Print Story Books for next year.
By technician (Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 08:02:58 PM EST) (all tags)
Here's what I think y'all should read. Not to the exclusion of all else, mind you.

  1. Deer Hunting with Jesus is a book about America. If you want to understand the Right Wing Crazies from a Left Wing Gun Nut, read this book. Also Bageant's essays are good.
  2. A Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine is a book about a guy who tries to make food from the original Le Guide Culinare by Escoffier using food he kills, grows, catches, or raises. Pigeon stuffed with oyster, anyone?
  3. Generation Kill. This is a fine book. Look for Evan Wright's Hella Nation as well.
  4. I've been pushing this book for ten years at least, so please read it despite the movie: Youth in Revolt is very funny. The follow-ups are OK, with the final one getting close to the original. The movie is nowhere near the book, which has a small cultlike following.
  5. Traffic is a book about traffic, but it is a lot more than that. I've found myself often quoting it.
I'll add more tomorrow, hopefully.
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Books for next year. | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
I've had my eye by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 08:18:07 PM EST
on Traffic for a while, and finally picked it up while I was getting books for my sister. For her, I got Garbage Land, which I discovered she'd wanted to read years ago but had forgotten that she wanted to. I love it when that happens. It's like we're sisters or something.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
Traffic didn't by technician (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 08:23:36 PM EST
hold my attention too well, but I kept coming back to it. Finally in a fit of annoyance, I finished it.

It has insights that are counter-intuitive but obviously so. Yet, it still validates what I've suspected for years: people are, by and large, not driving their cars. They are riding in them, letting the people around them guide them. Offshoring their driving to the next SUV over.

[ Parent ]
it hovered by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 08:30:12 PM EST
right about my threshold for "intriguing" until I finally saw it face out on the bookshelf and got it. There's something to be said for books that tell you things you kind of already knew but never quite thought of exactly that way or didn't quite know how to articulate. I felt that way about Us and Them.

I still remember a catchphrase my driver's ed teacher was fond of: "Don't let anyone else drive this car." It would be nice if more people followed that advice.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

[ Parent ]
Hrrrmmm. Generation Kill, eh? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:48:33 AM EST
Young people are annoyingly self-absorbed. Young people at war are doubly so, I suspect.

Convince me.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Well, by technician (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:34:50 AM EST
at the very best of it, it reads like Chickenhawk without the depression: a straight report of a war. But in Chickenhawk, there was tons of fighting and a dread of it, in Generation Kill, there isn't as much fighting (they spend a lot of time driving around) and there is no dread. The dread comes from not fighting; these kids want to kill. They want to be in the moment, contribute to the cause, whatever you want to call it.

I've heard this from cousins and co-workers, that a Marine in Iraq felt less than useful, but a Marine in Afghanistan who sleeps on rocky cold ground and is pinned down eight out of ten days, he feels like he's doing what he was trained to do.

As for self-absorbed youth, there is some of that but there isn't any blog-like whining about war. The book is written by a Rolling Stone reporter, and he has a lot of sympathy for the soldiers, but he is also pretty heavy on his politics. A lot of it is understandable; he feels (like some of us) that the soldiers are being wasted on a war that we should never have started. But like many of us, he'd also like to see them used better: allow them to do their jobs, but also allow them to help the locals. It seems in Iraq, their hands were tied for everything except defensive fighting.

Now, this is one Recon unit in one aspect of one small part of a very large war.

Would you like it? Probably not. The writer's politics will fuck with the underlying story too much for you. I've lent it to former Marines who liked the way he described the camaraderie and intensity these kids have, and also liked that they weren't depicted as victims or numbskulls. But they all mentioned the politics of the book.

[ Parent ]
If War was a pie chart that looked like Pac-Man by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 06:19:02 PM EST
Walking and Driving the Fuck Around would be his body, and Blowing Shit to Pieces would be the mouth.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Youth in Revolt by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 06:57:50 PM EST
Matter of fact you got me to read it about ten years ago.  I'll second your endorsement. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Books for next year. | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)