Thursday, June 16, 2005

Meet Joe. Joe was a bad man.

Hey! This entry isn't about music or soccer!
I forgot to tell you: My musical and soccer obsessions become nearly eclipsed during the summer months by an obsessional reading scheme.
Each summer, I generally select a theme or author and proceed to read EVERYTHING I can about that theme or by that author.
Here is a recap of the previous five summers:
2004 -- Musical biographies. I read about a dozen, including books on the lives of Woody Guthrie, Miles Davis, Gram Parsons, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.
2003 -- Georges Simenon. The prolific Belgian mystery writer was a favorite of my late grandmother. I inherited a bunch of Simenon's books featuring his most famous character, the French detective Inspector Maigret.
2002 -- OK... It was a World Cup year, eh? So I devoted my reading time to "The Sunday Times Illustrated History of Football" and "The Rough Guide to European Football."
2001 -- E.M. Forster. I read as many of his novels and short stories as I could find, including "A Passage to India," "Howards End" and "Maurice."
2000 -- Raymond Chandler. Novels like "Farewell My Lovely" and "The Big Sleep" never seem to age for me.
This summer, I have begun reading Simon Sebag Montefiore's fantastic biography of one of the world's most despised despots: "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar." The book opens with the night in 1932 when Stalin's wife Nadya commits suicide. Montefiore argues that this episode proved to be a pivotal moment in Soviet history, contributing to the horrible mass executions which characterized Stalin's reign.
Here's a tip: If you are going to read about Soviet history (as I intend to do the remainder of this summer), select recently published books. No-longer secretive Russian authorities opened long-sealed archives for Montefiore, so he supports his biography with documented happenings, rather than mere speculation.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love your blog. I read it every morning to find out what you are up to. It's almost like being there having a conversation!

12:27 PM  

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