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In which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. The Anti-American Manifesto, by Ted Rall.
Here at ye grande olde American free weekly, there’s kind of a frat-boy vibe these days. More and more, I get the feeling that nobody really wants to, you know, fuck shit up anymore. Mainly, folks like to drink PBR and monitor the size of their Twitter following instead of drinking PBR and monitoring the size of their pipe bombs. Where’s the anarchy? Where’s the sound of Crass and the smell of gunpowder? Where’s the love for the Weather Underground and Mikhail Bakunin? And why does everyone I meet insist that Radiohead and Animal Collective are great bands?
What I’d like to know: Who will be the first to die for a truth? Not that guy in the corner blogging about the Redskins. Not that girl in the other corner blogging about Wonderland. Not that other guy blogging about that other girl who’s blogging about watching the Redskins at Wonderland. Goddamn. I’m getting too old for this shit.
2. Fountain City, by Michael Chabon.
There are many completed novels that populate Spaceship Earth, but sometimes it’s fun to read an unfinished one (with the author’s TMI-style annonations about the his failed marriage and perceived gayness) to understand why writing fiction seems so easy (sitting down, seizing pen and paper or computer, constructing sentences) is actually so hard (sitting down, seizing pen and paper or computer, constructing sentences).
3. Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man, by Steve Harvey.
I interviewed Steve Harvey once and…actually, there’s no real need for me to point that out except to impress all the young sexy fellas with Justin Bieber haircuts matriculating at journalism schools across America. Helloooooo boys!
4. The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Reading philosophy is like a eating box of donuts. First, you’re like, “I’ll just have one.” Then, one turns into three. Then, you’re like, “Fuck it. Why not eat six donuts?” Then, you think, “Could I really eat a dozen donuts?” Then, when the box is empty, you’re like, “Fuck. I never should have eaten even one donut.”
5. The Enigma of Capital: and the Crises of Capitalism, by David Harvey.
Economics books are cool because, when you read them, you can dress up as an economist on Halloween night and pretend to understand economics at Halloween parties and nobody can say jack shit to the contrary because they’ve never cracked an economics textbook in their entire goddamn lives, and there you are: the one cool dude at the Halloween party who understands Marx’s theory of surplus-value and quantitative easing and the tragedy of the commons who’s definitely getting laid tonight (unless you’re at an IMF party, where everyone understands economics, and no one is getting laid).