“You Must Learn!”

04.06.08 10 years ago 16 Comments

Every few weeks, I try to give my take (for those that care) on books I’ve picked up over the past few weeks. As much as my girl hates it, I’m an avid reader. It’s one of two ways that allow for me to clear my mind of the crazy speeds of the information superhighway that cause my brain to run @ warp speed damn near all day. The other thing allows me to forget the day? Well, she we both like that…but I digress. Here’s a few that managed to either keep my attention or made me want my time & money back.

The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak by Rick James

Suggested to me by Cookiehead as one of the books that he read during his current stay @ one of nation’s fine federal correctional institutes, this tome is raw.

Not as raw as Nikki Sixx’s autobiography. Not as polished as one would hope (there are some grammatical errors & misspells throughout). And even though Rick goes in, there’s still parts that i wish were more detailed.

Overall, still a read that will keep your attention as Richard Ambrose Johnson goes through & drops dimes on his experiences & travels throughout the entertainment industry. For younger generations, he was merely a Chappelle show skit. For ages right above that, he was best known for a few disco hits & his arrests during the mid 90’s.

But in his prime & unknown to some, Rick was a superior musical mind & truly a man of the world. Too much to truly recount, but here’s a run down some of his exploits…

— Served briefly in the military before going AWOL (I had no idea).
— Spatted with Marvin Gaye over Anna Gordy (the subsequent muse for Here, My Dear).
— Used to bang Daisy Duke (I’m still in amazement over that one).
— In fact, he used to bang a whole lot of Hollywood chicks…and a lot of chicks period, before the fame (reminds me of myself).
— Tormented Prince during the early part of the Purple One’s career and battled him for record supremacy, claiming Prince stole his style.

Engaging read & one of those that will have you hating to put it down & looking forward to when it’s time to pick it up again.

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert

I don’t watch a whole lot of TV & definitely don’t watch whatever show this guy is a part of. But, if there was ever a book where sarcasm & humor came across with a punch in the written word, this would be it. Colbert creates a character that spews right-wing hate to the point where it’s obnoxiously funny & will have you on the verge of bursting into laughs…but who wants to be the herb who laughs out loud while reading a book. Like I said, I know little of the man nor the character he portrays on TV, but those I know who do keep up with it say this is a brilliant portrayal of that character. But, I think anyone will grasp early on that the absurd shit Colbert kicks has to be the thoughts of an alter image because it’s so far from being politically correct. If you consider yourself “smart” and “literary,” you’ll get a pure kick out this one.

Larry King by Larry King

I was in a crappy little store one day, about to checkout, when I noticed this book laying on rack. The store was selling used books for $2 to benefit some kids in wheelchairs or some shit. I’ve read two of King’s books & loved them. And since I’m a reader, I’ll give any book a shot, especially when it’s only $2 for a hardcover.

Best $2 I’ve spent in a long time.

Published in 1982, the book is obviously dated & it precedes King’s rise in the realm of television. Again, not a fan of TV so I think I’ve never seen a full episode of his show but enough to consider myself aware of his personality. And what I haven’t learned from watching him, I’ve learned by reading his books & the stories that he manages to tell always keep my attention. He manages to trace his successes & failures in anecdotes that flow back to his “Jewish kid from Brooklyn” beginnings, his rise (and subsequent economic fall) in Miami radio & everything in between. In a weird way, King’s story would be comparable to Jay-z’s: Kid from Brooklyn who manages to make his way up success’ ladder to become one of the most influential people of his time…I mean if Jay, were older, Jewish and wore funny suspenders. Nevertheless, King again gets a nod from me for creating another well-written, charming recollection of his life that reads less like a book and more like a public journal.

Books I’ve started reading but only slowly trudging my way through

The latest edition of All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald Passman

Yeah, I knew going in that the music business was moving faster than the speed of any printing press could even begin to try to keep pace with. But I still picked up the book anyways because a.) I’ve heard it referenced so much in the past and b.) I figured the basis of it would still be good to store in my mental hard drive.

Well, it’s damn near a borefest because it is so far behind, even though it tries to keep pace.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side Of Everything by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

(Sidenote – Should I name my son Stephen/Steven if I want him to be an author?)

Yeah, rave reviews & shit but it’s nothing more than The Tipping Point revisited IMO. I’ll work my way through it but right now, it’s just not grabbin’ my attention like I expected. Not sure if it’s the language, the content or a combination of both. Whatever it is…ugghh.

Clockers by Richard Price

The movie ranks as one of my all-time favorites so I decided to pick up the book. Reading it feels like being on the set of the filming of the movie, as it’s very detailed all the way down the most miniscule parts. This one is very well-written but time-consuming requiring a lot of focus. And another case where the book trumps the movie by a long shot…well, at least 1/4 of the way through. I’ll tell you more once I get there.

Feel free to agree, disagree or tell me other books I should be reading.

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