N.B.: Kid Millions Letter29/12/2009
Not-So-Great Books of 2009
With Suggestions for Alternative Reading
By Kid Millions
Note: The Owls asked some thoughtful people to comment on their favorite books of 2009. Kid Millions responded with these far more extensive notes. -JMT.
Hey Owls – I read a bunch of awful books published in 2009. . . I’ll reveal them and tell you what to read instead.
Night of the Gun:
A Reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His Own.
By David Carr
Simon and Schuster PB, June 2009
This book presents a rare quandary – an egregiously self-indulgent memoir written by an insufferable bore self-aware of his tremendous human failings and of the unmitigated self-obsession this kind of book project suggests.
You should read:
One of the most brutal, uncompromising looks at life as a junkie ever written.
Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit
By Matt McCarthy
Viking, February, 2009
Like most of Matt McCarthy’s teammates on the Provo Angels minor league team where he spent one season, I’m sick and tired of Ivy League bullshit. Add to all this that McCarthy’s debunked (another fraud memoir!) tale is told from the safe confines of the hospital where he’s now doing his residency.
You should read:
Probably the best sports book I’ve ever read and I don’t make this claim lightly. False Spring is a kind of miracle of self-awareness. Pat Jordan spent 10 years in the minors as a pitcher and in the process composed this elegy about human failings, lost dreams and just plain living life.
And my final dig?
Cat Power: A Good Woman
By Elizabeth Goodman
Three Rivers Press, April, 2009
The bio starts with the classic journalistic ruse: “Chan Marshall [aka Cat Power] does not want you to read this book.” OK – so it’s not official. . .and it’s a few steps above a hack job. The author also makes a big deal about Marshall not talking about her half-brother with cerebral palsy as if she’s trying to sweep a family skeleton under the rug. That strikes me as a loathsome reach for Goodman who seems to have a chip on her shoulder about the fact that Chan wasn’t psyched for her to do the book. Cat Power clearly has good taste if she tried to sink this.
You should read this instead:
Wareham captures the ambivalence, emptiness and simple pleasures that make up a large percentage of the life of a small-time touring musician accurately and poignantly. In terms of music memoirs I’ve read this one is closest to my experience as a micro-time indie rock musician straddling the period between the industry’s feast and famine years (late 90s vs. current day)…