Tue 02

You Need This Book

Max Apathy and Other Small VictoriesFor the first time on this site, I’m about to plug a book that isn’t mine. I know! I feel like I’m growing as a person. Here’s what happened: I got sent this book pre-publication to see if I’d be interested in providing a quote for the back of the book. Apparently the theory is that if people see a quote by some author they’ve never heard of, they think, “Hmm… someone that obscure must know what he’s talking about.”

I get sent quite a few books this way, which is good, because I don’t have to pay for them, and bad, because I don’t get to choose them, and they tend to suck. So I end up on the backs of very few books. (If anyone has seen a book with “Meh, it kind of sucked. —Max Barry, author of Company” on it, though, please let me know.)

Then I got sent a book that was so good I thought they must have confused me with someone much more popular. Like maybe Jesus. This book rocked. It was the funniest novel I’d ever read. It was so good that when I finished reading it, I immediately read it again. And then a third time. It’s currently my favorite novel.

The book is Apathy and Other Small Victories, by Paul Neilan. It’s out in the US today. If you like my stuff, I seriously recommend that you get this. And if you don’t mind Chuck Palahniuk, either, a gaping hole in your life that you never knew existed is about to be filled. Go buy it. Now.

(Disclosure: I met Paul earlier this year, after I’d read his book. But he didn’t promise any sexual favors in exchange for me pumping up his book. Really, he wouldn’t be moved on that.)

Update: Paul has a blog!


This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: ""
Posted: 6173 days ago

That's some pretty high praise.

On my way to the store to buy it now.

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 6173 days ago

I'm kind of worried about the fact you specifically mentioned the apparent lack of sexual favours Max.

So... the obvious question... when, if ever, does this come out in the UK? Or will we need to import it like Company?

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 6173 days ago

Wow... obviously it wasn't sexual favours afterall, but sales favours. are flogging Apathy and Other Small Victories in one of those double-saver deal things with Company.

Picto (#64)

Location: United Kingdom
Quote: "Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill"
Posted: 6173 days ago

Anything with the words "apathy" in it sparks my interest.

John Doe (#797)

Location: Live from Omicron Persei 8
Quote: "You're just jealous because the little voices only talk to me."
Posted: 6173 days ago

I recall adding it to my Someday wish list on Amazon back when you first mentioned it. I guess I'll go move it into the shopping cart now. :)

Phill Sacre (#1822)

Location: London, UK
Quote: "Computers are like air conditioners. Both stop working, if you open windows."
Posted: 6173 days ago

Damn you Max, if you'd told me two days ago I would have qualified for super saver delivery!

That is indeed very high praise for a book, I've placed an order on Amazon for an imported version (it's actually hardly any more expensive than a UK version would be, I don't know what's up with that? -- other than I have to wait slightly longer, 2-3 weeks... although strangely enough, with Company it took less than a week. Amazon are strange).

Anyway, I'm sure the book won't disappoint, and if it's good I shall let all my friends know :-)

Kristen (#1157)

Location: Jersey
Quote: "Insert quotation here."
Posted: 6173 days ago

Thanks for the heads-up. I was waiting patiently for this to be released, then apparently got distracted by something shiny and forgot all about it... and it almost happened again. I was trying to find something else to buy to qualify for that damned Super Saver shipping, gave up, forgot what I was doing, closed the window, and made a sandwich... yay for ADD.

Gregor (#1182)

Location: Toronto
Quote: "The righteous man is beset on all sides by the tyrannies of evil men."
Posted: 6173 days ago

Hey Max,
Could you please plug some Australian wine please? I like to drink wine as well as read. So, if you wouldn't mind. My Aunt Val who lives near Perth (yes that one west of you), claims we don't get your 'good stuff', we get the 'crrrrap'.
What gives?

Heather (#1477)

Location: Canada
Quote: "All great truths begin as blasphemy."
Posted: 6173 days ago

This book is quickly moving up on my to-read list, thanks to this blog. Now I just need to save the money to buy it. :\

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: ""
Posted: 6173 days ago

I'm about thirty pages in and so far, it's exactly as you've billed it. I've got the start, stop, and start immediately again kind of laughs about five different times so far. Can't wait to keep reading.

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: ""
Posted: 6173 days ago

I haven't been this excited in hours.

