Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. Fighting Words: In-Depth Interviews with the Biggest Names in Mixed Martial Arts, by Mike Straka.
I'm sure MMA (that's "mixed martial arts") has rules, but to the uninitiated it looks like two huge dudes wearing diapers on their hands and feet pummeling the sh*t out of each other. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Actually, it seems kind of bad. But what seems kind of bad in real life often makes a great read. So, if you're not into MMA and are ready to check out something new, why not pick up Fighting Words by Mike Straka?

2. Utopie: Texts and Projects, 1967–1978, edited by Craig Buckley and Jean-Louis Violeau, translated by Jean-Marie Clarke.
When French architects and sociologists get together to make a weird art/theory book, it's like Dre and Snoop, Marx and Engels, Rogers and Astaire, Jack and Coke, and Lennon and McCartney. And speaking of Lennon and McCartney...

3. George Harrison: Living in the Material World, by Olivia Harrison, edited by Mark Holborn.
Here's something f*cked up: George Harrison was only 26 when the Beatles broke up. I know, you don't believe me. Take a second and google that sh*t. See? I told you. Now you'll always have something to say at a dinner party.

4. Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, by Christian Parenti
Global warming: still real, still bad, still real bad.

5. Disaster Was My God: A Novel of the Outlaw Life of Arthur Rimbaud, by Bruce Duffy.
This is, like, a historical novel about the poet Arthur Rimbaud, who I'm mainly familiar with because Jim Morrison was a fan. So, maybe one day in the future, someone will write a historical novel about Jim Morrison, and some future book reviewer will only be familiar with Jim Morrison because Justin Bieber is a fan. I'm not saying that Justin Bieber is a fan of Jim Morrison, of course—though, all things considered, Justin Bieber would probably be a better artist if he was a fan of Jim Morrison. I'm just saying that this generational phenomena—i.e., a 34-year-old man only being familiar with Arthur Rimbaud because Jim Morrison (who would be in his 60s had he not died in his 20s) was familiar with Rimbaud—could work in the future when applied to whatever obscure sh*t Justin Bieber (or some other youthful pop star) is into. And I'm also not implying that Justin Bieber will die in his 20s. Is anybody reading this?

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