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in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. David Crockett: The Lion of the West, by Michael Wallis.
As a young man, I’d often watch a VHS tape of the 1955 Disney film Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier starring Fess Parker. Without regard for political correctness, I’d gleefully re-enact scenes where Mr. Crockett lays waste to thousands of Indians while wearing Superman Underoos (I was wearing the Underoos, not Davy Crockett himself or, presumably, Fess Parker as Davy Crockett). Then, later, I saw 1960’s The Alamo starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett, who dies in the end of the film when the titular fort is overrun by Mexican General Santa Anna’s troops. However, as I was too young to know the difference between John Wayne and Fess Parker, I just saw Davy Crockett die. This was confusing.
2. Sacrifice, by Rene Girard, translated by Matthew Pattillo and David Dawson.
“The miracle of sacrifice is the formidable ‘economy’ of violence that it realizes. It directs against a single victim the violence that, a moment before, menaced the entire community. This liberation appears all the more miraculous for intervening in extremis, at the very moment when all seems lost.” Damn. This sh*t is way heavier than the last No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
3. Celebrations of Curious Characters, by Ricky Jay.
Ricky Jay is that big dude in David Mamet movies who seems like he wandered on the set to start a game of three-card monte that David Mamet subsequently lost. Also, he’s a magician and collector of circus ephemera, some of which appears here. Go Ricky! Go David!
4. Small Memories, by Jose Saramago.
This dude wrote Blindness, one of the freakiest, most insanely terrifying books I’ve ever read, so how bad could book this be? Then again, while Bruce Willis was in Die Hard, he was also in…actually, I can’t think of the title of a really bad Bruce Willis movie. I mean, I guess Die Hard 4 was pretty bad, but I still saw it. This was back in those days before my daughter was born and seeing Die Hard 4 was just something that I did on a whim. Of course, back in those days, I had whims instead of a Diaper Dude.
5. Mr. Peanut, by Adam Ross.
This book is about marriage, or some other kind of human relationship. It’s also about betrayal, but simultaneously about hope. It could be about the end of an affair, but isn’t the end of an affair the beginning of another? Unless, of course, this really is the last affair because one of the affair-ees slipped into a diabetic coma or something.