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in which the author briefly discusses five new books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. The Time of My Life, by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi. Though the phrase “modern renaissance man” is a contradiction in terms, Patrick Swayze was a modern renaissance man: dancer, Texan, actor, singer, recovering alcoholic, marital arts practitioner, plane crash survivor, monogomist, and co-author of this memoir with Lisa Niemi, his longtime companion. Buying the hardcover edition of a hastily-written memoir: there’s no better way to say goodbye to a dead celebrity.
2. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. Everybody loves Lorrie Moore, but I’ve yet to read a word of her fiction. This 9/11-ish novel seems a good place to start before attending her reading at Politics and Prose on Thursday, September 24.
3. Fever Chart by Bill Cotter. McSweeney’s publishes beautiful editions of obscure authors’ fiction. This debut novel about mental illness and Hurricane Katrina by “a writer who’s worked as a debt collector, book restorer, toilet scrubber, and door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman,” is probably interesting.
4. Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party by Max Blumenthal. It’s unlikely Nation Books is publishing the most fair and balanced journalism about American conservatism, but any book that uses Eric Fromm’s psychology of authoritarianism to dissect Sarah Palin is a must-read or, if not a must-read, at least a good joke gift for your Republican parent(s).
5. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. Pet-related non-fiction is often stacked in the front of bookstores, where unwitting consumers waiting to pay for a Stephen King book or the new Twilight are seduced by cover photographs of cuddly creatures. But that doesn’t mean pet-related non-fiction is worthless.