Nancy Pearl, who writes the Book Lust series, is often interviewed on Weekday and while I love books and talking about books, I can’t imagine buying a book that is just a list of other books that someone recommends. Where would you start? And why would you trust her taste?
Last Tuesday, though, NPR acted like my own private book recommendation engine. First of all, I had started reading The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World by Tim Harford the night before because I’d heard him on The Conversation a few weeks earlier. I was actually pretty proud of myself because I convinced our company library that they should order the book and check it out to me so that I didn’t have to wait in line at the regular King County system, which is excellent but can take a while for popular books. Also, although I found the book didn’t hang together quite as well as Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything I’ve actually found more relevant instances to throw out, “well, in this book I was reading it said that…”, helping me in my constant quest to be erudite and witty at dinner parties.
Anyway, on Weekday that morning, E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right talked about how religious people don’t necessarily have to end up in the conservative camp and how some of them are really living their religious values and finding themselves more drawn to the left. Given that I have to work really hard to not just assume that all strongly religious people are not crazy right-wingers by default, I think this book is a good one for me to try. Then later that afternoon on The Conversation, Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart, authors of Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes* discussed lots of fun anecdotes about politics, making me want to go check out their book too.
See, who needs Book Lust when you can hear it straight from the authors’ mouths? Now that’s effective marketing.
*What is it about books today that every single non-fiction seems to be titled Pithy Short Phrase: Longer and Sometimes Still-Witty Explanation? It’s getting a bit old.