Books Go To The Dogs

September 17th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

The glut of dog books on the shelves of bookstores continues with the upcoming release of Cesar Millan’s second book, a follow-up to his bestselling, Cesar’s Way. Dog owners everywhere are wagging their tails for Cesar with the success of his book and television show on The National Geographic Channel, The Dog Whisperer. (He unfortunately couldn’t call his book after his popular tv show because, guess what?, that was already the title of a dog book by Paul Owens and Norma Eckroate. See what I mean by glut?)

Cesar’s second book is called Be The Pack Leader and promises to continue where he left off with “Cesar’s Way,” promoting calm-assertive energy in dogs and insisting they get exercise, discipline, and then affection (in that order) while also introducing new topics about the major behavior tools available on the market and the difference between “personality” and “instability.”

If Cesar’s entreaty that he “rehabilitates dogs and trains people,” doesn’t sit well with your concept of where you are on the food chain, there are plenty other dog books to choose from. A sampling:

Marley & Me
The Loved Dog
The Other End of The Leash
How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend

and my favorite,
Katz on Dogs

Jon Katz advocates a straightforward, sensible approach with dogs that does not insist on a set list of tenets and methods for training and developing your dog. Rather, he recommends using common sense and exploring your relationship with your pet in order to solve problems yourself. Instead of running to the nearest “expert” or expensive “professional,” we should use our own experience and intellect to arrive at conclusions that make sense and are effective. I like it. Though I do not at all entirely discount Cesar Millan. His book and show are very good at getting viewers to recognize problems with their own pooch and providing empowerment and confidence to correct it.

I can’t help but think that the owners of that neurotic dog in your neighborhood haven’t read any of these books and that’s part of the problem. In this day and age we live in, there are less and less excuses for ignorance.



As Author, Greenspan Scorns The Authority

September 16th, 2007 at 11:57 pm

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan’s memoir will be published today and it promises to be a breath of fresh air in this cloud of conservative, Republican pollution that we’ve been choking on for the past seven years.

In his book, Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, Greenspan blasts the Republicans for forsaking its small government principles, choosing power over principle, and for abandoning fiscal discipline.

Other highlights include his statement that Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were the smartest presidents he worked with and several disparaging remarks about the GOP in general and George W. Bush specifically. You mean not vetoing anything was probably a bad thing? You mean it’s not completely obvious that this is the worst president we have ever had? At least somebody with such a high level of recognition and respect finally has the courage to speak out against all the hypocritical, corrupt little boys running our country.

If after reading the 640 pages of Greenspan’s memoir and you’re still feeling “Hooray Capitalism!” then I would suggest you pick up the book by one of Alan Greenspan’s friends, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Read Greenspan’s book quickly today and you should be prepared for tomorrow when his successor Ben Bernanke must decide whether to cut interest rates.



Juice Back in the News

September 16th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Now that O.J. Simpson is facing robbery charges in Las Vegas, it seems as if he has a book on sale and is pathetically seeking whatever publicity he can get. Why can this man not stay out of trouble? Are we sure he’s not involved with the book?

What is going on??? O.J. should just write his memoir already. The trial, the book, not the book, the book sold in stores but not really. This is turning into quite the train wreck.

The Juice is not loose! He is just a loser!!!



Electronic Books?

September 12th, 2007 at 6:41 am

The incessant techno wizards Out There are attempting to bring to market a device and software to do for books what iTunes and the iPod did for music.

It’s not the same and I do not immediately see it happening. I love books. But I also live in my inbox and have ear buds in my ears. But books are different. While I love the idea of reading an electronic book and being able to make convenient notes, keep my place, and have access to the internet to look things up, don’t I have that now with a book, a laptop, and/or a Blackberry?

And the very existence of an electronic book negates the very reason why I love books so much. Every book is different. The author. The cover. The publisher. The typography. The number of pages. The quality of paper. The paper cutting. The topic. The genre. The smell. The ink. The glue. The touch. The look. The weight. The heft. The story. The adventure. The pursuit of knowledge. The acquiring of wisdom and experience. The process of browsing through a store, deciding, purchasing, carrying, reading, holding, turning pages, putting down, picking back up, finishing, starting again, remembering, forgetting, re-reading, sharing, passing on, recommending, and talking about.

Electronic books contradict all of this. They make the experience banal and homogeneous. I see some limited application for e-books in educational and business settings; situations that have already been deprived of most auxiliary pleasure.

