The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Next on the Nightstand

As I’ve written here before, I’m an avid reader. I almost never go anywhere without taking along a book to read in case I have some downtime. I generally have two books going at any one time. Only two because I’ve learned that’s as many as I can read at one time and still have a hope of finishing them.

Still, I pick up books that sound interesting to me, even if I’m reading a couple already. Because, like any addict, I keep a stash; a stack of books waiting to be read when I finished devouring the ones I’m currently reading. Likewise, I get nervous when my stash starts getting low. I sometimes fall back on Nancy Pearl’s books, Book Lust and More Book Lust. But that’s also when I start asking for recommendations, and asking questions like “What are you reading?”

Currently I’m working my way through Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, because I’m trying to read more fiction and because it came up in my Amazon recommendations after I read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. Before that it was Kindred by Octavia Butler (which I loved, by the way).

However, I can’t quite get off my nonfiction kick. I just finished reading The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World after it sat on my desk for a while. I’d been wanting to read it for a while and after Derrick Jensen’s Endgame: Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization it seemed like the perfect follow-up. Now I find myself wanted to read more along those lines, and I’ve put Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century on my “to read” list. Likewise, I’m considering returning to Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies before moving on to Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

In the meantime, I’m working my way through a review copy of Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (review to follow as soon as I finish it), because it relates to the work I do. I’ve also got a review copy of House of War waiting to be read.

Despite all this, my next couple of books are already on the nightstand. (I do a lot of my reading on my way to and from work, and before going to sleep.) I had a couple of discounts at a nearby bookstore burning a hole in my pocket. So I picked up Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, because I’ve read so many favorable reviews of it and a number of reviews with the author. Still it was had to choose between that one and American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury or The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right’s Plans for the Rest of Us. Chances are I’ll end up reading both of those too.

I also picked up George Lackoff’s Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea, because I was impressed with Don’t Think of an Elephant and Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think. (I found the latter particularly informative in understanding and framing all kinds of stuff.)

Now that I think about it, I guess my stash isn’t running that low after all. But it never hurts to get an early start on tracking down my next fix.

So what are you reading? Got any recommendations?


  1. Chung Kuo novels by David Wingrove (out of print) Science fiction series 7 or 8 books. Deal with the world at the beginning of the 23rd Century. China took over, suppressed western history, and built continent spanning cities. A vast adventure…one reviewer compared to Dune.

    Having never done so before, I’m making an effort to read HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books)

  2. I’m like you–always a couple books going at the same time. I just finished Gabriel Garcia Marqez’ Memories of My Melancholy Whores and loved it, as I do with all his work. Also reading Vonnegut’s Man Without a Country, a collection of short essays, and quintessential Vonnegut. On the non-fiction side, The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskinds brilliant and chilling look at the Cheney Administration. Next on my nightstand, The Lost Gospel, by Herbert Krosney.

  3. Just finished “Hard Travel to Sacred Places”, written by Richard Wurlitzer. It is the account of his and his wife’s journey to Asia to visit Buddhist sacred places, on the heels of the accidental death of her 21 year-old son. Frank and moving.

    I buy most of my books at the local AIDS thrift store, where they sell them for ten cents on the dollar, so I don’t see many current books. Did pick up “American Theocracy” there.

    Reading “Night”, Elie Wiesel’s account of his experience in the death camps. I have read many personal accounts before, but had somehow never gotten to this one, which is the most celebrated. I would recommend “The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi, which is a brilliant exposition on his life before, during, and after the holocaust, and his meditations on life.

    I despise the politics of Mark Helprin. But he can write. His novel “A Soldier of the Great War” is on my list of the best novels of the ’90s. Go to Amazon, and just read the first page excerpt.

    Going After Cacciato, by Tim O’Brien, is to Vietnam what MASH was to Korea, and Catch 22 was to World War II. The book was optioned several years ago to Nick Cassavetes, but he hasn’t done anything with it yet. It would be, for Iraq, what MASH and Catch 22 were for Vietnam.