I am going to pass along a few gems that I have found.
A friend of mine gave me a short memoir by writer Paul Auster about his life as a young man and a writer called Hand to Mouth which was very good. It tells the story of Auster as he struggled in New York and Paris and struggled with finishing college. He also amuses us with tales of his job working on a ship and his invention of a baseball card game that he tried to shop around in vein. The reason I liked this memoirs was that it reminded me so much of many of my struggles in trying to pursue my vision and the things that are important to me such as my writing and political activism. Like the young Auster I have always been broke; the difference, of course, is that I don’t have a Columbia degree or any monied family to help me when time gets tough. When shit gets tough for me then I’m just ass out.
After reading Hand to Mouth I walked into a bookstore a couple of days later and just happened to see his new novel The Brooklyn Follies. At first I just thumbed through it; but when I realized that the book was set in Brooklyn, had a character who was a cabbie and another indie bookstore owner ( I have two good friends who own an indie book store in St. Louis and it made me think of them) I realized I had to read this book. As the pages turned it had more of things that I like; stories about Brooklyn neighborhood people, a hot Latin waitress, a religious fanatic preacher who thinks his dick is an instrument from the Lord, and a messed up family like many I know ( including mine). I read the fist 254 pages of the book at the bookstore and then about a week and a half later I went to 7th Ave in Park Slope Brooklyn and read the last 47 pages and that was fitting because most of the book took place in Park Slope and as the book ended the hero was walking down 7th Ave on 9-11 after getting out of Methodist Hospital and as I finished the book I headed down 7th Ave in the same direction.
The United States of Europe by TR Reid and How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer are two other books I have been thumbing through. Reid makes a lot of interesting points about the economic power of Europe and the power that Europe yields in being the world regulators in most areas. He also does a good job ( even if he got some facts wrong regarding the American unemployment and welfare system, Americans get much less than what Reid states) in contrasting the European Model and Welfare State to that of America; where the term “welfare state” is one that is used in menacing terms. What Reid neglects in the book, in my opinion, is a real examination of how the demographics of Europe and the fact that people are not having children in Europe is going to affect the future. For example Muslims are only mentioned once in the book.
DA, from the now defunct Crime of Aquinas blog, recommend How Soccer Explains the World and the only chapter I have read so far is titled Soccer and the Jewish Question and it is a fascinating look at European Jewish Football clubs in the early twentieth century and their relation to politics and Zionism. Earler this year I found out, and I am sure that Abu Sinan and other European football fans already knew this, that a lot of football clubs have political affiliations.