Sunday, May 04, 2014

2014 Books, Part I

I haven't been motivated to blog since I officially gave up my half-assed writing career last fall. There are other factors, but that's the biggest. After a few months thinking about what the point of The Hum of Desperation is, I haven't come up with a good answer. But when in doubt, it's easiest to keep on keeping on. In that spirit, I shall plow through this huge stack of books I've read thus far in 2014. I will be brief, both because I lack the motivation to write more and because after a few months I've forgotten a lot about what I've read. In lieu of verbosity, I am going to add Amazon-style ratings. Dumbing it down is always in style. Anyway, I'll post by fours from the start of this year:

Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Music by Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor - This book is incredible. My drummer friend Jeff recommended it, saying it changed how he looks at music. Later he added that it ruined rock criticism for him. I agree with both sentiments. Faking It looks at how artists and fans perceive authenticity, and whether it really matters. 5 stars

The Authenticity Hoax: Why the "Real" Things We Seek Don't Make Us Happy by Andrew Potter - This book talks about authenticity in many fields, and the bottom line is that authenticity is bullshit. This set off an existential crisis for me as a blogger, and it's another reason I haven't written much this year. 4 stars

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein - I never took a philosophy class, so the subject is one of my weak areas. I found this book entertaining, but a few months later I haven't retained much from it. The jokes are more illustrative than hilarious. 4 stars

Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now—Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything by David Sirota - I liked listening to Sirota talk politics on Al Franken's Air America radio show a decade ago (complete with a theme song parodying the Knack, "My Sirota"), so I was inclined to like this book. The premise of Back to Our Future is okay, but I don't think Sirota was the guy to write it—he's too young, born in 1975. When he talks about the 1970s and 1980s, you know it's just stuff he read about, not stuff he lived through as an adult. 3 stars


      

Perhaps you wondered why I chose to write about four books per post instead of five. It's purely aesthetic: as you can see, the Amazon links only fit four to a row.

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