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There’s a reason why I think Hunter S. Thompson is one of the best political writers we’ve ever had in America, and why I think this is by far the most insightful and honest book about presidential campaigning I’ve ever read. It’s hard to pin down, but here’s what I mean:

“By half time, with the Rams trailing by six, I had established a firm scientific basis for the paranoid gibberish I had uttered, an hour or so earlier, while standing in the hotel driveway and talking with Bobo the night pimp.”

And yes, that does mean I’m still reading this book two months later. Hey now, come on! That’s why Jessica is Jessica and I’m just me!

Wrap-up on this one coming soon as I careen headlong towards the end of Dr. Thompson’s wild ride.

Cover ImageCover ImageTruly obsessive readers (i.e. people like me) have been known, on occasion, to read two books at once.  There are really only two successful ways to do this a) you can read two completely different books (one nonfiction and one fiction is a good idea) or b) you can read two books that complement each other, but only if one requires less “work” than the other.  This past week, in an attempt to fill the Harry Potter void, I chose option b and I picked my two books carefully – Reading like a Writer and The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books.

Books about books (or about reading) are the sole realm of serious bibliophiles.  Readers wandering into Barnes and Noble or mindlessly exploring aren’t intrigued by these titles.  More often than not, they can’t even find them.  My favorite independent book store appreciates this small subset of readers and has a shelf entirely for us (entitled, obviously – Books about Books), but that’s unusual.  There are no book clubs for these kinds of books and even if there was, there is no cool way to tell someone you’re reading a book about reading (believe me, I tried this morning. Fortunately I outed myself to a fellow enthusiast), unless in the context of a class assignment (which, though it’s an adequate explanation and will save you some face, precludes it being “cool”)

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godMy life, like a lot of others, is not made up of epiphanies.  It’s the continual presence of small, evolving thoughts that make the biggest changes in my perspective, rather than the cataclysmic breaks from ideology.  I couldn’t tell you when I first learned about evolution, though my current interest and study is clearly the result of some early interest piqued and nurtured.  Nor could I pinpoint the moment I broke my covenant with God (an agreement made by others for me, before I was able to make it).  It was too gradual to know when I finally parted ways with the Catholic Church. 

I used to envy those with faith, thinking that by lacking it I was lacking something else far more important (turns out maybe I just don’t have the ‘god gene’).  But over the years I’ve become more comfortable letting that (Catholic) guilt go.  Ultimately I’ve realized that by being an unbeliever I haven’t missed out on anything and in many ways it’s kept me above (or below or around) the fray.  When the Church scandals came out I was able to feel the simple human emotions of revulsion and anger instead of loss and betrayal.

There is a stigma with admitting to atheism.  People react as if you just admitted you don’t like you grandmother (personal experience talking here).  There is an intense pressure to explain yourself, to say what you do believe in, as if people fear that a flood or burning bush or lightening may strike you down and they might get caught in the divine punishment cross fire.

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I don’t usually have any embarrassment about what I’m reading in public.  One notable exception was when I realized that I was reading The Position while in the waiting room at a pediatrician’s office.  Oops.  Fortunately all the patients were too young to read (or were too enthralled with Sponge Bob).

Since I started reading it, I’ve been quietly tucking One Perfect Day away in certain company and deftly hiding the title when on the subway. I carry it back cover out as I walk down the street.

 I feel so guilty about hating weddings.  

No one wants to be that asshole who rains on someone’s parade.  And not just any parade – a wedding is the biggest ticker-tape, socially acceptable,  self-congratulatory parade we have in our society. No other event (except perhaps the birth of a child) holds so much sway over everyone.   

Hating weddings is like hating baseball, babies, apple pie or the Bush Administration. Admit it and you’re sure to be on a list of dissenters somewhere.  You’re considered the worst kind of anti-American.  You’re dangerous and must be stopped.

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Cover ImageI can say (somewhat truthfully) that Mary Roach gave me this book. 

OK, so the author didn’t give it to me.  I almost bought this book a while ago because I work with a woman named Mary Roach.  Since she’s our resident expert on all things medicine, and mysterious about everything else in her life, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she secretly authored this book (of course the author photo would have been doctored har har). When I told her this, she not only laughed, she said she had the book and brought it in for me. 

I wasn’t really sure if I was actually going to like this book. I’ve read many treatises on obscure, seemingly interesting topics and most of them, though well intended, fail miserably to be interesting.

Not so this book.

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Jessica’s Reading

Jesse’s Reading

Jesse and Jessica are Both Reading

Devin’s Reading