Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. About to Die: How News Images Move the Public, by Barbie Zelizer.
According to this hyper-theoretical post-Warhol, post-Susan Sontag tome, scary images of people facing their mortal fates that appear in media are, basically, super motherfuckin' serious and, though we may relish them in a morally bankrupt (I think?), voyeuristic (maybe?), Bret Easton Ellis-onian (kinda?) way are, all-in-all, a downer. I'd elaborate more on the author's thesis, but I'm too busy scrutizining my $100 million copy of "Sixteen Jackies" while playing a white piano in a room full of mirrors.

2. The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art, by Wendy Steiner.
Here we go again. More voyeurism. More theory. More contemplations of vacant postmodernity. Don't you guys get tired of me recommending some semi-Situationist book put out by the resident Baudrillard-ian eggheads at the Univ. of Chicago? When am I going to chill out and start recommending Left Behind or some more plebe shit that the whole family can enjoy while deer hunting and drinking a Michelob? Why can't I escape this tired "medium is the message" meta-meta-meta cultural studies/critical theory labyrinth? I don't know. I just don't know. But I do know that, at the center of that labyrinth, you'll find me. I'll be the one sliding into the bubbling pool of liquid gold.

3. My Mom is a Fob: Earnest Advice in Broken English from Your Asian-American Mom, by Teresa Wu and Serena Wu.
Though written by Asians in a post-PC "We're members of a minority and can laugh at our minority's charming foibles" kind of spirit, I guess this book is pretty racist, as well as a rip off of "$#*! My Dad Says." Yet, this book is funny, proving that, as ever, a little self-hatred goes a long way.

4. The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson.
I can't resist a novel about grumply ol' Jews. Ever since Saul Bellow's Herzog, it's been love at first kvetch.

5. Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything, by Kevin Cook.
If I was in an airport bookstore at Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle waiting for a flight back across the pond to ye olde States, I would wander around with a copy of The Fountainhead trying to convince myself that, after 33 years, I am ready, willing, and able to pay 15 euros (or 10 pounds) to finally purchase and read said Objectivist tome when, at the last minute (probably right neck to the cash register), I'd mercifully find some gambling book like this one and jettison Ayn Rand for reading material that didn't make me feel like clawing my own eyes out with my own broken fingernails.

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