Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend)

By posted at 3:00 pm on December 9, 2011 2

coverI began The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson, on a Sunday afternoon in May flying home from a friend’s wedding and finished it around 2 am that night holed up in my “office,” a 6×8 foot room covered in music equipment, gym clothes, and a decent amount of garbage. My desire to finish Ronson’s gripping book without waking my cat and girlfriend outweighed the putrid stench of my terrible fetid lair. I felt like a psychopath! But I’m not one — I have a sense of humor and experience empathy. Ding ding ding.

In the book, Ronson runs through a 20-item checklist used to diagnose psychopathy, in the process interviewing a mass-murderer, mental patients, daytime talk-show producers, a corporate downsizer, and more. Dark stuff, certainly, but Ronson is able to find hilarity in the truly morbid. When I finished it, I passed it on to my mom and she loved it!

coverWar is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges, tells of the author’s experiences covering wars for The New York Times. I’m fascinated by how, in an era where more and more things are documented online, much of what actually goes down during war remains hidden from public view. This slim volume goes a good way into explaining the mindsets of those who have lived through war and the journalists who regularly cover it.

I also really enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife, by Téa Obreht. It got me thinking a lot about the nature of family generally, and my departed grandfathers specifically, which I don’t do often enough. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

In terms of purely enjoyable language, I need to recommend The Angel Esmerelda, by Don DeLillo. That man, to this day, knows how to write a spectacular sentence.

More from A Year in Reading 2011

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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2 Responses to “A Year in Reading: Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend)”

  1. Marie-Michèle
    at 12:12 am on December 10, 2011

    Hi!

    I have read other books of Jon Roson and I liked them all. I have not read this one yet but with the great description you give of it, I just cannot wait to read it now! :)

  2. elle
    at 9:56 am on December 10, 2011

    (love your band!)
    I thought the Chris Hedges book was really well done, and he is just as impressive at book discussion panels.
    I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the new DeLillo, so I will have to get to that one soon.

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