Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

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

1. The Best of Punk Magazine, by John Holmstrom
Musical genres should have fight songs. You know, like sports teams. "The Ramones invented it, the English perfected it. The Stooges presaged it, Green Day reflected it. It's... punk! HOO-RAH. HOO-RAH. HOO-RAH. HOO-RAH."

2. Ship It Holla Ballas!: How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew, by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback
Back in 2004, I used to play online poker while watching Lost. At the time, I thought this was the best life had ever been, or could ever be. Then, online poker, which had always been slightly illegal, became really illegal, and difficult to find ways to play. And Lost got really, really bad. And so did the end of my 20s.

3. The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, by Taylor Branch
This is an inspiring tome to pick up just before MLK Day/Inauguration Day, especially if you're not inclined to read Taylor Branch's unabridged work of many-thousand pages.

4. What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, by Laina Dawes
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And a black woman needs heavy metal like Werner Herzog needs Steve Guttenberg.

5. The Heroin Chronicles, edited by Jerry Stahl
Heroin is bad. A lot of my friends did it. Some died. One guy lived in the basement of my dorm during college. He had been kicked out of school, or taken a semester off, and was just hanging around. For awhile, he was missing a contact lens, and would squint constantly. But I was only 17 and, as often as not, rushing to an economics class. I wasn't old enough to say: "You are a junkie. Stop doing heroin!" Oh well. Young readers: If you are going to do drugs, do speed.

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