Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James.
This isn't a Jane Austen novel, or a Jane Austen-plus-zombies novel, but a murder-mystery sequel to a Jane Austen novel. In other words, it's fan fiction. When is "Stone Cold" Steve Austen gonna write a WWF-meets-Pride and Prejudice mash-up and get paid?

2. This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl, by Paul Brannigan.
I saw Dave Grohl standing outside of the Black Cat once in the early aughts. I was driving past the Black Cat with my bandmate and was, like, "Hey, dude, that's Dave Grohl." And my bandmate was, like, "Stop the car!" I was, like, "I can't stop the car in the middle of the 1800 block of 14th Street NW." And my bandmate was, like, "Dude, don't you know that Dave Grohl was one-third of the band that changed the course of rock-and-roll forever?" And I was, like, "Yeah, I guess you're right." So I pulled the car over on the west side of the 1800 block of 14th Street NW, and my bandmate looked at Dave Grohl, who was still standing in front of the Black Cat on the east side of 14th St. NW, for a few minutes. Then, he said, "OK—we can go now." And we did.

3. That Is All, by John Hodgman.
I think this is some kind of metafictional, postmodern encyclopedia of made-up facts. I know it's not a memoir by Ann Jillian.

4. The Danger Artist, by Wyatt Mason.
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese dissident and artist who courageously stared down forces of repression in his homeland in the name of art; in other words, the perfect gentleman to be profiled by Gentleman's Quarterly in this unique GQ ebook.

5. The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, curated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Just because Joseph Gordon-Levitt "curated" this melange of art and text doesn't mean it's bad. Then again, just because Joseph Gordon-Levitt curated this melange of art and text doesn't mean it's good. Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't irrelevant to said melange; because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is attached to the melange, the melange will be paid more attention that it would if, say, the guy who played Vinnie on Doogie Howser, M.D. curated it. Nor is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's impact on said melange limited to publicity; he's the one who made the melange! If it's good, praise him! If it's bad, damn him! If it's mediocre, damn him with faint praise or praise him backhandedly! But don't for one minute think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Joseph Gordon-Levittness is the gasoline that makes this melange go. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is, after all, just a man, and it is a man—yes, a mere man!—who makes this melange go. However, in the case of this melange, the man that starred in Third Rock From the Sun and Inception is what would Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas would call the prime mover (please excuse the Wikipedia link). But that's not relevant to the melange! Or, at least, not all there is to it ("it" meaning "the melange").

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  • Michael S. O”Connor

    Read the Vietnam war novel Buffalo Afternoon - the female author passed away in August and the book is a good read.

  • Funin Thesun

    Re: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1. You're trying to be so clever that you really don't tell me much of anything about the book, although you certainly made it clear that you believe this column is about you and not the books in question. Frustrated author?

  • http://www.mrmedia.com Bob Andelman

    Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) fans will likely enjoy the Mr. Media audio interview with biographer Paul Brannigan, author of "This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl." Listen to it here: http://www.mrmedia.com/?p=3756 .

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