A columnist for the National Review, Tevi Troy, analyzes the books that President Obama took on vacation, and concludes that "they may constitute the oddest assortment of presidential reading material ever disclosed, for a number of reasons. First, five of the six are novels, and the near-absence of nonfiction sends the wrong message for any president, because it sets him up for the charge that he is out of touch with reality." Within that group of fiction were some mysteries, prompting the comment, "there is also the question of genre. The Bayou Trilogy has received excellent reviews, but it is a mystery series. While there is nothing wrong with that per se, not every presidential reading selection is worth revealing to the public."
Toward the end of the article, Troy says, "This year’s list suggests that Obama needs to consider the messages sent by his reading more carefully." I suppose that might hold some water if he was reading something like, I don't know, Mein Kampf, maybe, but selecting an armload of literary fiction doesn't seem to me to send any message other than he was looking for something interesting to read on vacation. I suppose the argument could be made that presidents never truly go on vacation, but everyone, even presidents, need a break once in awhile; I don't think that means that he's "out of touch with reality," which makes him sound in he belongs in a rubber room.
I wonder what could be deduced about me by analyzing the last half dozen books I read?
In the last couple of weeks, I've read:
- The Shop - J. Carson Black
- Home Improvement, Undead Edition - Charlaine Harris, ed.
- Countdown - Mira Grant
- My Life as a White Trash Zombie - Diana Rowland
- The Missing Ink - Karen E. Olson
- Chris Grabenstein's John Ceepak series
The list is all fiction, pretty heavily weighted toward zombie fiction ("My Life as a White Trash Zombie," "Home Improvement, Undead Edition," and "Countdown," although "Home Improvement" isn't exclusively about zombies, since it includes stories about other creatures such as vampires, shapeshifters, and ghosts.
The rest of the books are in the dreaded mystery category, "The Missing Ink" being set in a Las Vegas tattoo parlor, and the Grabenstein series, taking place on the Jersey shore, chronicling the adventures of an Iraq War veteran, now policeman, and his young sidekick. "The Missing Ink" is a cozy, the Grabenstein books are, I suppose, police procedural, and "The Shop" is a thriller about a paid assassin trying to unravel the reasons for his recent assignments--he never asked questions before, but it's all beginning to seem a little too strange.
My mind doesn't really work this way--when I read that article it seemed like it must be satire, but sadly, I don't believe it is. But anyway, if I was going to analyze myself based on that reading list, I guess I'd have to say, since it's all fiction, that I'm out of touch with reality. I suppose the zombie fiction indicates that I identify with the oppressed undead minority, and that I am looking for ideas on stockpiling supplies for the upcoming apocalypse.
Maybe the police procedurals would point out that, while I'm basically law-abiding, I also look for ways in which I can put one over on policemen, particularly those on the Jersey Shore, and "The Shop" could mean nothing other than I'm planning a politically-motivated murder and need to find out how to keep it a secret. Oh, and of course the tattoo shop cozy indicates that I secretly wish to either work in a tattoo shop or to be tattooed.
What a crock.
In other news, my shellac French manicure just hit the 2-1/2 week mark, and still looks almost perfect. It's starting to show a little wear at the tips, so I made an appointment for Saturday to get it re-done. Three weeks is pretty darn good, I'd have to say, considering all the typing I do. Sort of in that same vein, I've got an appointment tomorrow with the hand surgeon who did my trigger thumb release a couple of years ago.
I've been having some pain that I think is probably carpal tunnel (I'm not a doctor, but I play one on tv); last week the pain was awful, but of course, just like a car that won't make that noise when you see the mechanic, this week it's almost non-existent. But using that same analogy, if I cancel the appointment, I'm sure the pain will come back. I figure it doesn't hurt to have her look at it and let me know what she thinks, although it will cost me a $50 co-pay. Oh well.