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in which the author discusses five books he’d read, and probably will read, since he doesn’t like the Olympics, and not much else is on TV.
1. The Devil Gets His Due: The Uncollected Essays of Leslie Fiedler, by Leslie Fiedler, edited by Samuele F. S. Pardini. Leslie Fiedler was an American postmodern-y academic who wrote a long book called Love and Death in the American Novel. He was also a bearded Jew who wrote a book called Fiedler on the Roof and got busted for smoking w33d. If you’re not interested yet, raise your hand.
2.You Say More Than You Think: Use the New Body Language to Get What You Want! The 7-Day Plan by Janine Driver and Mariska van Aalst. This is one of those co-authored, twice-subtitled pop psychology books about microexpressions that poker players buy and have big plans to read—-and, indeed, may logorrhea-ically bullshit about at their weekly 1-2 no-limit games (“If you want to play this game, you gotta know about microexpressions. I’m gonna read this book about microexpressioins! I’ll never get bluffed again!” etc.)—-until their wives call to complain about unpaid child support, distracting them and derailing the whole project.
3. The Devil and Mr. Casement: One Man’s Battle for Human Rights in South America’s Heart of Darkness, by Jordan Goodman. Did you see Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo? Are you comfortable enough with your intellect, wardrobe, rare disco album collection, Bust subscription, and general with-it-ness to admit that it was boring? If not, check out this expose of fin de siecle capitalist brutality in the Peruvian rubber industry. It’s just like Fitzcarraldo, but a book instead of a movie, and stars the exploited natives ekeing out a living tearing down rubber trees under the thumb of colonial taskmasters instead of a buck-toothed actor who wants to haul a ship up a mountain when not trying to murder his director. Or do you not know what fin de siecle means?
4. Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country, by William Greider. William Greider used to write long political articles for Rolling Stone that, since they weren’t Pearl Jam profiles, anti-Tipper Gore rants, or detailed discussions of N.W.A.-related controversies, I was never inclined to read. But, now I’m 32, and Pearl Jam is sort of a jam band, and Eazy-E is dead, and Tipper Gore might be too, so I should probably see what I missed between 1991 and 1994.
5. UR, by Stephen King, read by Holter Graham. I know this isn’t a book, but I’m not sure if it’s an audiobook, or an e-reader exclusive, or the audiobook of an e-reader exclusive (which, if you think about it, is a CD of a guy reading a Web page or, if you’ve already eliminated CDs from your life, an AIFF, WAV, or mp3 of a guy reading a Web page). But the very existence of an alternate version of an already alternative-y Stephen King product means that this prolific Bangor-based scribe not only reliably churns out a new book every nine months and lords over a multimedia empire of books, films of those books, TV miniserieses of those books, audiobooks of those books, e-reader versions of those books and a semiregular column for Entertainment Weekly, but also has time to produce exclusive aesthetic works that fit into none of the above-described categories, which is impressive, even if he’s not on coke again. (FYI: King hates Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining. Isn’t that weird and kind of like Bob Dylan hating Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” or something?)