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In which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.

1. A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain, by Tamler Sommers.
Pop philosophy: the most intellectually stimulating parts of a liberal arts education minus mean RAs, girlfriends with eating disorders, arguments about sexual harassment, boyfriends with eating disorders, arguments about race relations, and the ongoing debate in re: who didn’t put down $5 on that bag of seedy marijuana.

2. 90-Day Geisha: My Time as a Tokyo Hostess, by Chelsea Haywood.
Because I’m not a Japanese salaryman in my 13th year as the branch manager of a mid-sized electronics company based in Nagoya, I’m not into the whole geisha/servant/slave power dynamic. But any publisher who lets a white girl write about the plight of a geisha has brass balls, so sign me up.

3. Tinsel: A Search for America’s Christmas Present, by Hank Stuever.
This book was given to me by my co-worker, who wrote it. Thus, I am in a sticky situation. If I say that I liked it (which I did), does it appear that I am being overly polite/sucking up? Or, since I previously gave the aforementioned co-worker one of my band’s records (which he professed to like), does not commenting on it appear inconsiderate? Or, is this messy episode best resolved outside of the public eye, in that terra incognita beyond the digital borders of the Washington City Paper arts desk blog?

4. Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story, by Wally Lamb.
I don’t read Wally Lamb, but he seems very popular in airport bookstores, and 10,000,000 book buyers at Hudson News can’t be wrong.

5. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, by Terry Teachout.
Turns out that the guy who crooned “What a Wonderful World” also wrote a bunch of songs that aren’t played over the end credits of nihilistic action films.