Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pat's Twitter Reviews: 50 movies/25 books - Part 3 - BOOKS

It's the final installment of Perspicacious P's 50 Movies/25 Books Twitter-length reviews! Rejoice in the streets!

This time I wrote about books. Do you remember those! They were like the vinyl of the written word. Like with my movies, you'll see that my taste in books runs intellectual (Harry Potter, two Guns N' Roses biographies), but I promise you I won't get too heady. I don't mind talking down to my audience. With that, let's get down to it:

1. The Signal and the Noise: Nate Silver from the 538 blog applied his PECOTA analysis to real life. Don't understand any of that? Me neither, but the book was great. 

2. The Polish Officer: Excellent WWII spy book from Alan Furst. I wrote him an email a couple of years ago and he actually replied. I am the American Dream. 

3. Fever Pitch: I still don't think Jimmy Fallon is funny, but I like the rapping with JT and the low-fi music covers with The Roots.

4.  Dark Star: It's another excellent WWII spy book from Alan Furst. Did I mention he once replied to one of my emails?

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: An examination of race, science and class in the US. Not always pleasant, but sometimes we need to see that life ain't always daisies.

6. It's So Easy and Other Lies: Duff from GnR wrote this excellent biography about his journey from punk musician to GnR to addict to recovery. He's a seriously cool dude.

7. Unbroken: Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit author, wrote this story of star athlete and WWII POW camp survivor Louie Zamperini. Simply harrowing stuff.

8. The Extra 2%: Decent book about baseball, but this is basically a Moneyball ripoff, except not as good.

9. Endurance: Ernest Shackleton and his crew were stuck in Antarctica and had a one-in-a-million shot of surviving. They survived. Badass motherfuckers.

10. King Leopold's Ghost: Story of Belgium's colonialism in Africa. Good god white people are evil. Sorry, world!

11. Life Itself: Excellent heartfelt memoir from Roger Ebert. He was simply the best and will be missed. True American pop culture intellectual.

12. The Joy of X: No, I didn't misspell SEX you dirty people! I honestly have no recollection about reading this book. I think it's about math?

13. Slash: Guitarist from GnR's bio. His hedonism and general prickishness felt like he was trying too hard to keep pace with Motley Crue. 

14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Yes, I started to read these in my mid-30s. Don't judge. Better than Twilight, right? RIGHT?!?

15. Mountains Beyond Mountains: Good story about an American doctor in Haiti trying to make the world give a shit about the poor. Made me feel like a lazy fuck. 

16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Uh oh, here comes the run of Harry Potter books! 

17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: I can't really tell them apart, except to say that they got better as they got darker. 

18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: This one I think had about 8000 pages about the Quidditch World Cup, which I couldn't give fewer fucks about. 

19. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: I saw a bunch of people running around with brooms in a park playing quidditch. I don't believe in violence but I wanted to slap them all. 

20. The Silver Linings Playbook: The book was nearly as good as the movie. Nearly. It's a bit darker but still great.

21. David and Goliath: Malcolm Gladwell is a fun read but completely full of shit. This was fine as a New Yorker article, no need to make it a book.

22. Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: Great bio from boxing trainer Teddy Atlas. He once took a gun to Mike Tyson's head. I recommend for anyone who likes boxing.

23.  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: JK Rowling is a great writer for all ages, although getting these books in the children's section of the library was always awkward.

24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: I was sad to see the series end, I became attached to these characters. Dumbledore made shit way harder than it needed to be though. 

25. Mo' Meta Blues: Questlove book that was part personal bio, part musical bio. Brutally honest about the lows in his career. Great way to end the year.

So that's it for 2013. I quite enjoyed this challenge and will do it again in 2014! These are the things you do when you have nothing and nobody to live for, so you fill the vacuum with something that gives you a slice of meaning.

Have a great 2014, I can't wait to hit you with more withering cultural criticism. Also, keep downloading (and listening to) the 3ThaHardWay podcast. For those who don't know, we're like John Irving, Arthur Schlesinger Jr and Camille Paglia, except with more f-bombs.

Stay hungry.

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