Resolution update: books 11-17

10 Aug

God Save the Fan

Former Deadspin editor Will Leitch transfers his subversive viewpoint of sports from website to print, using 3-10 page essays to discuss what he feels the common fans’ views on the sporting life. Topics include steroids, ESPN, Barbaro and more, all with a common theme that the mainstream media hasn’t a clue how the typical fan feels about sports. Are you the type of fan that loves sports but realize they’re nothing more than entertainment? This book is directed right at’cha. Grade: B

Rapture Ready

I might as well just paste the McSweeney’s review, which succinctly sums up my feelings: “A fascinating and funny exploration of exactly what the title indicates, leavened with empathy. Radosh seeks to understand, not merely to mock, which creates a deeply engaged and interesting study of a subculture many are likely to be unfamiliar with.” Grade: B+

The Blind Side

Michael Lewis (of Moneyball fame) returns with another non-fiction sports book, this time about the incredible story of Michael Oher, formerly flunky nobody from the ghettos of Memphis turned stud left tackle at Ole Miss. Lewis also weaves in commentary about issues like education, poverty, race and family while detailing Oher’s story. An easy read, and, thankfully, light on the melodrama. Grade: B

Born Standing Up

…is Steve Martin’s autobiography about going from his white-picket-fence suburban childhood to being the most famous stand-up comedian of all time. Martin writes about his comedic philosophies and career path in an oddly formal manner; it’s the same style my grandparents write me when reporting their most recent vacation. (That’s not a knock, Grandpa. I’m just saying, I mean, this is Steve Martin here.) At just over 200 pages, it’s a charming, humble look into the hectic life of a comedian. Grade: B-

The Polyphonic Spree

Spree is a collection of Nick Hornby’s essays from “The Believer” magazine in which he reviews books. A book about books. It’s a simple concept, but, Hornby being Hornby and all, he weaves in personal anecdotes and witty observations with this ease of deftness that makes me jealous. I keep thinking “man, I could write like this,” but, of course, I can’t. Grade: B

White Noise

White Noise won a bunch of awards when it was first published in 1985, but it seems to me an example of dated literature. I’m sure this satirical work of fiction poking fun at an overly-liberal academic family (the dad and teenage son share their porno mags; the husband and wife read the same porno ‘letters to the editor’ aloud and critique their grammar) while also making a point about the excesses of society counted as biting social commentary at the time, but it seems to pale in comparison of later works. And, you can blame my generation’s ADD if you want, but writing a paragraph that lasts over a page – and in White Noise, there were many – is the quickest way to get me in full-on skim mode. Grade: C-

Freakonomics

I missed the boat with this one when it was all the rage a couple years back. Reading a book after it’s peaked popularity-wise usually isn’t a problem, except that a book like Freakonomics, with its incredibly interesting findings on nearly every page, basically forces you to bring it up during every conversation. Which meant that responses to my many “hey, guess what I just learned…” tidbits were followed with a callous, “Um, yeah. Everyone know that, douchebag. It was in Freakonomics.” And that was just my mother’s reaction. Others were far worse. Grade: B+

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2 Responses to “Resolution update: books 11-17”

  1. Gates August 10, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    In a note unrelated to anything you’re talking about…I just posted my first ever comment to a Star Trib story. It is a Chris Riemanschneider column about how unimportant the Favre saga is. I agree with his general assessment. However, the problem I have is the tone the article is written in. I was pretty proud of myself for my comment. Check it out if interested. The article is titled “Do me a favor: Ignore Favre” or something like that. Again, I realize this has nothing to with anything at worldofb, I just tend to think of you when comment on blogs.

  2. Amanda Leeman August 12, 2008 at 1:50 am #

    You ever read any Chuck Palahniuk books??

    I have really gotten into him lately, and if I could suggest reading anything, it’d be by that man.

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