an awesome cast and looks fantastic.

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  1. I would be more interested in reading lists if most of the participants would say what books they’re actually reading, not what they want people to think they’re reading. At least Jesse was honest enough to include non-wonk reading material.

  2. Dick’s best book, *A Scanner Darkly*

    What about *The Man in the High Castle*, *Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said*, or *The Transmigration of Timothy Archer*? Better, better, better.
    That’s without even mentioning his funniest, *Ubik*.

  3. Good question AC. I think anyone that doesn’t have at least some guilty pleasure reading, either doesn’t read or is lying. My last guilty pleasure novel was “The Godfather”. That is a really good book. Another good American novel not on the list of “serious literature” is “North Dallas Forty”.

  4. That’s without even mentioning his funniest, *Ubik*.

    While I wouldn’t call it a funny book overall, Valis probably has his best jokes. (“If I bring back the ashtrays, can I have my prefrontal?”)

  5. Return of Little Big Man, Fahrenheit 451, Montaigne’s Essays, various nonfiction. I’m listening to Derek Jacobi read The Twelve Caesars, if that counts.

    A Scanner Darkly isn’t my idea of Dick’s best work. I’m not sure which one is my favorite, but I’d vote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Man in the High Castle ahead of it.

  6. That is very funny, Jesse.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. I never heard of Hoke Mosley but he looks like my kind of guy.

    I will take this post as a pretext for Reasonoids to write about the books they’re reading or have read this summer. Or maybe just me.

    1. Robert Greenfield’s biography of Timothy Leary. Awesome. Very negative in its take on Leary’s character, but for the best reasons. For those who tut-tut over the “great man” school of history it is worth remembering that sometimes the personal quirks of a single person can change the course of history. Greenfield shows how Leary’s grandiosity, irresponsibility, and just plain love of getting fuk’d up ended up defining American public policy on psychedelics for more than a generation.

    2. Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night. To all the haters, you bitches gotta recognize. Norman Mailer in his prime was the heavyweight champ.

    I just started reading Simon Reynolds’s Rip It Up and Start Again. Anybody read it?

  8. Phord,

    Mailer is a leftist whackjob, but anyone that doesn’t realize that back in the day he could really write just can’t read.

  9. btw, fools die is an excellent book, mario puzo or no.

    i really wish i could have gotten into the third policeman (my wife loves him to death) but the stupid introduction RUINS THE SURPRISE OF THE BOOK because i guess they assumed anyone reading o’brien is already familiar with his work?

  10. Per phord’s request:

    1. I just finished Bill Buford’s Heat.
    I am amazed that a book written with such an obvious commercial angle (people loved Kitchen Confidential so let’s send the guy who wrote Among the Thugs into a professional kitchen and write about how a civilian fares with the pros) could be so good. It was outstanding. Funny, educational, everything I am looking for in a light non-fiction read. Mario Batali is a madman. I want to party with him, but never work for him.

    2. Veeck as in Wreck Bill Veeck could tell some stories. The man changed baseball. MLB is still catching up with his ideas.

    3. War and Peace I started it a long time ago. I read a couple hundred pages then put it down to read something shorter. Something about Russian literature does it for me. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekov, Kharms – I gots to find me some more.

  11. highnumber,

    read underground man…it is only like 100 pages and is all the dostoevsky you ever need to read…plus it is funny

  12. Miami Blues is a vastly underrated and underappreciated movie, and Fred Ward was awesome in it. Probably his best performance ever.

  13. Better than his work in Remo Williams? I think not.

  14. Nobody asked me, but having a hard time staying awake while slogging through Schlesinger’s The Age of Jackson. Pulitzer, schmulitzer! Christ, it’s friggin’ boring.

  15. I’m reading The sleepwalkers : a history of man’s changing vision of the universe by Koestler and Set Theory and Logic by Stoll.

    Not exactly light reading for me over the summer.

    But I am also reading a bunch of Hellboy comics to balance it out. πŸ™‚

    And I agree that Miami Blues was a good movie, although I haven’t read the book.

  16. I will take this post as a pretext for Reasonoids to write about the books they’re reading or have read this summer.

    In roughly chronological order:

    – Gregory S. Paul, ed., The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs (reread)

    – Robertson Davies, The Cornish Trilogy (started reading but got a major jones for science fiction and got distracted)

    – Vernor Vinge, A Deepness in the Sky (reread)

    – Ken MacLeod, The Sky Road (reread)

    – P.J. O’Rourke, The Enemies List (reread)

    – Ken MacLeod, The Cassini Division (reread)

    – Ken MacLeod, The Stone Canal (reread)

    Reason magazine

    Liberty magazine

  17. Fred Ward’s best work was in TIMERIDER: The Adventure of Lyle Swan

    As if anyone really cares, I’ve been reading the Book of Isaiah.

    I’ve also been re-reading Robert Asprin’s Phule Series in anticipation of Phule’s Company being released this summer.

  18. NoStar,

    Whoa, I’m having an obscure trivia flashback. Wasn’t Timerider a Michael Nesmith production? Like the estimable Repo Man? I’ll go look it up, I suppose, but this is a rare moment where I think my memory is working without outside help πŸ™‚

  19. NoStar,

    Whoa, I’m having an obscure trivia flashback. Wasn’t Timerider a Michael Nesmith production? Like the estimable Repo Man? I’ll go look it up, I suppose, but this is a rare moment where I think my memory is working without outside help πŸ™‚

  20. Pro L,
    Your memory is firing on all eight cylinders.
    Nesmith was Timerider’s Executive Producer and provided music for the soundtrack.

    He also produced a hard to find comedy Tapeheads.

  21. From the family that brought us the Monkees and Liquid Paper?. . . .

  22. Not to mention a novel, The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora and he created and sold to Warner Bros the concept for MTV.

    A lot was cooking under that Wool Cap.

  23. A tagline once (facetiously) proposed for Cockfighter was: “He came to town with his cock in his hand and what he did with it is illegal in 49 states.”

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