Christian (#2192)

Location: Calgary, Canada
Quote: "If being a nerd was baseball, I'd be starting quarterback!"
Posted: 6173 days ago

Excellent. Also, that reminds me, I've been meaning to pick up a bunch of books for a while. I'll add it to the list of stuff to read. I've decided that I want to be unemployed for the next month, so I think I'll get some reading done while I sit around the house contributing nothing to society like the bum that I am. I even made fun of my girlfriend for me being unemployed. I mean, seriously.

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: ""
Posted: 6173 days ago

This is great, it gave me an excuse to pull the trigger on a CD I've been wanting, Roger Alan Wade's 'All Likkered Up.' That way I can con my self that I've saved a couple of dollars on shipping by spending twice as much on the purchase!

Brilliant! I smell feet!

Machine Man subscriber FerretWithASpork (#2218)

Location: NY, USA
Quote: "What the F**ks a terminal?"
Posted: 6173 days ago

I was just about to hit they hay and I decided to check my Email and I was glad to find something from you. After reading through the email I went back to the top and read "This is an automated e-mail from" and I thought my eyes must be lieing to me.

You somehow manage to find a way to make every email sent out seem so personal despite the fact that its mass mail, I feel like you're actually writing this email to me and thats great. Your not just a writer or an author, your an actual person.

And I definatly must pick up that book LOL thanks for the letter of recommendation!

Rachel (#2285)

Location: Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Quote: "All I know is, my goddam gloves were in your goddam galoshes"
Posted: 6173 days ago

Okay, I go to Amazon and the first thing I see is a recommendation for the Dixie Chicks. When have I ever hinted that I'd like the Dixie Chicks, I wonder... And below all the comments to your recent blog entry, Max, it asks me, "Want to leave a comment, Rachel?" Why sure, comment box, because I love subtle hints.

But other than that, I appreciate recommendations. No joke. I'm putting "Apathy" on my list of things to buy with my graduation money. Right under "socks with no holes".

talk less. say more. (#1942)

Location: tampa, florida
Quote: "talk less. say more."
Posted: 6172 days ago

there are too many things about this blog that makes me believe that this could be my favorite.. and a book that will satisfy my barry and palahniuk fixation? i'm all over it.

Coley (#2323)

Location: USA
Quote: "I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In morse code"
Posted: 6172 days ago

I am behind any book that advocates the stealing of salt shakers.

Machine Man subscriber Katie Ellert (#207)

Location: Calgary AB Canada
Quote: "Where's Lola? WHERE'S LOLA?!?!"
Posted: 6172 days ago

What I find great is that they have a "Buy 'Apathy and other small victories' and 'Company' together for one great price!"

That actually made me very happy...
Mainly because you reccomended it to us, and other people who might not have heard of you, are learing about your books through it.

*gets excited*

John Morris (#346)

Location: Penn Valley
Quote: "to be or not to be"
Posted: 6172 days ago

I wasn't afraid that the book I just ordered off of Amazon would be bad, but if Max was going to ask us to jump off a cliff.

Chris (#1228)

Location: London, UK
Posted: 6172 days ago

Folks, the "buy together" option on Amazon is the same total price as buying the two books separately. Cheek.

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 6172 days ago


I have an AP Calculus Test Tomorrow. I should be studying for it right now.

I just finished the book The Kite Runner byKhaled Hosseini. Next book on the list...Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. I am also reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.

I just watched the new episode of "Scrubs". It wasn't that good. I was disapointed.

My mother makes delicious tuna salad sandwiches. I ate a couple of them for supper. I am full now.

I enjoy chatting on AIM. I am currently doing that as I type this blog. It's hard to do both at the same time.

I haven't fed my fish in a week. I should probably do that now.


Kx (#1449)

Location: UK
Quote: ""
Posted: 6172 days ago

Chris, the "buy together" option on Amazon is always (as far as I've seen) the same total price as buying the two books separately. They're clever (and slightly evil!) like that. :/

To wrestle this comment back on topic, can't wait to get this book. Cheers Max!


PS, John Morris - I know how you feel...!

Brian (#2379)

Posted: 6172 days ago

I'm apologizing beforehand even though I saw nothing barring criticism. Why are all of you acting as if this book is the next buttered bread? There's one review on that suggests it's not such a great book. I've never read any of Max's books, which are probably fine and well, but they might not be, just as this book may not be. Just because someone tells you something is good doesn't mean you should go out and buy it. There's a reason these books are not number one best sellers.
P.S.: Please forgive me if there was a disclaimer somewhere saying such comments are not acceptable.

david (#1793)

Location: San Diego
Posted: 6171 days ago

the buy together options are at least sometimes cheaper. i know i've gotten two cds cheaper, and i think i bought max's first two books together for cheaper, but i'm not sure on that

Tony Quin (#1310)

Location: Plymouth -urgh
Quote: "Yoga is NAILS"
Posted: 6171 days ago

Hold on a minute. In Portland you said you'd tell us, "alllll about it. Oh yes I am." and all we get is a lousey "it's funny and good"?

