Thursday, May 04, 2006

Because my opinion on popular literature is really THAT important

I direct your attention to the newly added "Current Reads" in the side bar. For those of you who wonder why I'm constantly so tired, it's because I stay up half the night reading any one of those.

For the record, A History of God will likely be on the list forever. It's a ginormous book. And I'm only interested in it in spurts, so I'll read a few chapters and then put it down for a few months. And then, inevitably, when I pick it up I try to start where I left off and can't for the life of me remember how we ended up at the theory presented in the latest chapter and so I have to re-read the previous chapter and... well... you can see why it's a long, tedious process. But quite interesting. (The book, I mean. Not the process.)

And Slouching Toward Nirvana maybe doesn't deserve to be up there at all. It's a book of poetry, after all, and will certainly never be read cover to cover (at least not by me). I'm more of a "flip to a random page in the book and see where I end up" kind of poetry reader. Which is actually kind of an odd thing to say because, in reality, I'm not ANY kind of poetry reader. But I make exception for Bukowski.

At any rate, I'll update the list as I crack open new books, and will subsequently supplement my posts with snotty opinions like this:

Freakonomics: self-promotion at its finest. I saw Steven Levitt (co-author) speak at a recent conference. He was easily the most entertaining speaker - funny and interesting in that borderline crazy sort of way. I was inspired to pick up the book. I'm now about half way through it and, while I'm enjoying it immensely and highly recommend it to any non-fiction reader types, I can't help but cringe at the beginning of each new chapter.

You know how sometimes in books, a new chapter will start with a quote from a long-dead orator or author? Something that relates either to the subject matter of the book as a whole, or at least the topic covered in that specific chapter? Well, Freakonomics sort of follows that format, except the quote is always praising Levitt and his "rogue economist" creativity. It's like they took the quotes you usually see on the back of a book - the ones meant to incite you to buy it - and interspersed them within the book itself. It strikes me as a little odd.

What I can't decide is if Levitt is an insane ego-maniac, and wants us all to know what fabulous things The New York Times Magazine is saying about him. Or is it the opposite and he's insanely insecure, thinking readers reach the end of a chapter and think, "Whoa... that sucked. I'm definitely not reading any more of this crap. Except... wait, what's this here? The New York Times Magazine seems to think this is good stuff. Perhaps I should continue reading after all..."

Whatever the case, I think it's weird. But I thought I'd give it try myself anyway.

"KB is a straight-talker. Sometimes too straight. Actually, she's kind of mean."

--Current Friend, 2005


Angry Dissenter said...

BTW, I think that quote ought to be at the top of your blog. It's fantastic.

KB said...

Hmmm. Not a bad idea. I've been wanting to spruce up my header. I shall ponder this further...

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