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December 18, 2002

Best books of the year

Every year I read every book published by the major houses, and any book published by the alternative houses about marijuana, Russian prostitutes, or sado-masochism. And every year, I compile a list of what I consider to be the best of a very good crop. This year, since I have a blog, I'll finally be able to share my list with an audience. You're free to agree or disagree with my conclusions, but in your dark hearts, you'll know that I'm right.

This has been a wonderful year for books by people of all backgrounds, but especially Jewish men, who until recently have been vastly underrepresented in our national literature. In fact, I am ready to proclaim 2002 The Year Of The Jews. Now, without further ado about nothing, I present:


--Heavy-Metal Drummerland, by Michael Chabon.
In his first nonfiction novel for children, the author weaves a magical tapestry of myth and imaginary beings as he works through his feelings about getting kicked out of Wilco.

--I Don't Want To Be Known, by Zadie Smith.
Henry Nkuma-Weinstein, a young man of decidedly mixed-race heritage, clips interviews with famous people and subsequently becomes famous by giving interviews about how celebrity disgusts him.

--Lyndon Johnson: Master of Puppets, by Robert Caro.
A gripping 10,000-page account of the three dangerous years LBJ spent as Metallica's road manager.

--Dangerous Assignments: The Courage Of Sebastian Junger, by Sebastian Junger.
America's favorite war reporter struggles to sustain his come-hither stare in the face of enemy gunfire.

--Confessions Of An Evil Cunt, by Ann Coulter.
The spawn of the devil and Norma Desmond attempts to explain why all Muslims and homosexuals should be killed and why she's such an evil cunt.

--You Shall Know Our Viscosity, by Dave Eggers.
Two friends take to the open road after the death of Dale Earnhardt and don't care whether you like the book or not because they published it themselves.

--Why I Matter, by Christopher Hitchens.
A British alcoholic who's switched sides in the culture wars attempts to explain his relevance to the War On Terror. Padded with page-long quotes from V.S Pritchett.

--The Remodelers, by Bob Woodward.
An insider's account, with actual quotes from ranking soldiers, of a bathroom-improvement project at a secret military compound in Virginia.

--Everything Is Hallucinated, by Jonathan Safran Foer.
The main character, a young novelist named Jonathan Safran Foer, exhumes his family's mass grave in Bosnia while imagining that he's uniquely talented.

--The Lovely Boner, by Alice Sebold.
In heaven, a twelve-year-old boy ponders his first erection.

--How To Be A Pompous, Headline-Hogging Ass, by Jonathan Franzen.
Essays about how stupid you are.



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