Sunday, August 8, 2010

Books That Are To Die For

Weird but true: I was reading PostWar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt yesterday when I decided to google Judt to learn more about him. And that's when I found out he died-earlier that day.

It's an unusual feeling to google someone and find out that they had died only hours earlier.

I wanted to see if I had magic powers that I could put to good use so I typed the words "Barney Frank" but he turned out to be alive.

The Judt story reminded of a time I was in a Pittsburgh airport waiting for a connecting flight to NYC. I had a couple of hrs. to kill so I went to the airport bookstore.

You ever have a moment in a bookstore when it all comes together and you know you have to buy a book?

I had a moment like that. I saw a book I had to buy: Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss.

The book met every criteria I had: (1) a general subject I was interested in-baseball; (2) a specific topic within the general subject I wanted to learn more about-Clemente; and (3) an author whose previous work I had admired-Maraniss.

So I rushed to the counter to buy the book-and was looking forward to a couple of hrs. of pure pleasurable reading.

But as soon as I handed over the cash to the clerk I had a sudden thought that made me realize that there was no way I was going to buy that book, and I politely asked for my money back and put the book back on the shelf.

And that thought was: I am not going to read a book on a plane about a man that died in a plane crash. No fucking way. Plus the book was about a man who played for the Pirates, and I was flying from Pittsburgh.

So I just sat there and did nothing.

Tony Judt, Chronicler of History, Is Dead at 62 - Obituary (Obit ...

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