Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. Squier Electrics: 30 Years of Fenders Budget Guitar Brand, by Tony Bacon
"Dude, wanna come over my house after school and play guitar?" "I don't know. We have a calculus midterm tomorrow." "Come on, dude, don't be a p*ssy." "I don't know man, I haven't really studied enough. I'm getting a A this quarter, but I got a B last quarter, so I have to get an A on the midterm to get an A for the semester." "Bummer. I got a new guitar and wanted to show it to you." "Really? What kind of a new guitar?" "A Fender Squier. The dude at Zapf's on Fifth Street said it's just like a Fender Stratocaster, only cheaper." "Really? I don't believe it." "Well, why don't you come on over after school and find out?" "Can we work on that cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'?" "I guess." "You're on."

2. Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Psychological Edge, by David Dreman
"Dude, you really have got to buy some AOL stock." "I don't know, man. It seems totally overpriced." "No, man. I'm telling you—with this Internet sh*t, you can't lose." "I don't know. I mean, I just graduated college and don't make a lot of money. The world seems like a really uncertain place. Who knows if Al Gore will even win the election this fall?" "It doesn't matter who's in Washington, man. We're looking at 10 more years of peace and prosperity." "Don't you think this dot-com stuff seems like a bubble?" "What's a bubble?"

3. Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman
"Did you break up with your girlfriend?" "Yeah." "Sorry, dude. I thought that was gonna last." "Well..." "Try giving her this book for the holidays. This chick from the New Yorker illustrated it." "Do you think it will convince her to take me back?" "Probably not."

4. Vicky Swanky is a Beauty, by Diane Williams
"What's this new novel from McSweeneys about?" "Who the f*ck knows? They're always publishing the most random sh*t." "Yeah, I know. I was a member of the book club for awhile, and one month they sent me a portfolio of Dave Eggers' drawings." "Was it cool?" "I guess." "Weird. Well, should I buy this novel or what?" "It's always nice to support a small, cool publishing house." "But then again, on the other hand, this book might suck." "Yeah, but don't most books?"

5. The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age, by Richard Seaver
"Do you remember that time?" "Which time?" "The time before now, that was better than now." "Do you mean the 19-teens, the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, or the aughties?" "All of them."

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