Sunday, August 03, 2008

Books and other things with words on paper

I am delighted to say that during this weekend I have had long, uninterrupted periods of catching up on reading. Usually this just means getting current on Newsweek and the Sunday paper but this time I also got to delve into riveting material like a graphic (comic) novel, the IKEA catalog and PNW Magazine (which this week highlighted the growing need to pawn items to pay the mortgage and juxtaposed it to a profile of a million-dollar house with custom baby gates--classy.) I got to thinking about the things I've read in the last few months and wondered what it all added up to.

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
This is a brilliant satire and back-handed commentary on our society, politics and media. Also a full transcript of his Washington Correspondents' Dinner Address where he roasted Bush and the media--to their faces.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Guilty Pleasures Vol 1 & 2 by Laurel K. Hamilton
This is my guilty pleasure: a graphic novel where a sassy & sexy vampire huntress eradicates the city of St. Louis' undead, specifically the shirtless, Fabio-esque kind. I saw this in the WSU Bookstore when we were up at Homecoming last year. Couldn't put it down. (FYI: Graphic novel is the term for comic books that get bound into a compilation.)

Plenty Magazine, monthly magazine
Within the Green movement, a phenomenon known as eco-pretension is fast becoming a national pastime. Now, I own a Prius so I know what smugness is. But in an effort to live up to all the recommendations and do everything "just so," Plenty can come off--dare I say--elitist and inaccessible for most people. But keep trying Plenty, find the balance and include those who don't have mounds of disposable income. Why should "greenness" feel like an indulgence?

Things I Learned About My Dad, essays compiled by Heather Armstrong
Heather is the author of one of my favorite blogs, Dooce.com. So it only makes sense that a book put out under her watch would be something I'd like. Sure enough, it's full of some funny, poignant and smart writing about fatherhood/parenthood.

Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander
Spawned by the hilarious blog of the same name, this book should really be called "Stuff Kali and Ken Like--with a few exceptions." My brother, Austin, gave this book to Ken for his birthday and it has been quite a hit. While it claims to make fun of 'white people' for the things they gravitate towards, it's actually taking shots at the upper middle-class, urban, liberal lifestyle. Regardless, it's damn funny.

The Hardy Boys, The Shore Road Mystery (1964 version)
When Ken was a youngster, his neighbor had the entire set of Hardy Boys books. He's never forgotten this so when we were in an antique store earlier this year, he found book #6 and couldn't resist. Since then, he has been reading chapters of the book to me before we went to bed until last night when we finished it. Alarmingly, the further we read, the more convinced we became that no child should ever have been allowed to have this. Not only did these teenage boys find themselves in serious, mortal danger at least 10 separate occasions, one of them sustained severe motorcycle crash injuries only to go out later that night. They frequently didn't sleep and where out all night, engaged in detective work that they were not formally trained for nor paid for nor sanctioned by the police. Their absentee detective father was in NY the whole time and their mother clearly didn't assert the necessary authority/protection/discipline. But at every possible chance, the author reminded the reader that their poor friend Chet was fat by describing him as "portly," "rotund," & "stout" etc. Why did we stick with it to the end? I guess we just couldn't believe such trite literature was considered wholesome and inspiring fare for the youth of this country.

On our nightstands now:
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris
The Seventeen Traditions by Ralph Nader
McSweeneys Quarterly Concern

We'll see how that nets out in a few months. Until then, happy reading.

1 comment:

Dave said...

a) Tom Swift's dad can beat up the Hardy Boys' dad.

b) White people love David Sedaris.