Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 Books

In another homage to Dad, here they are. Many of them got reviewed here, but some didn't, and those I've forgotten. This was a down year, numberwise (once again the scapegoat? #onlineschool)

Dean MacCannell: Ethics of Sightseeing: Decent, scholarly book on sightseeing, and probably the ethics of it, if you can figure out what that means. Recommended only for those who like scholarly books. I liked it.

Emma Forrest: Your Voice in My Head: Memoir of a woman's journey with and without a great shrink. Amazing, fast read, recommended for everyone- readable nonfiction.

Jana Leo: Rape New York: A short book on the story of Leo's rape and how it played out against the city itself, along with deep looks into the theory behind it. Amazing, if you like theory.

Dan Baum: Gun Guys: A liberal who likes guns takes on the country. Disappointing, since I like Baum. Not really recommended- read one of his articles on the subject.

Emily Matchar: Homeward Bound: Matchar looks at the DIY culture deeply (but not deeply enough) and asks what's going on here? Okay- recommended for those asking what's going on here?

Karen Sternheimer: Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Using fan magazines, Sternheimer takes readers through the building/destroying of the idea of the American Dream. not recommended unless you like history of culture.

Will Carroll: The Juice (not reviewed): A strange (and outdated- published in 2005, maybe) look at steroids in baseball. Good info, poorly written. If you like baseball and can suspend criticism, worth a read.

Garry Wills: Why Priests: A totally unreadable book about the history of the priesthood as described in ancient texts.

Simon Garfield: On the Map: Maps are really fascinating, as is the idea of how we think about ourselves in terms of geography. Garfield is just okay in this- accessible writing, hit or miss in "deep thoughts."

Franklin Zimring: The City that Became Safe (not reviewed): I wrote but didn't finish a long review on this book. It's a complicated and ass-backwards discussion on how New York "became safe" that both backs up and dispels Bratton's work at the same time. I called bullshit and was annoyed that some Oakland mucky-mucks are in love with this guy. Read it if you're into theories of public safety, but please, don't believe everything that you read.

Dave Zirin: Game Over: Are athletes allowed to have feelings/opinions? Depends who you ask. An uneven book but I love Zirin.

Joe Queenan: One for the books: What's not to love here? Queenan loves books- the physical things- and tells the story of his love affair. If you love books, this is a fun read. (And he hates the Yankees.)

Peggy Orenstein: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Orenstein has a girl and raising a girl means PINK, which Orenstein doesn't like. I meh'd this book as I couldn't tell if it was sociology or reporting. That said, it was probably pretty good for those of you who can read a book without meanness!

Brian Chen: Always On: Honestly don't even remember reading this book. Apparently it's about always being connected. Can't recommend it, since I don't remember it.

Joseph Epstein: Snobbery (didn't review): I didn't review this book because I couldn't read it. I believe it's the only book I put down this year, although maybe it's the only one I documented. And I really WANTED to like it. But it was too... snobby to read.

Kevin Powers: The Yellow Birds: Possibly the only fiction book I read and liked this year (I also remember putting down a fiction book). About the Iraq war- loved it, but don't remember it at all- recommended with that caveat.

Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin: Black Against Empire: Long scholarly tale of the Black Panthers. Highly recommended if you're interested in the movement, or Oakland.

Curt Flood: The Way it Is Curt Flood changed baseball- he's the guy that led to free agency. He has a pretty tragic life and if you're into baseball, this is a short and tragic book.

Brian Christian: The Most Human Human Gave up on this one.

Kate Khatib et al: We Are Many A book of essays about Occupy, with Oakland at the center. I found it fascinating as someone at the peripheral, if frustrating. If you're into Occupy, good read. If not, easy to skip.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett: The Spirit Level Wilkinson & Pickett's book argues that we should be looking at inequality as the cause of a lot of society's problems, and they convinced me. I've thought a lot about this argument since reading the book. That said, can't recommend it, unless you are REALLY into looking at solutions: it's really one-note.

James Mann: Rise of the Vulcans The story of the men (and woman) behind Bush. Great book, if you can bear being depressed.

Elaine Brown: A Taste of Power: Autobiography of a woman in the Black Panther Party. Great read, especially topical for Oaklanders.


  • 23: books reviewed/read, unclear how many not reviewed (at least one started on my bed that wasn't really readable plus untold #onlineschool books).
  • 1: fiction book read (and enjoyed! at least one put down- no idea what it was, not counted above)
  • 3: minimum books read about baseball/sports
  • 20: books from the library
  • 5ish: books I think anyone else would read (maybe less- Emma Forrest (please!), Dan Baum (but don't), Emily Matchlar (maybe?), Will Carroll (if you're into sports), Simon Garfield (he's got name recognition), Joe Queenan (do it!), Kevin Powers (people like fiction, right?), Bloom & Martin (hey, it's UC Press, someone's reading it!), James Mann (people still hate Bush). 
  • 2: Books with author last names that start with "Z." 


thb said...

We're one for one, our only overlap was Kevin Powers The Yellow Birds, and we both liked it. That should move it way up on must reads for our followers