Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Boozy Book Club No. 15

As 'tis the season for "year in review" posts, it seemed like a good idea to review the books I read this year, but then I realized I already did that. As a reminder, these are the books I've finished so far:
  1. Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson (finished 2/13/13)
  2. Baseball in Blue in Gray, by George B. Kirsch (2/13/13) 
  3. Night of the Hunter, by Davis Grubb (3/2/13) 
  4. A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson (3/16/13) 
  5. Sunset Park, by Paul Auster (3/27/13) 
  6. Driving Mr. Albert, by Michael Paterniti (4/15/13) 
  7. Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick (5/21/13) 
  8. Someone Could Get Hurt, by Drew Magary (6/10/13)
  9. Tenth of December, by George Saunders (8/4/13) 
  10. Joyland, by Stephen King (8/14/13) 
  11. Cuckoo’s Calling, by J.K. Rowling Robert Galbraith (8/31/13)
Every year, I aim to read at least one book per month. As you can see, I'm coming up short. Back in August, it looked like I was going to crush my goal, but ever since Baby Viper arrived, I've started and abandoned several books, trying to finish my twelfth of the year. On Monday, I started what I hope will be that final book.

You may not know this, but I'm a bit of a Coen Brothers geek. Barton Fink is among my Top 5 all time favorite movies. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is partly responsible for my descent into old-time music. I own six of their 14 movies, and it would be more if I hadn't gotten rid of my VHS tapes when Mrs. Viper and I moved into the house. And so, with that lead-in, you shouldn't be surprised to learn I am excited to see Inside Llewyn Davis.

As such, I decided to pick up The Mayor of MacDougal Street, by Dave Van Ronk, the folksinger who purportedly inspired the character of Llewyn Davis. Van Ronk grew up in New York City, amid the folk music scene rooted in Washington Square. Old-time music was a major inspiration to those musicians, and it's an era that has always drawn my curiosity, even before I knew what old-time music was.

After 65 pages, I'm hooked. Van Ronk is a crack up, and his worldview sometimes reminds me of myself, particularly his adherence to a certain sense of authenticity in what "folk music" meant before it became popular music and his disdain for certain practitioners and imitators what "folk music" came to mean after the singer-songwriters co-opted the term.

I have a little less than two weeks left to finish Van Ronk's book to count it for this year. I'm off on vacation next week, so hopefully I'll have the time to read in between holiday doings and taking care of my son. Wish me luck!

What final books are reading this year? What was your favorite book of the year? Anything you're looking forward to reading in 2014? 


Jen Feeny said...

Book marking this for future use.

Anonymous said...

Reading a number of books from Jack Du Brul

KW said...

i'm about to finish What Makes a Hero by Elizabeth Svodoba. It's really good, but scientific. So, sometimes it can drain on for pages. However, it talks about my guadrapeligic friend and I can't help but feel proud.