Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Goals . . . Or Is It the Other Way 'Round?

For years one of the family Christmas traditions was a statement from each one on Christmas Eve before presents. It began as "I want to apologize to you for . . . " to each member of the family. This changed after a while "Something I really appreciate about you . . . ." to each member of the family. Now with the addition of grandchildren and son-in-law, we've evolved to a statement by each person of some (number is not specified) achievable goals for the coming year. We await the arrival of my sons from Florida next month when the whole family will be together before we pronounce goals for the coming year. But I already know mine, and one of them is to read all the books I received as gifts this Christmas and throughout next year. Which means I've got a great lineup waiting for me. Here's the books I got as real hold-in-your-hand books this Christmas. (I got 103 classic books for my Kindle on CD; some of which I already had there, but not too many.) Here they are in no particular order:

       Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places (2009) by Bill Streever. I've already started it, and I'm hooked.

       Plus Shipping (1998) by Bob Hicok. Another of those mostly unknown poets who blows me away.

      Made Love Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State (2007) by Norman Solomon. American militarism . . . a growth industry.
      Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism (2008) by Kevin Phillips. Has this guy ever written a bad book?

      Tear Down This Myth: how the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future (2009) by Will Bunch. And I used to think that Reagan was the dumbest man ever to hold the office of president of the US. Compared to W, he's a frigging genius. But Reagan still made a horrible mess of things, and what's more, millions of people in this country think this affable ninny descended from Olympus.

      The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball (2007) by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, & Andrew Dolphin. Advanced sabrmetrics.

      What is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (2007) by John Brockman. Sample: When will the Internet become aware of itself? Not all dangerous, and not all new . . . but chewy stuff for the most part.

Looks like a historian's list, no? But only one book that can be construed as history, and that just barely. And you'll note the absence of fiction. Sorry, if there's going to be limited book-reading, fiction is going to lose out with me every time. I know, I know. That's very sad. But what can I say?

It's going to be fun making this goal.

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