I have a book club copy of Mark Leibovich’s This Town, which is now out in paperback, and probably available at local libraries without much of a wait. Anybody be interested in doing a Sunday-evening/afternoon hate-read together, to start up the new calendar year and keep us in shape until Rick Perlstein’s Reagen book is published?
Another possibility, if anyone else is interested, would be Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, which is also available in paperback — and, believe me, the questions of what we wear, how & where our clothing is made, and the costs involved go way beyond ladyblogging.
More ‘scholarly’ options, John B. Judis has a TNR article presenting “Ten Books Any Student of American History Must Read“, all of which look very promising (especially Fathers & Children) and none of which I’ll probably get the Round Tuit without external validation.
Your thoughts, commentors?
The fact that women in this country spend a gazillion dollars on the latest “fashion” is a travesty. I have noticed a lot of sequins recently, I mean really, sequins in court? It might look nice on the runway but in every day life it is absurd. I have always been a believer in buying classic pieces, ie black pants that can be paired with a myriad of tops, as well as classic black jackets for formal days in court, I can pair a black pair of pants, and a black jacket with a different top five days a week and the jury will never know that I am not wearing a different outfit every day of the week.
Susman’s book is excellent, as are some of the others listed.
@Litlebritdiftrnt: Your first and last sentences encapsulate the problem nicely.
I have a “uniform,” which has served me very well through the past several years of working, and which I see no reason to abandon now that I’m retired: black slacks, and either black jacket/coloured turtleneck, or colored jacket/black turtleneck, or (if it’s a special holiday) black slacks, coloured turtleneck, different colored jacket, with a print scarf to tie the different colours together. Except during the worst of high summer (when I revert to print sundresses and solid-coloured linen jackets), this is my default.
@Anne Laurie (top): I would be more than happy to participate in a BJ book club discussion on any or all of these suggestions.
Have been looking for a good excuse to read This Town anyhow. And the book on fashion sounds interesting.
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” (Dee Brown?) would probably substitute for “fathers and children”.
i spit on ever $20 bill i get.
currently reading B.Liddel Hart’s “History of the Second World War”, a one volume treatise from the british prospective.
the best single volume history from the american angle is “Delivered from Evil” by Robert Leckie (author of “Helmet for My Pillow”).
i like history books.
Count me in on the book club. Only issue is difficulty commenting on Sundays evenings, since I have a standing movie night with a friend. This week we saw The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, and it was strange indeed.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
You know how I feel about this. Words are stupid.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
One of those movies which should have been better than it was.
Kirk Douglas as a milquetoast? Puh-leeze.
Internet, for today, you has won it.
I think thats a really weird list of books from Judis. It seems both foundational and quite dated. It doesn’t include incredibly important books like Albion’s Seed, What’s the Matter With Kansas, Nixonland, Urban Metropolis, Anything about women, Anything about the Asian experience or the view from the West like Tanaka’s “Strangers From Another Shore.” There’s not enough Native American stuff, Civil War stuff and there’s not enough Cultural history.
@SiubhanDuinne: I repudiate my former works and use words – glorious, stupid words to accept this tubular gift. Thank you Al Gore for making this possible.
Mike in NC
I have over 100 books (excerpts) uploaded on my iPad. They generally give you 1-2 chapters for free and if your want more you have to buy it. Greatest invention since sliced bread. Between this and the Sony eReader, we no longer buy hard copy books.
Or by women. I mean, come on.
@lahke: That is one awesome weird movie!
And Barbara Stanwyk, always great.
I’m in if we settle, I like interesting non-fiction.
For whatever it’s worth, the best books I read last year can be found here. I read just over 200 of them so it’s from a pretty large sample. (That said– heavy on nerd shit, so calibrate expectations accordingly.)
Guessing Judis got his BA in Political Science at Columbia University in 1988.
Nope. BA in Philosophy from Amherst.
This Town just sounds like a painful and essentially worthless read
Oooh, Overdressed! Let’s read that, on the grounds that it’s an area of my life that I don’t resent enough.
“Overdressed” would be a timely read for me; I’m just getting into knitting, and it’s giving me an entirely new perspective on the labor that goes into making clothes and the value of the materials. I’m struck anew at how arbitrary the prices of clothing are, both on the low end and the high. I’ve always gone for simple, well-made pieces that can last me a decade or more (especially vintage stuff), and I’ve always been disgusted by the designer trash that one finds in department stores. Now the department store experience seems extra surreal. However, I love beautiful style and fabrics, and I do lust over certain designers (Eileen Fisher, Romeo Gigli, Rei Kawakubo, for example). I try to buy them used when I can, since that’s all I can afford, and I figure if it still looks good to me several years after it was produced, it will stand the test of time.
This Town is not a very illuminating read, there is not much there that you haven’t heard before.
The only thing of interest that I learned is that Mike Allen father was Gary Allen, a John Birch nut of biblical proportion. Mike Allen plays it off like it had no influence on him, and that they rarely discussed politics, which is a complete absurdity.
Anyone who knows anything about the Birchers of that era knows that they were the Jehovah’s Witnesses of politics, absolutely convinced of the imperative of warning everyone they met of the imminent communist takeover, a takeover foreshadowed by every single current event, no matter how innocuous that event may have seemed to a rational person.
Oh, and Politico sucks.
I checked the Amazon link, and the paperback’s not out until the end of April. Still too pricy for a hate read, although I can check at my library when I get home from my Christmas travels tomorrow.
Any of these sound interesting to me, although from a visceral level it would be more fun to do a book about the stupidity of fat cans than the exploitative nature of fat cats.
But I’m in, regardless.
Anything but This Town, which I read with disgust growing on every page. The only audible download I’ve ever returned!
It’s just a glance into a snakepit, where all the snakes are grinning with malevolence while they eat one another’s faces . . . oh, and also they believe they are somehow the center of the known universe.
Did I mention it’s disgusting?
Overdressed!!! Sorry, got a little excited. I never do book groups, but this would change my mind.