Miles From Fenway

Christmas Continued!
January 3, 2006, 7:26 pm
Filed under: books

So I got a lot of great things for Christmas. A Tim Wakefield Jersey, a digital camera, a first edition of my favorite book. All in all, a pretty good haul. But you know what I love about Christmas? It doesn’t stop for like a month! For example, today in the mail I received the following thanks to a B&N gift certificate from one of my bosses:

1. The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby

“Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else,” writes Nick Hornby in his “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column in The Believer. “If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. The Magic Flute v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. The Last Supper v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on point And every now and again you’d get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I’m still backing literature 29 times out of 30.” This book collects Hornby’s popular columns in a single, artfully illustrated volume with selected passages from the novels, biographies, collections of poetry, and comics under discussion. “

I absolutely adore Hornby and this book is so right up my alley subject wise.

2. Radio On – Sarah Vowell

What does our country sound like? There are approximately 502 million radios in America alone. Radios in cars, in kitchens, in malls, playing in elevators and beauty shops. Sarah Vowell listened to the radio for one year and wrote down her impressions.”

The only one of Vowell’s books that I’ve yet to read. Really looking forward to this one.

3. The Art of War – Sun-tzu

Lionel Giles’ classic translation of the oldest military treatise in the world.
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
This volume contains the introduction and fascinating commentaries of Lionel Giles, who provided the first definitive English translation of Sun Tzu’s masterpiece. His copious notes and bibliography have been updated to make them more accessible to English speaking readers, and enhancing the insights to be drawn from this timeless classic. “

Not your typical gift certificate purchase, but it’s one of those books I always meant to read …

4. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klosterman

Countless writers and artists have spoken for a generation, but no one has done it quite like Chuck Klosterman. With an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and an almost effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter, Klosterman attacks the entire spectrum of postmodern America: reality TV, Internet porn, Pamela Anderson, literary Jesus freaks, and the real difference between apples and oranges (of which there is none). And don’t even get him started on his love life and the whole Harry-Met-Sally situation.
Whether deconstructing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, the symbolic importance of The Empire Strikes Back or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, Chuck will make you think, he’ll make you laugh, and he’ll drive you insane — usually all at once. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is ostensibly about art, entertainment, infotainment, sports, politics, and kittens, but — really — it’s about us. All of us. As Klosterman realizes late at night, in the moment before he falls asleep, “In and of itself, nothing really matters. What matters is that nothing is ever ‘in and of itself.'” Read to believe. “

This is the one I am the most excited about. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for AGES.

Now the question is … which one do I read first?!


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

My vote is Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs – that one definitely caught the most of my attention :-).

Comment by Esther

I would not be able to choose!

I love Nick Hornby (well except for How to be Good, which sucked) and having just finished the Partly Cloudy Patriot, I am a newly minted Sarah Vowell fan.

But I think I’d probably go with Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. In fact, I may have to pick that up on my next visit to the bookstore.

Comment by BlackJack

I think Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is the winner. Thanks guys!

Comment by FINY

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Every choice on your list is great or potenitally great save Cocoa Puff Klosterman. Guy is a HACK.

Merry Christmas, and reading is fundamental.

Comment by Ant

Ant, why are you apologizing? Everyone’s got thier own opinions. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’ll let you know what I think of the Klosterman book. Turns out the Polysllabic Spree ended up winning out. I got hooked on the first page and haven’t been able to put it down since.

Comment by FINY

Maybe I’m too late to vote, but Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs gets my vote.

I love The Art of War which has an amazing amount of applications in non-war real life. I love Hornby. (I know nothing of Vowell or Radio On.) All that said, I love reading Klosterman and that for such a supposedly shallow subject, SD&CP is surprisingly thought provoking.

Comment by Craig

Having just finished reading “SD&CP,” I will say, you’ll finish it in about three days. It goes fast, and it’s fun to read.

I’ve never noticed anything especially “hack”-y about him, either, though maybe there’s something I’m not aware of about him.

Comment by BS Memorial

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