Friday, November 20, 2009

"Is TV Guide a Book?" "No." "Son of Sniglet?" "No." "Katherine Hepburn's Me?" "No!" "Oh, I suck..."

2009 Reading Competition

Yup, still alive.


1. Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell (299 pages) | Grade: C+
2. Boys Will Be Boys | Jeff Pearlman (365 pages) | B
3. Acme Novelty Library #19 | Chris Ware (80 pages*) | A
4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | Junot Diaz (340 pages) | A
5. Rome 1960 | David Maraniss (460 pages) | B+
6. The Reckoning | David Halberstam (733 pages) | A
7. Generation Kill | Evan Wright (370 pages) | B
8. Friday Night Lights | Buzz Bissinger (400 pages) | B+
9. Pictures at a Revolution | Mark Harris (496 pages) | A+
10. The Withdrawal Method | Pasha Malla (321 pages) | B+
11. Long Lost | Harlan Coben (374 pages) | D
12. Liar's Poker | Michael Lewis (249 pages) | B
13. McCain's Promise | David Foster Wallace (138 pages) | A
14. The Long Walk | Stephen King (380 pages) | A
15. The White Tiger | Aravind Adiga (276 pages) | A
16. The Closers | Michael Connelly (406 pages) | B+
17. The Book of Basketball | Bill Simmons (702 pages) | B-
18. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town | John Grisham (438 pages) | C-


America America | Ethan Canin (450 pages) | C+
2. Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell (299 pages) | B-
3. Lester B. Pearson | Andrew Coyne (174 pages) | B+

4. All The King's Men | Robert Warren (609 pages) | A
5. The Gamble | Thomas E. Ricks (325 pages) | A
6. What's The Matter With Kansas | Thomas Frank (251 pages) | B
7. Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime | Eliot A. Cohen (248 pages) | A
8. Churchill: A Life | Sir Martin Gilbert (959 pages) | A+
9. The Future of Liberalism | Alan Wolfe (288 pages) | B
10. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs | Chuck Klosterman (272 pages) | B
11. The Blind Side | Michael Lewis (352 pages) | A-
12. Friday Night Lights | Buzz Bissinger (400 pages) | A


1. The Inner Game of Tennis | Timothy Gallwey (134 pages) | A
2. The Last Shot | Darcy Frey (240 pages) | A+
3. The Road | Cormac McCarthy (287 pages) | A+

4. Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell (299 pages) | C+
5. The Last Season | Phil Jackson (304 pages) | B-
The Sunset Limited | Cormac McCarthy (160 pages)| B-
7. The Education of a Coach | David Halberstam (288 pages)| B+
8. Downtown Owl | Chuck Klosterman | (288 pages)| B

9. Can I Keep My Jersey? | Paul Shirley | (336 pages)| C-
10. Then We Came to The End | Joshua Ferris | (416 pages)| B+

11. Friday Night Lights | H.G. Bissinger | (400 pages)| A++
12. Strokes of Genius | L. Jon Wertheim | (208 pages)| B
13. Who's Your City | Richard Florida | ( 345 pages)| C
14. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men | David Foster Wallace (336 pages)| A

Brief reviews may follow (though I wouldn't count on it...)

* = will not be included in final page count.


Jesse said...

Where am I supposed to post mine?

The R.O.B. said...

How do we know you really read it, and didn't just look at the pictures... not that I'm planning on doing that myself... because I'm not...

Jesse said...

Well. I've so far finished Ethan Canin's America America, which was 480 pages, but I was 27 in, so I'm taking 450.

My grade... C+. It was an interesting story, but it didn't really move me, I don't think.

Better than Entourage (vis, a show you watch because it's always there and always OK), but not that much better. I feel Entourage books (I read it, I'm not excited, I'm not pissed off, it's just there, save maybe a couple moments (Johnny Drama) is a C. Although we should probably debate our rankings, so there's some consistency (let's hold ourselves to higher standards than our elected officials, shall we?)

That leaves me still in the middle of Whose Freedom? By George Lakoff (which I may just skim for his conclusions) and The Invisible Constitution by Laurence Tribe.

I've got Outliers from the lieberry, so let's agree to debate that once I've read it.

Question Mark said...

This is kind of weird, but 'Ethan Canin' is the name of Bob Gunton's character on 24. On the show it's pronounced CAIN-in, so I dunno if the author has a different pronunciation.

Jesse said...

My in depth research shows that the 24 Wiki, at least, spells the character's name with a 'K'. Still strange... I suppose it's a cool enough sounding name for a tv show, and Max Power was already taken.

Hal Incandenza said...

2. Boys Will Be Boys: pretty entertaining read, marred only slightly by Pearlman's insistence on relying upon incredibly dated pop culture references (notably: he talks about how Troy Aikman is usually very good at not staring down his receivers before throwing to them but, this one time, he gazed at Jay Novacek like "Ryan O'Neal looking at Ali McGraw in Love Story." The hell? This happens once every dozen pages or so, prompting me to eventually flip to the book's back jacket to confirm that Pearlman was, indeed, 35, and not 80.)

3. Acme Novelty Library #19: part space opera, part tale of love gone wrong, this is all great, and I highly recommend it. Despite it being a graphic novel--and, should this contest come down to a difference of 80 or so pages, my opponents could, not unfairly, make a claim that this should be excluded--it's one of the most moving things I've read in ages (and gorgeously illustrated to boot).

Jesse said...

I knocked out Outliers; please add it to my list.

And if you start counting comic books, I'm going to start tallying up all the newspaper pages I read every day. Oh, and The Atlantic just arrived...

Hal Incandenza said...

Point well taken.

Jesse said...

All The King's Men, by Robert Warren. A whopping 609 pages.

This book was really, really good. I read an updated edition, which apparently is somewhat truer to Warren's original vision. Based on the editors comments at the end, I would recommend this version.

The story is compelling, interesting, and so forth.

The book has what I've been describing to people as a "literary style"; lots of description, interesting devices, that kind of thing. This isn't something I get a lot of in my reading selection generally, but was great here.

It has some really interesting ideas about humanity and the world underlying (and sometimes overlying) it. This is the kind of thing that makes me love reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy (which I should do more of, come to think of it), and it's fantastic.

Finally, it's about southern politics... I actually picked it up because The Fix (WaPost's great politics blog) mentioned it was the best book on American politics.

I award this book an A+ (reserving to myself the right to award higher ratings later, if necessary).

Jesse said...

By my rough count, that puts Kyle at 2647 (including his ill-gotten comic book gains), Rob at 1364 (giving him 100 pages for The Sunset Limited, which he neglected to include a page count for) and me at 1532.

If anyone else is reading this, let's just keep in mind that Kyle's in law school, which leaves lots of time for reading.

The R.O.B. said...

How was the short stories book?

Hal Incandenza said...


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