in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, edited by University of Chicago Press Staff.
Dear anyone who thinks 1) “on to” can be spelled “onto,” or that 2) semicolons are as acceptable in People as they are in The Lancet, or that 3) adverbs are particularly cool, or who 4a) employs, like linguistic heatseeking missiles, the expressions “natch” or 4b) “make no mistake,” or who 5) sneers at em dashes, or who 6) uses the “optional” comma in a list (which annoys editors, publishers, readers, and me), or 7) isn’t aware that the first letter of a complete sentence after a colon must be capitalized: I challenge you to a fight.
2. My Hollywood, by Mona Simpson.
I thought the only stories worth telling from Hollywood detailed the aesthetic, financial, and sexual exploits of Vincent Chase, his brother Johnny “Drama” Chase, his manager Eric “E” Murphy, his driver Salvatore “Turtle” Assante, his agent Ari Gold, his agent’s assistant Lloyd Lee, his agent’s aggressively thin wife, Turtle’s sometime girlfriend Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Eric’s sometime fiance Sloan McQuewick. Yet, the kitchens, offices, lawns, bathrooms, bedrooms, and cars of these fictional celebrities are kept neat, clean, and fresh-smelling by fictional Latinos. The story of these fictional Latinos is also worth telling—-in mere novel form, not on HBO. Like Janet Jackson said, that’s just the way love goes.
3. Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, by Gail Caldwell.
The death of a friend is hard to take, especially without Vicodin, marijuana, vodka, the final season of “Lost,” a roulette table, a stripper, and some scratched Tammy Wynette LPs.
4. The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon, by John Paul Rathbone.
I’ve seen Che, The Godfather II, JFK, The Motorcycle Diaries, Thirteen Days, Scarface, and Before Night Falls, and I still don’t understand: Is Cuba cool or not? Somebody decide and send me a memo.
5. Sports Illustrated Blood, Sweat & Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today’s Game, by Tim Layden.
I wonder if this book about football will help me appreciate football as much as my unopened books about knitting, yoga, bridge, C++ coding, macrobiotic cooking, statistics, meditation, the Civil War, HTML coding, juice fasts, writing screenplays, and electrical engineering helped me appreciate knitting, yoga, bridge, C++ coding, macrobiotic cooking, statistics, meditation, the Civil War, HTML coding, juice fasts, writing screenplays, and electrical engineering.