Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Perspective - It's all About the Books

By Rodney Hays

What a great literary year 2009 was for me. There was so many great books out there this year -- many of which I actually saw at Barnes and Noble.
I try to read at least one or two books each month. It hasn't always been that way. I mean for years the only reading I did was the advertisements above the stand-up toilets in most men's bathrooms. When I was in school, it was even worse.
Most kids take reading class through at least middle school. When I was in seventh grade, my reading teacher was Mrs. Blount. Mrs. Blount was extremely mean and very unfair to many of her students (translation: Mrs. Blount was actually very nice and only mean to students who were jerky-jerksters in her class (translation: only Rodney was a jerky-jerkster)).
The weird thing about Mrs. Blount's class is I don't even remember ever reading a book in her class. I remember reading short stories -- mostly short paragraphs -- and that was it. The one thing I do remember -- vividly -- is that I received an "A" in her class, but a slightly worse grade in citizenship. At my middle school in Gladewater, Texas, there were only three grades a student could get in citizenship: S (satisfactory), N (non-satisfactory), and U (unsatisfactory). Mrs. Blount gave me an "N" the first six weeks, a "U" the second six weeks and a "U-minus-minus" the third six weeks. That was extremely hard to explain to my mom.
Fortunately I was able to convince my mom that Mrs. Blount was a puppy-hating Communist and that's the reason I got such a bad grade in citizenship. In reality, Mrs. Blount didn't really hate puppies at all.
So, anyway, there were a lot of great books out there this year. And here's my list, just in case any of my millions of readers might want to get a copy.
Books I Didn't Read But I Should Have --
I found on the Internet -- The Source of All Truth-- several books that I should have probably read. The first one I should have read but didn't was "Eat This Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution" byDavid Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. The first problem I had with the book is the long title. Any book that has more words in the title than the Declaration of Independence, I usually don't read. Plus long titles make me hungry, which probably defeats the purpose.
The other book I should have read but didn't was Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue: An American Life." I don't normally read books about people (I think there called biologies). The only problem I really had with Palin's book was that she was only extremely popular for about three months -- which means she was popular for less time than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (ask your kids).
One Book I Did Read But Shouldn't Have --
I tried several times unsuccessfully to get through a comprehensive book on the subject of everything. Hopefully, you will have a better chance at finishing the book than I did. I forget the exact title, but it's something like "American Heritage Dictionary."
One Book That Wasn't Written But Should Have Been --
"I'll Never Lie Again: And Other Promises I Make To Be On Television" by Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian is one of my personal heroes. She basically has achieved quite a bit of fame from doing absolutely nothing. I want that. I really do.
I haven't quite achieved the greatness that Kim Kardashian has, but if you would help me by passing this column along to a reality television producer, then I think I could make up ground pretty quick. Are you listening, Ryan Seacrest?
Books That I Did Read and You Should Too --
"This is Water" by David Foster Wallace was one of the best and shortest books I read all year. It's only 144 pages and some of those pages have only a few words, but the book will have a lasting impact on young and old alike. It's a graduation speech that Foster delivered several years ago. In it he explains his philosophy on life and how to grow up and turn 40 without wanting to kill yourself.
"Talent is Overrated" by Geoffrey Colvin is another one of those books that will change your life. It will reinvent the way you look at life. Everything you thought you knew about how to get ahead and be successful in life is challenged in this book. I loved it. I wished I would have read it when I was in seventh grade.
Again, I'll have to blame that on my teachers. Or maybe it was some jerky-jerkster in my class who got a U-minus-minus. Probably the latter.

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