warrior ant press: spring reading list / by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Even though we've spent way too much time in front of movies and vintage tv shows over the last few months, we've still managed to read a few books. Here's some you might want to check out.

Topdog/Underdog, Suzi-Lori Parks. Theater Communications Group, 2002. This play, about two black brothers named Lincoln and Booth, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002. The play remains fresh and poignant as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the rise of the Obama nation. The clumsy, younger Booth hopes to follow the success Lincoln, his older, wiser brother, as a smooth operator of three-card monte. The reluctant Lincoln though, has forsaken the street life for an 'honest' life as an Abe Lincoln impersonator in an arcade show, even though it is one that requires him to wear whiteface. The audience acts as the mark as the brothers perform a bit of street theater.

Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson.2008, DigiClassics.com
Growing up in a small town and reading Anderson's character tale, I was charged to find a way out of the 'burg and into the world. But after seeing Eric Rosen's musical of the same name and re-reading this classic, I found that even if you can go home again, all too often, it's just not that interesting.

Snuff, Chuck Paliacke.Doubleday, 2008. A quick read that wavers on the edge of political incorrectness and a feminist view of sex as an aging porno star vies for lasting celebrity (and personal redemption) by attempting to break the record for most sexual partners (600)in a day.

The Forever War, Dexter Filkins.Alfred Knopf, 2008. OK. This book came out last year and made a bit of a splash. With good reason. It's about the war in Iraq which may, or may not, be winding down as promised. However, considering that it seems likely that we'll be in Afghanistan forever, it's still worth reading.

The Farther Shore, Matthew Eck. Milkweek Editions. 2007. More resonant and universal than Tim Obrien's The Things They Carried, more real and intense than Meditations in Green, this is one book you'll want to keep in your library.

Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line, Martha A. Sandeweiss. 2009. The story of Clarence King, the first Director of the US Geological Survey, who first found happiness in the golden California hills and then later in the arms of a black woman. King lead a secret life of philandering that neither his wife nor his professional colleagues was aware. The exception to the mystery appears to have been former Secretary of State, John Hay, who make payments for years in King's honor to keep his illicit family from the poorhouse. Makes John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Colorado River raft-runner and 3rd director of the USGS, seem provincial by comparison.

The Reader, Bernhard Schlink. Vintage International Paperback, 1997. Just because Kate Winlett won an Academy Award for her role in the movie adaptation of the book and just because it's been translated into 37 languages doesn't make this book any better. Mediocre books make for mediocre movies.

Lush Life, Richard Price, Picador Paperback, 2008. With this novel, Price sets the tone for the street patois he would later master in writing for the HBO series The Wire . There are some differences. The novel is set in New York's lower East side and centers around a robbery gone awry; the series plays out in the Baltimore drug trade. Unfortunately for readers, the series is better than the book.