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in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us, by Steve Almond. Rock and roll might bruise you. Rock and roll might break you. Rock and roll might lead you into questionable associations with teenagers who smoke tobacco and marijuana and sniff glue or, if you’re lucky, sell ecstasy. Rock and roll might put you in touch with damaged people with loose morals who might kill you, or might fuck you, depending on their mood. Rock and roll might drain your bank account as you flock to eBay and distant guitar stores in a misguided search for a used Fender Jazz Bass that’s manufactured in the good ol’ USA, not Mexico, and/or a guy in Gaithersburg or Manassas who will sell you an API pre-amp for less than $2,500 if you just listen to some stories about his heavy metal band’s one tour of Japan in 1987. Rock and roll might carry you across the country and around the world to listen to and/or perform music with/for strange people you’d be better off not knowing in stranger places you’d be better off not traveling to. Rock and roll might even be there on that fateful day when, bald, overweight, sallow-faced, nicotine-addicted, and 30, you trade rock and roll in for something that’s boring but predictable and well-paid that provides health insurance. But, know this: Rock and roll will definitely not save your life.
2. Anne Boleyn, by P. Friedmann and Josephine Wilkinson. One of the main perks of being American is that you don’t have to know anything about kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, or which royals were related to which other royals or which royals hated which other royals or who signed the Magna Carta or who abdicated the throne to marry a commoner or who had seven wives (or was it seven mistresses?) or who was Protestant or who was Catholic or who sent Columbus to America or who lost the Revolutionary War or who assassinated whom or who beheaded whom. You just have to keep track of 44 presidents, some of whom have the same last names. Piece of cake.
3. Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted, by Todd Bridges. Contributor: Sarah Tomlinson. Some things are too easy to make jokes about. So, instead of making jokes, let’s raise a quick “Huzzah!” to Todd Bridges, who, with the help of contributor Sarah Tomlinson, seems to have turned his life around. Huzzah, Todd!
4. Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, by Molly Ringwald. I would like to point out that, while Todd Bridges was deep in consultation with contributor Sarah Tomlinson, Molly Ringwald, who married a French citizen (Johnny Depp-style), then got divorced and married a Greek dude, is a chef who reinvented herself without a contributor. Huzzah, Molly!
5. The Clock Without a Face, by Gus Twintig. I guess, as a bibliophile, I should learn to appreciate books that come in funny shapes, but half of the time I consider selling my library and switching to an e-reader, which I guess means I’m not really a bibliophile, but a text-o-phile, but it’s so damn 2009 to be into e-readers (and the people who flaunt them on the S9 bus seem like such pricks) that I find myself resisting the temptation to abandon the printed word, but then I’m right back where I started, looking a book that’s shaped funny and wondering if it would be easier to read if it was just shaped normally, goddammit.