Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown.
I suppose at some point the whole "Star Wars" thing will be played out—that young children will never known about Han, Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Darth, C3P0, R2D2, et. al. That day isn't today.

2. The Listeners, by Leni Zumas.
The woman who wrote this book was in a pretty cool band called SSSpectres, I think. I played with them in the late aughts. They performed with a rope—a really thick rope, like on a ship, or on the Disney ride "Pirates of the Caribbean"—tied around each member. The rope wasn't just heavy and cumbersome, but also made the Cake Shop smell like...well, like a rope. I'm not sure if they're still around.

3. The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event, by James C. Nicholson.
I went to the Kentucky Derby once, in 2000. It wasn't the monstrous orgy of excess as portrayed by Hunter S. Thompson, but I did drink a mint julep offered by my friend's mother. I have not had any alcohol since and, unless my life changes radically, this will be the last alcoholic beverage that I ever consume.

4. Everybody Says Hello, by Michael Kun.
It's hard to recommend novels because many of them don't convey information. You can't really say, "Read A Farewell to Arms—you'll learn a lot about World War I." If you wanted to be accurate, you would have to say, "Read A Farewell to Arms—you may be delighted by the twists and turns taken by Hemingway's made-up characters, whom you may love or love to hate, but you won't really learn much about World War I, except that it was a bummer, and that Italians, or at least Hemingway, liked grappa." That's why I'm inventing a new expression: "F.T.B.I.T.M.S.C.," which means "Found this book in the mailroom, seemed cool."

5. Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16, by Moshe Kasher.
F.T.B.I.T.M.S.C.—though when I saw the title, I thought it was about a dude I knew in college.

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