Laughing at The Horror of Being Alive

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Wednesday, August 27

Books in Brief

Since my last book review post I have finished 3 books. I sort of figure I had better blog about them now or I pick now!

The three books are: Stud by Kevin Conley, Naked by David Sedaris, and Strip City by Lily Burana. Hmmm, looking at these three titles together I can only come to the conclusion that I must have some sort of deep-seated sexual hang-up. I don't think that is the case so much as I am drawn to quirky books of essays and non-fiction with provocative titles. I enjoyed all three books a great deal. They are about horse breeding, David Sedaris' life, and Lilly Burana's year long return to the stripping life prior to her marriage, respectively.

Stud deals mostly with Thoroughbred breeding in Kentucky, but it also covers Thoroughbred breeding throughout the country and the breeding of Standardbred horses. Conley could just have easily named his book Horses and the People who Love 'em but that wouldn't have been nearly so catchy! He does an excellent job of portraying each horse and person as a fully fleshed-out character complete with personality quirks, southern drawls, and hippy pony tails.

My two favorite scenes in the book were one in which a young stallion is bred for the first time and when a pet psychic is brought in to ask a California stallion (a son of Storm Cat) how he likes his life. Our young virgin stallion is "bred" to a patient, gentle, and sterilized mare for practice. When he sees that she is "hot to trot" he becomes quite intent on tossing the chain in his mouth around and listening to the funny noise it makes. In the pet psychic interview with "the Cat" we learn that he thinks is life is OK, he enjoys rolling around in dirt, and watching the barn cats. Aw, I was totally charmed!

Incidentally, reading Stud inspired me to take a day trip down to Lexington, KY when I was home visiting my family in Cincinnati two weeks ago. My brother Eric and I went down to Kentucky Horse Park and spent a day enjoying the horses, the rolling hills, and white fences surrounding the horse farm. Very picturesque and a lot of fun!

I bought Naked a few weeks ago because I thought that Me Talk Pretty One Day was one of the funniest books I have ever read! Naked was good and the essay "Next of Kin" was hilarious, but Me Talk Pretty One Day is funnier. If you like David Sedaris you will like this book, but read Me Talk Pretty One Day if you aren't familiar with Mr. Sedaris' work.

And finally, Strip City. Miss Burana meets a great guy in Wyoming, tells him that she used to be a stripper, moves away from New York City to be with him, they get engaged and she realizes that she isn't quite ready. She needs some time and she needs to revisit her past because she practically slept through her six years stripping. She needs to find what it all meant and wants to learn about the ladies that came before, the burlesque queens and even former strippers. She talks about: peep shows, topless dancing, the vulnerabilities of dancing naked, and how she got into stripping in the first place. By going back to dancing and traveling all over the country the reader learns a lot about stripping and strip clubs and the girls and the clothes. Most of the time stripping is kind of sad, but clearly there are times when it is extremely fun and exciting. This book is well written and I found the subject interesting considering that there are strip clubs all over Houston and it is an industry I know very little about.

Stu's Stuff
What I'm reading now:
'Post Captain', by Patrick O'Brian
What I read last:
'The First Man In Rome', by Colleen McCullough
If the above seems out of date, I've almost certainly reverted to either Patrick O'Brian or P.G. Wodehouse
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Kevin Whited's Reason Forum (Houston-related) "chronicling the high cost of our legal system"
Pathetic Earthlings "Science, Politics & Single Malt Whiskey"
Century Research Foundation "Testing the Limits of Good Taste"
Favorite Columnist:
John Derbyshire (@ NRO)
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