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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Homework (Updated)

I think I’ve just been insulted. Luckily, I’m a little too simple-minded to fully process the cruelty.

“The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes,’” Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. “It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress’ most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who “can’t say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion.”

Okay stupid, jingoistic, uncritical conservatives, it’s time to take an inventory. Since there is an impression that conservatives aren’t serious about policies or anything more deep than bumper sticker thought, I’m curious to hear what you’re reading right now. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate to impress me, and don’t make it prettier than it is. My reading habit--the books and magazines that I buy on a monthly basis--probably adds up to about the same amount that I spend on my car payment every month, but much of that is in magazines.

My monthly magazine intake:

  1. Car magazines: Automobile, Car, Car & Driver, Thoroughbred & Classic Cars, occasionally Motor Trend
  2. A few music magazines: Q, Paste, Uncut, Spin and a few others less regularly--never to include Rolling Stone, which has become less and less important to music with the passing of the years
  3. Political magazines: The Atlantic, National Review, American Spectator, The Economist, Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, BBC Focus On Africa [which is a quarterly] and a couple others that I pick up as I see but to which I don’t subscribe
  4. Graphic design magazines: Computer Arts, Dynamics, GDUSA, and, again, catch as catch can by when I find them in the store. Some of these--the ones published in the UK are the most expensive of the bunch. Computer Arts and similar cost between $12 and $16 each copy.

Of course, that’s supplemented by my incredibly impulsive nature.

On top of that list, I usually read between three and four books per month. Right now I’m reading three (I read one “serious” one, one paperback of any kind that I can read while I shower [yeah, I know], and currently a third is piggybacking just because I liked the cover). The “serious” book is Martin Meredith’s The Fate of Africa: A History of 50 Years of Independence. The paperback is To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World from Arthur Herman. The accidental rider is Rick Atkinson’s An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943.

A week ago, the paperback was Sean Stewart’s spectacular Nobody’s Son, which I picked up when I couldn’t find my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I was a tad disappointed with the movie and wanted to revisit the book; instead I found myself revisiting Sean Stewart’s story about what happens to a sword wielding hero after “happily ever after.”

The odd thing is that while I know I read quite a bit, most people that I know and spend time with are readers. They talk about the latest books on their night stands, they enjoy outings to good bookstores, and they have insightful opinions on what they’ve read. That crosses all political boundaries.

And, anyway, Pat Schroeder might think that the right has a corner on the bumper sticker market, but I would argue that no one comes up with chants, stickers, t-shirts, and bumper stickers like the progressive left. Not that I have much in the way of happy thoughts about the time that Pat spent representing her little chunk of my beloved Colorado.

Just sayin’.

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