Wars and Windmills

21 December 2006

A Sign of Age

Besides the overt slowing of my metabolism, the most distinct sign of aging is my enhanced interest in nonfiction books and documentaries.

i have always enjoyed documentaries, but not to the level that i now do. mostly, i equated them with school...mostly. and i can't remember reading nonfiction in my yesteryears, it was usually sugar coated prose designed to entice, but not necessarily stimulate the ol' think tank. or, as my nerdery is as boundless as the known, and unknown, universe, i read comic books...tons and tons of comic books.

An example of the documentary deep fried goodness is Why We Fight, a documentary named after the World War II-era propaganda newsreels. it is centered around President Eisenhower's farewell address and his statement warning his fellow citizens about the rise and maintenance of the United States military-industrial complex and focuses on the wars led by the United States of the last fifty years. a very interesting and poignant watch.

Other nougat filled documentaries:

  • Touching the Void(i just wanted to scream "STOP CRAWLING")
  • Enron
  • Grizzly Man
  • Dogtown and Z-boys
  • New York Doll
  • U.S. versus John Lennon
  • Rize ("There is no limit...the sky's the limit" ummm...?)
  • American Movie
  • Trekkies
  • The Devil and Daniel Johnston
  • The Beatles Anthology

    The first nonfiction book that i remember reading of my own volition was one that, and i say this with no fear of hyperbole, changed my perception on life, is sadly one that Ms. Oprah tainted with her self-aggrandizing sanctimonious tirade for "truth": A Million Little Pieces.

    If nothing else we can see from that fiasco that the truths of his book are just as relevant now as before the discovery of fabrications. he wrote about taking responsibility for his actions as his only way to really get through his addictions; not relying on excuses or others to bail him out.

    i am sure he knew what he was getting into when he went back on Oprah...but he didn't back down, he owned up to his so called mistakes and never denied the fabrications. He merely took the verbal lashings of a scorned, self-proclaimed, literary goddess and the boos of her minions and stood by the truth of his book. hardly the act of a liar...and while there are some fabrications, the honesty of his book remains.

    Anyway, sorry...apparently the issue still irks me. i know that whole James Frey debacle is old news and i don't mean to rehash everything that has been said time and time again. i only bring it up because it was and is one of, if not the best book i had read up to that point. and it was the turning point where i realized that nonfiction could be as entertaining as fiction.

    Other fine nonfiction works:

    My Friend Leonard
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything
    (most anything by Bill Bryson really)
    Angela's Ashes
    • Collapse
    • Devil in the White City
    • Manhunt
    • Freakonomics
    • Walden
    • 1776
    • How the Irish Saved Civilization

    mostly, i am just feeling the need to justify the new heavier me, with accompanying weariness and joint ache.

    1. Nice list, Darren. Merry Christmas man. Tell Lindsey hi for us. I've decided to join the world o' blog. Now we both can air our lives into the great wide open web space.

    2. How the Irish Saved Civilization....didn't we take that class together? I'm pretty sure we did. That is a book I'm still lugging around with me. You ever read Jon Krakauer? You'd like him, too. Also, I haven't gotten to him yet, but I hear Stephen Hawking is nerdy and great and can describe the cosmos in a surprisingly accessible and humorous way. Maybe worth a look at. It's good to hear you're well. Happy new year, old friend!

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. Valerie4:42 PM

      Darren, this is Valerie. I was perambulating through your blog and I would like to (once again) agree with your James Frey tirade. You know how good friends hate those you hate? I hate Opera on behalf of you. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a long trip for me, but now I really hate her.

    5. by comparison i have read one book this last year. (seriously) the innocent man by grisham was his first work of non-fiction. you should jiggity-check it out yo.

    6. Anonymous7:57 PM

      Darren I am sad. You did not include "Paper Clips" in your list of gem filled docs. What a great way to remember the Jews, put a bunch of paper clips in a trailer.