I feel so let down...

Justin (#2009)

Location: Halfmoon, NY
Quote: "Max(x) is awesome!"
Posted: 6171 days ago

I'm going to write a book now just so I can put "Meh, it kind of sucked. —Max Barry, author of Company" on the back of it.

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 6171 days ago

Thursday May 4, 2006

Today is Star Wars Day...May the "fourth" be with you.


...I am sorry, that was lame, plus I stole it from wikipedia. It was not just lame. It was unoriginal.

Joel Kelly (#1517)

Location: Canada
Quote: ""
Posted: 6170 days ago

"There's a reason these books are not number one best sellers."

Brian: To suggest that all good things are popular and that all popular things are good is pretty (read: very) naive. We like Max's stuff, we trust his recommendation of a book that sounds like something we'd be interested in. Are some people here a little over-the-top excited about it? Sure. But people love Max's books, so they'll probably love the books Max loves.

Max's books might not appeal to everyone but, to quote a local beer company's slogan, "those who like it, like it a lot."

Titanic is not the best movie ever, even if it's the highest grossing.

Jay (#1892)

Location: New York
Posted: 6167 days ago

I just finished reading Apathy over the weekend (May 5-7), and it was an interesting and fun read. Some parts are depressing but overall I got a few laughs out of it.

David Jack (#2385)

Location: Hollywood
Quote: "Names are not always what they seem: The common Welsh name Bzjxxllwcp is pronounced "Jackson"."
Posted: 6166 days ago

I saw the little man pointing a gun at his head and then noticed the title: Apathy.

I knew then that I must have this book.

Since then, I've been reading it and wetting myself regularly.

I would like to contact Paul Neilan, but do not know how to. Does anyone know if he has a website or email?

That is all.

cmoore (#2388)

Location: Portland, Oregon USA
Posted: 6165 days ago


you can email him from there.


Colette (#324)

Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Quote: ""The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy" -- Kurt Vonnegut"
Posted: 6165 days ago

“Comprising 50 percent sheer brilliance, 50 percent distilled cynicism, and 50 percent coronary-inducing humor"

You needed to add another 50 percent in your comment, just to confuse people who read it.
I wish I could find a book with a "Meh, it kind of sucked" comment on it. >D

Nora Jean Stone (#1170)

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Quote: "Do Wa Ditty, Life in the CITY, where the Women are Strong and the Men are Pretty... anon"
Posted: 6162 days ago

We got the Super Saver by buying both "Company" and "Apathy" at the same time. I get the delivery before he gets home so I get to read the books first. I had to stand on my tongue with both feet not to give him "spoilers".

Thank you for writing "Company". I have to share that my husband works in a soul destroying corporate setting and now he is convinced that Alpha is in charge and that's why it sucks so much. He had a wonderful time reading your book, laughing out loud on the bus during his commute and causing frighten natives to move to other seats. He would stop every now and then while reading at home to quote passages I already read. When he was done we were able to discuss your book and flip through the pages finding favorite passages, reading them outloud and roaring with laughter again.

Thank you also for hipping us to "Apathy" and you got a nice post in Paul Neilan's blog. I posted to his blog saying that I found out about it from your newsletter. He owes you a dinner or something next time you see him.

We had the best week reading both books. He didn't play EQII and I got no clay art work done. We laughed until our faces hurt. Thanks again.

David Jack (#2385)

Location: Hollywood
Quote: "Names are not always what they seem: The common Welsh name Bzjxxllwcp is pronounced "Jackson"."
Posted: 6161 days ago

Oh yeah... as a matter of fact, I do have another question:

How do I email YOU, Max Barry?

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 6154 days ago

I loved this book. Thanks for the heads up. I'll never trust another General Lee for as long as I live. Or cripple for that matter.

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: ""
Posted: 6151 days ago

I'm talking this book up like nothing since...


Machine Man subscriber Jarrad (#837)

Location: Hobart
Posted: 6139 days ago

FINALLY got my copy. 5 weeks from the states to australia seems a little ott

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