It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  • Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger. I loved this book and can’t believe I haven’t read it until now. It’s somehow both clear-eyed and sympathetic, and compelling throughout. My only regret is that coach never said, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” I was waiting the whole book!
  • Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T. R. Fehrenbach. Covers the parts of Texas history omitted by Friday Night Lights. Really well done. Fehrenbach helped me appreciate important ways in which Texas differs from, say, New York or Wyoming. 
  • The Lightning Rod by Brad Meltzer. First Meltzer I’ve read, and a well-crafted thriller. Liked it and will read more.
  • The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. So weird. So meta. Kind of barely even a novel? I actually had to pull a cheat sheet from Reddit to follow one of the chapters. I quite enjoyed the parts that I understood.
  • Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus. Brutal. Is it weird that we teach this stuff in high school? I appreciate the need for cultural literacy, but a lot of this just washed over me in AP English. 
  • The Monster’s Bones by David Randall. So, I loved dinosaurs growing up, and I especially loved the American Museum of Natural History. This is the story of how intrepid fossil hunter Barnum Brown made the Museum what it is today and found approximately . . . all the dinosaurs? At least T-Rex. Bonus points for the picture of Brown on a dig in a 20s-style fur coat. All that was missing was a pennant that said “College.”
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I can understand why a person would like this book but it didn’t really click for me.
  • Allow Me to Retort by Elie Mystal. On the days when I don’t want to be Matt Levine I think I might want to be Elie Mystal.
  • How to be Perfect by Michael Schur. Charming and funny. I think Justice by Michael Sandel is a better treatment of the subject matter for basically the same audience. As was, you know, The Good Place.