A Year in Reading: Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend)

I began The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson, on a Sunday afternoon in May flying home from a friend’s wedding and finished it around 2 am that night holed up in my “office,” a 6x8 foot room covered in music equipment, gym clothes, and a decent amount of garbage. My desire to finish Ronson’s gripping book without waking my cat and girlfriend outweighed the putrid stench of my terrible fetid lair. I felt like a psychopath! But I’m not one -- I have a sense of humor and experience empathy. Ding ding ding. In the book, Ronson runs through a 20-item checklist used to diagnose psychopathy, in the process interviewing a mass-murderer, mental patients, daytime talk-show producers, a corporate downsizer, and more. Dark stuff, certainly, but Ronson is able to find hilarity in the truly morbid. When I finished it, I passed it on to my mom and she loved it! War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges, tells of the author’s experiences covering wars for The New York Times. I’m fascinated by how, in an era where more and more things are documented online, much of what actually goes down during war remains hidden from public view. This slim volume goes a good way into explaining the mindsets of those who have lived through war and the journalists who regularly cover it. I also really enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife, by Téa Obreht. It got me thinking a lot about the nature of family generally, and my departed grandfathers specifically, which I don’t do often enough. I can’t wait to read what she writes next. In terms of purely enjoyable language, I need to recommend The Angel Esmerelda, by Don DeLillo. That man, to this day, knows how to write a spectacular sentence. More from A Year in Reading 2011 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.