Wednesday, November 06, 2013


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. It's about the relationships between each of our modern Presidents and his predecessors.

I didn't expect to enjoy reading about the Presidents before my time, like Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower, but I am. It's an easy read, and surprisingly relevant. If these men of both parties can get it together to help one another, why can't the rest of Washington? This book reinforces why it would be inadvisable to have a "my way or the highway" Tea Partier in the Oval Office. A President has to facilitate government's function, not shut it down.

• What did you recently finish reading? Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin. A compulsively readable book about dysfunctional friendship, misplaced values and a deeply flawed hero. I grew up on Carson's Tonight Show and Johnny remains the gold standard (though I prefer to watch The Daily Show and TCR, which are very different shows). It is sobering to learn how little happiness automatically comes with talent, luck, brains and money. The author was there for 18 years and he seems honest if not always objective (I admire the way Bushkin admitted his own missteps, and how easily he was seduced by the money and perks), so I believed this tale. And it leaves me sad that Johnny died alone. No service. And, since he was cremated, there isn't even a gravesite. He's just *POOF* gone.

That's part of why I'm surprised this book is near the top of the NYTimes Best Seller list. I wasn't sure anyone still remembered Johnny and the jokes he told in the monolog about "Bombastic Bushkin." I guess I was wrong.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know. It should be Five Days at Memorial about the Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans and how they coped during the crisis of Katrina. But months ago I began The Last Word by Lisa Lutz and got distracted ... maybe I want to return to her wacky creation, The Spellman Family.

To see how others responded, click here.

November Challenge

Day 6 -- My views on mainstream music

I don't hear it much. Of Billboard's top 10, I've only heard two ("Roar" and "Wrecking Ball"), and those I'm familiar with from TV.

This revelation leaves me wistful. I remember being a girl of 7 and 8 and absolutely NEEDING to know which song was #1. Carrying my little transistor into the bathroom with me so I could get the news while taking my before-bed bath, or wrapping aluminum foil around the antenna while trying to get a signal in the family's little summer cabin in Wisconsin. Now I simply don't care.

I guess mainstream music is supposed to belong to the young.