Home sick, a-gain. This is what I get for even vaguely considering a race season out loud—and for being too vain to wear a SARS-mask into the office. Winter is coming, and I’m fishing for recommendations: both for cold remedies/preventatives—anything but acupuncture—and for books—anything but Game of Thrones. (Kidding. My taste, if you can call it that, has not changed much since 2009.)
A few things I’ve read lately:
- Parrot and Oliver in America—Peter Carey
- Closers: Great American Writers on the Art of Selling—Mike Tronnes, editor
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia—Mohsin Hamid
- Back to Blood—Tom Wolfe (below)
Among several annoying things about this book is the back cover, where the pale and waxy Wolfe appears in a white pimp suit and a black fedora, his hands resting on a cane made from something’s spine like a sickly Voodoo king. Apart from the jarring departure from the color palette on the front, the portrait also constitutes a clear signal to anyone who happens to see it that you, the reader, are consuming sentences like, “Magdalena couldn’t believe how many link sausages the woman had managed to stuff inside her vaginal cavity!” (Yes, seriously.)
Anyway, as a warning sign for the over-the-top caricatures behind it, the jacket photo does its job. As does Wolfe, in the end—for while I skimmed huge portions of the cartoon characters’ inner monologues (:::zzZZzz::) and wished very much for the sake of my own racial sensitivities that they hadn’t been written by a white guy, I did get my trip to Miami, and it was both illuminating and pretty fun.
SEMI-SPOILER: The ending of this book feels so half-assed that it sent me straight to Wikipedia to determine whether Wolfe had actually died before finishing it. Answer: no, so what the hell?
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Vaguely related (winter, fishing, books), from the BBC: “Iceland, where one in 10 people will publish a book” and “public benches have barcodes so you listen to a story on your smartphone as you sit.” What! What is this magical place, and how can I get there for less than $1,500?