ARTICLE: HX my interview with liza minnelli. yes, liza minnelli. to read the story: click on this link; log into the site; then come back and click on this link again, and you'll be brought to the right page.
After trying out a zillion books--based on (a) recommendations, but also relying on (b) what was on the shelves (I'm not an Amazon-type of guy)--I was starting to lose hope. Oprah has put her book club on hiatus several times, citing a lack of new releases worth reading. I now see her point.
But a little while ago I was listening to "This American Life" on NPR, and they played a section of Fears Of Your Life, written by a man named Michael Bernard Loggins, who has some sort of developmental disability. He wrote a list of things he's scared of, some entirely basic and some surprisingly deep and profound; after the writings were published, they were recorded as a spoken-word performance which you can buy online somewhere (and as part of a a fundraiser for NPR). I can't explain Fears, it's pretty cool, I recommend a listen.
But that's not the book.
Pondering the view of life through a mental disability, I picked up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, which was recommended by a friend: it's the story of a boy who finds his neighbor's dog murdered, and he sets out on an 'adventure' to solve the case. The catch: he's autistic, basically a math savant, with perhaps a touch of OCD, and he lives in a world very much of his own creation, solving life's riddles with bizzare mathmetical calculations and unflinchingly-rigid logic. And is always the case with these things, his adventure goes much further than just that dead dog.
This book was published a few years ago, and received heavy praise from daytime talk shows. I know it sounds like a handful, I know it sounds dry and weird, but it's enlightening and fun. If you've read my weblog for any length of time, you can trust I am not a super-duper intellect who feeds on inaccessible literature. (I am the guy who has seen Bring It On 14 times.)
You have to be patient with this book; there are lots of tangents, he busts out the calculus a few times, but there's no need to be intimidated. Once you get going--and realize (a) you're not supposed to understand the math, and (b) those tangents eventually do have a point--the book is brilliant. And despite all the graphs and such, it's a really easy read.
I have all sorts of issues and questions we'll be discussing. Good stuff. I'll put up the topics in a week or two.
So go get Curious Incident; I found it at Barnes & Noble, it's easy to find.