Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Top 10 Books of the Year

In a short break to my blogs about 30 Bars, I thought I should write about the Top 10 books I read this year. “Top “ is actually a misnomer, because one would think it would be “best books,” but I think to determine "best" is highly subjective. So my criteria in determining best is "most influential". The Top 10 books that influenced Eric:

10. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee; “I work in a restaurant, so my children do not.” The ethos of my family. Sure, there were tons of chapters about the history and etymology of “fortune” and “cookie” but there are also many chapters that made me realize that in far flung reaches, people still have the same dream that my grandparents had four decades ago.

9. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin: Anyone who listens to NPR or watches Meet the Press have heard about this book. Sure Obama selected Clinton, but who else? What should serve as greater application is that people should get along to serve a larger goal, even if they hate each other.

8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer; this was a god-awful book. Chapters devoted to describing the male love interest, nary a sentence about the girl (except she was a whiney bitch). But you know what, I am Bella and where is my Edward?

7. Pontius Pilate by Ann Wroe; I first read this book at Vanderbilt for fun, I reread it in September for knowledge. How do you declare a war on something that has no borders like “Al Qaeda,” how do you cut the Gordian knot when a man calls himself the “King of Kings?" A sympathetic portrait on history’s most hated bureaucrat.

6. Nixonland by Ron Pearlstein; forget Goethe, this is the ultimate Faustian tale. The man was a moderate, but he needed to win. He sells out, and the Republican party has never been the same.

5. The God Delusion by Richard Hawkins; he can be as irrational and extreme as the people he attacks, and sometimes it is shooting fish in a barrel. Attacking people who believes in the “Gap Theory of Fossil History” or “Irreducible Complexity” is amusing, but it preaches to the choir. What is more important and influential are his discussions and views of the Old Testament. He depicts God as an asshole, and that is offensive. But what the faithful should take out of it is why does God change? Why does he give us his son, when in the Old Testament he was wrathful, and why does Satan change from mere accountant to the embodiment of evil.

4. The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene; sorry I am a dick, BTW do you mind signing this?

3. The Agenda by Bob Woodward; you know what was the tipping point in securing Clinton’s economic plan? When Warren Buffet told Bob Kerry “Don’t worry [about his vote] the rich will set payroll low for themselves and invest in stocks that don’t pay dividends.” A policy that we should be cognizant about when adopting a plan in raising marginal tax rates for the wealthy.

2. Being Justice Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse; the ultimate profile in courage. After Roe v. Wade, Blackmun knew he would be one of the most hated men in America, but he did what was right. Women, racial minorities, and gays should erect a temple for him.

1. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald, we all want to be the smartest person in the room, but sometimes we need to know when to stop. What is more important than laws, is to know why they are erected.

The worst book of the year. Literally worst.

My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas, you are Black I get it. You believe Blacks should work hard, I get it. 350 pages of it, really? Next time, skip Anita Hill and your attacks against Affirmative Action, and tell us why I should not be allowed to marry a person I love.

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