My old friend Derek and I used to trade books back and forth in high school, and we spent many hours lurking in used book stores looking for collections of Richard Brautigan poetry and other such things. Several years later, we were roommates in Los Angeles, and one day he showed me his “blog.” I thought it was a silly hobby and resolved not to be interested, but the seed had been planted and soon The Millions was born. Derek’s in law school now and his blog is mostly defunct and spammy comments litter the posts, but I’ve been urging him to free up his schedule for another blogging endeavor. In the mean time, he graciously offered up his books for the year.
I haven’t had time to actually finish a book this year, between school and work and baseball, but as my exams have approached, I’ve read about half of Spanking the Donkey, Matt Taibbi’s book about the 2004 presidential campaign. My feelings about the book are mixed: on the one hand, Taibbi is ripping off a lot of Hunter S. Thompson’s schtick, for example when he tried to interview a former ONDCP guy in a viking costume with a head full of acid; on the other hand, is that such a bad thing?, and this approach can bring out truths about the people and the process that more imbedded journalists will miss.
A head nod, also, to Man in Black, Johnny Cash’s first autobiography, on the occassion of the release of a romantic comedy about his life.
The best book of next year will be the Washington Post’s Nationals beat writer Barry Svrluga’s take on the Nats’ first season, National Pastime, due in March. Pre-Order today!!!
Spend liberally, dear readers, and with your resolve maybe America can win the War on Christmas after all.
Best, D. Howard Teslik