Books on the nightstand

I might blog a little less in October and November because I’ve been reminded that words can also be published to flattened-out sheets of wood pulp called “paper,” and that this “paper” can be bound into books, which inspire writers to do substantial research and spend time on the craft of writing.

Here’s what I plan to read by Thanksgiving:

– Finish Gregg Easterbrook’s The Progress Paradox, which is weighed down by an overreliance of stats but contains an important message — despite the sensationalism of the media, life is better today than ever, any way you look at it.

– In a semi-related vein, it’s Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter. I’ve long insisted that The Simpsons is a better reflection of today’s society than the news media, so this should be right up my alley. (Speaking of alleys, I really should get back to Bowling Alone at some point. Yes, you can groan now.)

You: The Owners Manual, by a couple of doctors, as seen on Oprah’s “poop” episode. Nice to get medical advice by a couple of guys who’ve probably seen Beavis and Butthead on occasion. Of course, the first thing I learned is that I should be having sex at least 87 times a year. No wonder Beavis and Butthead had such poor health habits. (Incidentally, my “RealAge” is 28.5 even though I eat too much red meat. Who says you can’t be under 30 again?)

– Bob Dylan’s Chronicles Vol. 1. Just curious to know what would make a publicity-shy guy like him suddenly open up.

Yes, I’ll review all of these on the blog when I’m done. Give me time.

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