But books are books (and will hopefully remain so) because in your hands you hold something that represents exacting effort, craftsmanship, and uniqueness. Will electronic books retain that?



Penn to be Milk’s Maiden For The Silver Screen

September 12th, 2007 at 5:48 am

Resident Hollywood loony and occasional decent actor Sean Penn has been attached to play Harvey Milk in the film adaptation of Randy Shilts’ book The Mayor of Castro Street.

If you’re not an Amazon person, and more of a Netflix person, definitely add the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk to your queue.

Harvey Milk was a San Francisco Supervisor and the third openly gay public official in the entire country. Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed by Supervisor Dan White at city hall. White (to be played by Matt Damon?) avoided a deserving sentence by the now-famous “Twinkie defense.”

Milk and Moscone are gone but not forgotten. In San Francisco, Milk has a plaza named after him and Moscone has the entire convention center!

The flick is going to be directed by Gus Van Sant who is uber-gay and a pretty good filmmaker.

So. Harvey Milk. The Castro in San Francisco of the 1970s. Sean Penn. Gus Van Sant. This could all be quite nice. And Sean Penn has never played an openly gay character on screen? Whaaaaaat???

Oh, Gus! Do your worst!!!



General Wesley Clark Goes For Another (Book) Tour

September 11th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Remember General Wesley K. Clark? He ran for President against George W in 2004. He was military but liberal. It was going to be great. How could he lose? Especially to someone like George W. Bush. Clark fought and was wounded in Vietnam, served in the Army for 34 years, is a four-star General, and was NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

Even (But?) Michael Moore threw his support behind the General, famously remarking how it was going to be the General against the Deserter. How could Clark lose? What could go wrong?

Remember? I do because I was a big fan of Wesley Clark. Still am. He said really cool things. Like on the topic of gun control and the NRA he said, “You like guns? Join the military. We got lots of them.” I still hope he throws his hat in the ring for President 08. In the meantime, Clark has written another book, A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor, and Country.

Now how are we supposed to vote for a man with that mug and that goofy, over biting grin? He looks silly and too happy. I know he is trying to transition from General to Statesman with the distinguished gray hair and the suit and the unoffensive gaze, but come on! You’re a General! Give us some Patton! Some Ike! This book doesn’t look like a man’s, a general’s book on war and leadership and honor. It looks like every other namby-pamby book written by a presidential hopeful tip toeing towards a campaign trying to not come right out of the gate alienating people.

But I guess I should actually read the thing. At 272 pages, it is a hell of a lot shorter than Hillary’s 576-page Living History.



New Desperate Genre

September 7th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Just published on September 4th is a new book by Diane Ackerman called The Zookeeper’s Wife.

Do I sense the emergence of a new genre?

We’ve got The Pilot’s Wife and Ahab’s Wife and The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Saturday Wife and The River Wife and The Meaning of Wife (which has a great cover):

There’s got to be a fiesty graduate student out there somewhere who is furiously riding her bicycle to a coffee shop this very minute to hammer out a thesis on her laptop about all this wife-driven literature.

But is this really what the majority of middle-aged women are actually reading? Then why when I worked as a bookseller did everyone come in for a cheap mass market romance novel and the latest diet book?



Another Bush Book

September 5th, 2007 at 5:36 pm

There’s another book about Dubya, Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper.

Which is exactly what we need, another book about George W. Bush and his embarassing, failed presidency. (Look at his expression on the cover. That glib, smug asshole. I am so sick of him and his henchmen).

Add this one to the list with Fiasco, Hubris, State of Denial, and really any other book about Iraq, Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, and the essay I’m working on about my stubbed toe because dammit I blame him for that too!

Michiko Kakutani’s review mentions that “Mr. Bush loves doing imitations of Dr. Evil from the “Austin
Powers” movies. He keeps meticulous count of all the books he’s read.
(At one point he tells Mr. Draper he’s up to 87 for the year.)”

Dr. Evil imitations??? Is this man really that clueless or is he now trying to make us hate him?

Also, Mr. Bush, who has a net worth estimated at $8 million to $21
million, also said he would like to make some money — “replenish the
ol’ coffers,” as he put it. He said he could make “ridiculous”
money out on the lecture circuit: “I don’t know what my dad gets. But
it’s more than fifty, seventy-five” thousand dollars a speech.

Replenish the coffers??? Ridiculous money?

How quickly impatient disdain changes into writhing hatred. I will not be reading this book. Doctors orders. My blood pressure will go through the roof and the 463-page hardcover book will probably get thrown with violent force at someone innocent.