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From an interview in Thursday's Toronto Star with Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon: "Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

This was a great book -- not the easy play for laughs that the title implies. I read it over the summer, along with Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Both books would make great gifts for the pissed-off liberal on your list, or just anyone who thinks Dubya seems like a nice guy who cares about the people.

I had been reading an old book of Barbara Ehrenreich's, The Worst Years of Our Lives -- a collection of her columns and book reviews from the 80s. Although most of the writing was 15-20 years old, her observations were distressingly timely: the growing divide between rich and poor, a Democratic Party that refuses to stand for anything, a compliant corporate media that gives uncritical coverage to a President who's clearly not up to the job. It was depressing. I could take no more.

So I switched last night to Leaves of Grass. I think I need to immerse myself in the optimism and promise of America as the Ashcroftian reality of it crashes down around us.

What are you reading, friend?

Replies: 11 Confessions

See, I'm taking the opposite tack by reading something that makes current conditions seem like cotton candy and a pony ride: The Jungle.

Also a book on PHP programming, but I wouldn't expect you to care.

Phineas @ 12/02/2002 10:08 AM CST


I'm almost done with my current book. I need another one.

Shylo! @ 12/02/2002 11:16 AM CST


I haven't heard of The Jungle. Is that the one from Upton Sinclair?

I've just wrapped up "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. It was entertaining, I'm looking for someone in Portland to loan it to. Maybe I'll put a BookCrossing sticker on it and abandon it in my local coffee shop.
Gaiman's Acknowledgements references a great book by Harlan Ellison, "Deathbird Stories". THAT's the book I would recommend in the American Gods -genre.

I swear I'm going to finish Fast Food Nation, this month! I ran through the house this summer and pulled out all the books that I haven't read, yet, and put them on their own shelf. Shelves. I've got a lot to do. I need to start with slowing down my visits to Powells.

Charlie @ 12/02/2002 11:17 AM CST


You could always just stop sleeping. Eight more hours a day for reading would get you through that unread stack in no time!

amyc @ 12/02/2002 11:31 AM CST


Or smoke crack. Don't overlook it. It's great. It gets you really high.

Shylo! @ 12/02/2002 12:03 PM CST


I liked American Gods a lot. I also think Harlan Ellison is over-rated, but perhaps he is less annoying if you've never seen him speak in person. I am reading Donna Tartt's "The Little Friend," but I have no idea whether I like it or not. On balance, I think not, mostly because of her John Irving-ish delight in jerking the reader around merely because she can. Or maybe it's just that I don't care for the South.

elavil @ 12/02/2002 03:21 PM CST


Unfortunately, I got attached to his writing before I met him. Or attempted to meet him, as the case may be! He's one of the most abrasive people I've ever run across, but he's a helluva writer. I'm always on the lookout for new tales of what an asshole he can be. Do you have any?

Charlie @ 12/02/2002 06:12 PM CST


The Armistead Maupin "Tales of the City" books are wonderful. They go too quickly, but they are yummy in the process. A series of books you can live in.

Shylo! @ 12/03/2002 12:01 AM CST


The best Harlan Ellison tale of how evil he is can be found in Christopher Priest's book, Book on the Edge of Forever, which is a fascinating documentary of how he's kept promising a particular anthology of stories (not his own, but a collection of works from other prolific authors) for the past 30 or 40 years. For real! Those stories are just sitting in a cardboard box somewhere in his house, I suppose, just waiting for Harlan to get off his ass and write some introductions. Or something. Who knows?

jima @ 12/03/2002 11:11 AM CST


Another fun Ellison story (not true, though)...

jima @ 12/03/2002 04:16 PM CST


my best friend has a photo of Ellison holding her fanged fuzzy bunny rabbit. very amusing.

I am reading knitting books and The Nation.

shechemist @ 12/03/2002 05:56 PM CST


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