Archive for August, 2010

Continuing the reading project

August 3, 2010

In case you care, and even if you don’t…

21) Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman is probably my favorite curmudgeonly pop culture critic. In this, his first book, he writes of his love for ’80s metal. The music isn’t my favorite, but Klosterman brings it to life, arguably much more than it deserves. I enjoyed this, in part because Klosterman doesn’t come off as quite as conceited as he does now. 288 pages.

22) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. This is pretty much exactly what you would think it would be. Pride and Prejudice with zombies and associated mayhem. Grahame-Smith makes it fun, writing in a deadpan Austen imitation, and yet including horrific gore and intense violence. It’s kind of like Hayseed Dixie’s bluegrass covers of KISS or AC/DC songs. Maybe. 320 pages.

23) Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas. This biography of William Wilberforce discusses his campaign to end British slavery. As the British abolition predated the American abolition, the importance of Wilberforce would be hard to understate. He was a weak little man, who married very late in life, but who used his considerable talents and deep faith to improve the station of others. I came away most impressed, not so much by Wilberforce’s moral fiber, which was impressive, but by his intelligence in bringing about change in others. 320 pages.

24) Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy. McCarthy was a minor league prospect who just happened to have graduated from Yale University. He spends a year in Provo, Utah, trying to become a major league baseball player. He fails, but his accounts of the trials and tribulations of minor league baseball players does not. Uncomfortable sexual humor, interracial interaction, horrible pay (even by normal people standards), it’s all here. Worth reading, although some of McCarthy’s “facts” have subsequently been called into question. 304 pages.

25) The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. Roose, a Brown University sophomore, spends a semester at Liberty University, the educational institution of Jerry Falwell. Hijinks ensue. Actually, there’s a lot going on here. Roose, born as a Quaker, but agnostic, has to confront his stereotypes and fallacies toward Evangelical Christians and their educational lives. The book is well written, and fair to all involved. I would recommend this one. 336 pages.

26) April 1865 by Jay Winik. Winik examines the month that included the end of the American Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the beginning of reconstruction. It is hard to avoid Winik’s point, that there were so many places and ways that America’s development could have gone horribly wrong. However, Winik explains why it didn’t, taking long looks at Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Davis, et al. 512 pages.

27) Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker. I could say this is a book about baseball cards, and that would be sort of true. But it’s a book about growing up, about transitioning from a boy to a screw-up to a man… and how the minutia of baseball makes the journey with you, if you want it. Wilker did and writes about it with great poignancy. 243 pages.

28) True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass by Tom Piazza. Piazza spent some time with the late, great Jimmy Martin. He chronicles how real, unrestrained, and sometimes, batcrap crazy Martin was. Highly entertaining, if unfortunately quite thin. 112 pages.

* Two current books– One about 220 pages in, the other about 80.
As of now… 28.4 books, 10,225 pages.
To be on pace… 29.3 books, 11,726 pages.

So there we are… almost one book and 1500 pages behind pace. The book count is still manageable, but 20,000 pages is looking pretty tough at this time.