Just Above Sunset
October 31, 2004 - Bookstores always remind the columnist of "Bring Cash Alley" in Saigon

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Book Wrangler


By Bob Patterson


We were collecting information for the Book Wrangler column by wandering around in the Borders near the new incarnation of Schwabb’s in Hollywood.  On an impulse we asked one of the clerk’s for something or someone new to write about.  The young man was very enthusiastic about Augusten Burroughs who had written a thing called Running With Scissors, which had been on the New York Times bestseller list for 70 consecutive weeks.


We looked on the Internet and found that Augusten Burroughs has been productive and was recently listed as one of America’s best humorists.  We need laughs.  It seems his newest book is Magical Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs  ($23 St. Martins Press)  Online it stated that “magical thinking” is a psychological phenomenon whereby some folks think they are more influential than they really are.  Maybe this plug will help Burroughs get this new book on the New York Times bestseller list.  If the Santa Monica Public Library gets a copy, we’ll add this to our list of books to read and review. 


The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs ($25 Simon & Schuster published October 1, 2004) had been a topic of conversation earlier in the day when I was talking to a friend who knows nothing about baseball or cars.  Jacobs read the entire Encyclopedia Britanica in his quest to win the title in the title.  We recommended this new book to our pal, in the hopes that he could bone up on his weak points and maybe take the title away from this Jacobs fellow.


Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies by Russ Kick  ($24.95 paperback The Disinformation Co.) was what our pal recommended that Jacobs read next.


Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn ($23.95 W. W. Norton published September 30, 2004) sounds like it might be worth putting on the “look list” next time we go to the Santa Monica Public Library.  Our list is growing quite long. 


Running With the Bulls: My Years With the Hemingways by Valerie Hemingway ($34.95 - that might be the Canadian price - Ballantine Books) …  This book reminds us of the song lyrics that go: Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.


Lonesome Traveler by Jack Kerouac ($12 paperback Grove Press) … We thought our collection of books by this writer was complete.  Come to think of it we leaped to another conclusion and have never looked for this particular author’s work in the fiction section of the Santa Monica Public Library.  The prospects of reading this book is similar to what a world explorer would think upon finding a new previously undiscovered continent.


Fun Along the Roa : American Tourist Attractions - Another Amazing Album from America's Number One Roadside Observer by John Margolies  ($29.95 Bulfinch published June 1, 2004) … As long as your are on the road you might just as well look for America’s best examples of uniqueness.


The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Volume 15) edited by Stephen Jones ($12.95 paperback Carroll & Graf) .. Why shouldn’t a friend of a friend get a plug at Halloween time?


Lunchbox: Inside and Out; From Comic Books to Cult TV and Beyond by Jack Mingo and Erin Garrett ($16.95 paperback Harpe rEntertainment - published August 1, 2004) …  Cool Hunters have long known that kids school lunch boxes have become collectibles.  This book will help others catch up with this cultural development.






Copyright 2004 – Robert Patterson


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
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