Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

in which the author discusses five books he'd read, if time permitted.

1 Slut Lullabies, by Gina Frangello.
Are we living in a post-racial future (Barack Obama, white kids considering hip-hop "their" music, popular appeal of the "Madea" movies, etc.)? If not, will we be living in a post-racial future anytime soon, when memories of Jim Crow and Martin Luther King, Jr. and freedom riders and lunch-counter sit-ins seem as irrelevant as, say, the Battle of the Bulge (whatever that is) or Cream's first record? Alternately, are we living in a post-gender future (Lady Gaga's butchiness, Sandra Bullock's lesbian kisses, gradual legalization of gay marriage, the demise of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," openly gay contestants on Top Chef, etc.)? If not, will we be living in a post-gender future anytime soon, when memories of our society's onetime obsession with whether people with penises and/or vaginas like to make out with other people with penises and/or vaginas seems as quaint as, say, the popular sitcom Family Ties, or the presidency of William Howard Taft?

2. Sick City, by Tony O'Neill.
This book is about a drug addict, but is not about Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, Chris Farley, the Breeders, Ray Charles, that actor who played Chandler on Friends, John Coltrane, William Burroughs (or any "Beat" authors), Robert Downey, Jr. (or any members of the "Rat Pack," or "Brat Pack," or "Frat Pack"), Lindsay Lohan, the drummer of Toto, Charlie Parker, Sid Vicious, River Phoenix, Scott Weiland (or any current or former members of Guns 'n' Roses), Perry Farrell (or any current or former members of Jane's Addiction), Nikki Sixx (or any current or former members of Mötley Crüe or any L.A.-based band, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Charles Bukowski, that woman from Cat Power, or Sherlock Holmes, so don't expect any celebrity drug antics, if that's the type of thing that turns you on.

3. How Did You Get This Number, by Sloane Crosley.
"A younger, female answer to David Sedaris," writes the Powell's staffer who's recommended this collection of undoubtedly wry personal essays to the world. Perhaps the lack of a question mark in the title denotes a corresponding lack of formality that would be best expressed in the understated tones and gentle, ever-so-soft "R's" of This American Life's Ira Glass.

4. Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality, by Jonathan Weiner.
Is it easier to live forever, or, as George Carlin once wondered in another context, to take a shit running at full speed?

5. Everything: A Novel, by Kevin Canty.
This book was written by the brother of the dude who used to play drums for Nation of Ulysses, so if you own a copy of Dance of Days, you better go fucking buy one, or you failed punk, asshole.

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