Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I was going to give each book I read a post, but I’m now five books behind, so forget that. Here we go:

The Velvet Underground and Nico by Joe Harvard
Once I got past the truly terrible chemistry metaphor (that seemed to indicate that water could easily be created it from its constituent elements), this was a good read. The best parts were focused on the recording process more than on the band (probably a good bet when the top guy in the band turned into an insufferable jerk). My favorite anecdote is Nico sobbing “I vant to seeng like Bob Deeeeeeee-lahn!”

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society by Andy Miller
Not quite as good as Fusilli’s Pet Sounds book, but in the same vein (though Pet Sounds focused more on the artist, TKATVGPS more on the recording): really brilliant guy writes really brilliant album that tanks commercially, but is eventually seen as his masterpiece. Unfortunately, this entire process makes guy go really nuts.

What I also enjoyed was the discussion of b-sides and non-album tracks around the time. The Kinks had a ton of these, which is why all the recent re-releases almost double the album size with bonus tracks. This book came out right before the re-releases, so it’s strange to read Miller describing how rare, say, “Wonderboy” is, when I now have it on my iPod.

Candyfreak by Steve Almond
CANDY! CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY CANDY! I like Candy. I’ve been eating lots of Lake Champlain chocolate since reading this book. Almond does a good job of staying on the right side of the Klosterman line, where his muddled social life comes up, but doesn’t overwhelm the ostensible subject of the book.

Freakonomics by Steves Levitt and Dubner
If you don’t know the basics of this book, you’re probably not reading this. It was fun finally getting to read the entire thing, though.

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
It was a compelling read, and I finished it quickly, but… sigh. It was very well-written and tightly-plotted. I just don’t care about morally suspect upper-middle class (or above) middle-aged British men caught up in very artificially constructed moral conundra. It was so spare. It makes me long for a good fabulist or magical realist book, with all attendant messiness. No more British novels for a little while, at least.