Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reading is gay

Last year a friend of mine, a school teacher from Wisconsin named Mike Strusz (whose blog can be found here) made a goal in 2009 to read a book a week for the whole year, 52 in total. According to him he came up 13 short from his goal, but that's still nothin' to sneeze at*.

Now,.........I read a lot. Too much, according to my wife everytime she stares blankly at the full bookshelf in her living room, fantasizing about all the other things she wishes were there instead. I don't think there's been a time in the last 6-7 years when I wasn't in the middle of a book. Once I'm done with one, I pick up another the same day. Sometimes I will even read a whole book in one day. But mostly "reading a book" means I've been reading 3 pages a day of some Graham Greene novel exclusively on the toilet for 2 months. So even for an avid reader like me, 52 books in a year is a lofty goal.

It would have been especially lofty if I would have tried it in 2009, a year the majority of which I spent in boot camp or Navy A-school, places where outside literature is treated the same as a bottle of Jim Beam in 1920's Chicago. Coincidentally, Navy boot camp is also in Chicago. It's like that city can't function unless it's prohibiting shit.

At any rate, Mr. Strusz has made the same goal for 2010, and since I have a lot more free time now that I'm done with training and out in the mythical fleet, I can finally attempt to run this nerd marathon with him.

So, I'm startin' the first week off with a book from my favorite cynical conservative irish asshole (more than enough of those out there for me to choose a favorite) P.J. O'Rourke.

"Eat The Rich" is his hilarious take on Economics, with chapter titles like "How (or how not) to reform (maybe) an economy (if there is one)". He traveled pretty extensively to research this book, and uses some obvious countries as extreme examples of economic situations. The breakdown is something like this:

Good capitalism- United States
Bad capitalism- Albania
Good socialism- Sweden
Bad socialism- Cuba

O'Rourke is a libertarian and unapologetically pro-capitalism, as any sane person should be, but he really doesn't pull any more punches from the US than he does from Cuba, Sweden, or Russia. The overall thesis of the book seems to be "nobody knows what the hell they're talking about when it comes to economics, including the experts". I'm about 2/3rds of the way through it, and it might be O'Rourke's best book, which is saying something for the guy who wrote a book called "Parliament of Whores", maybe the best analysis of the fucked up Washington DC party power structure ever written. I still quote that book.

So every week on the blog from now on I'll post what book I read, and a quick review of it.

*Unless you're a dapper dan 1940's TV ad executive, or a crusty old black delta bluesman named "Smokestack Willie", nobody should ever use the phrase "nothin' to sneeze at" as frequently as I do.


Jeremy Feist said...

Ha! I'm totally doing the same thing right now...Mind you, I'm competing with, like, 100 other people and it's for charity and they pressured me into it and blah and blah and blah...Point being, own your gay dude. Own your gay.

rainbowlens said...

This book sounds good. I'm adding it to my ever-growing pile of books to read post-school-degree :-( (which is May!) :-)

I'm totally going to do this challenge in 2011. 2011 better watch its back.


My word verification is 'fissom'. I can't help but feel that's related somehow.