Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known by Molly Ivins

I started reading Molly Ivins' political columns sometime around 2002 and quickly became a fan. Since she died in 2007, I have often wondered what she would say about current events. I can't think of another writer I miss more.

The reason for this book being among my unfinished business has nothing to do with Ivins. Many years ago, I designated this as a "trainer book", a book that I would read only while bicycling on the trainer in the basement. It's easier to just leave a book down there instead of taking down a different one each time, plus I figured wanting to read the book would encourage me to exercise. Alas, even a favorite writer wasn't enough to get my sorry ass on the trainer. The bookmark at page 162 of Who Let the Dogs In? slowly yellowed.

This November as the weather turned in Chicago, I found myself in an unlikely streak—I had exercised every day for two months. Determined to maintain that regardless of outdoor conditions, I cleared out a room in the basement to set up my trainer once again (there being no space in the exercise room since I added a barbell and two sandbags). Incidentally, my first day on the trainer was December 6, right at the start of unfinished business month. I read the last 200 pages over the course of eight bicycling sessions.

I love Ivins' perspective and way with language, so of course I enjoyed the remainder of Who Let the Dogs In?. This is a collection of articles previously published in magazines or newspapers, but they were new to me (according to an Amazon.com review, a few articles also appeared in her previous books). Some of the subject matter was dated back when I started reading the book and is much more so today. The columns range from the middle of Reagan's second term (when I was in high school) to Dubya's Iraq War.


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