>Generally, I am a very fast reader, but when it comes to a good book, it can take me forever. It takes time to absorb all the details, savor the language, chuckle multiple times at the jokes, and most important, make sure that it doesn’t end too quickly because when it is over, there’s only going back again. Hence my plane reading to and from varied accordingly.

It took me hours to finish reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Chocked full of amazing and random historical facts about elections, presidents, America, travel, and tea pots, I loitered on each page. I laughed out loud at points. It is exactly my very favorite type of geeky history book. It also helped that months before, I saw Sarah read from this book at a Border’s Bookstore in Columbus Circle mall (a mall in which she appropriately mocks), and having her voice in my head added to my immense delight. By the time I got home, I was in a good mood because of the book and how much I enjoyed it. Seriously, if Sarah ever needs an apprentice or intern or assistant or fellow traveler who likes weird historical things, please find me. Please!

The other book I read on my flight, Lake Effect by Rich Cohen, was a quickie. This is his memoir, from which his front notes say may not be completely accurate, about growing up in the neighborhood in which I grew up. (And taking lots of drugs and getting drunk, which makes for extremely boring reading.) I deduced from the book that Rich Cohen is about eight years older than I am, so when he was 17 or 18, I was 9 or 10, which is old enough to remember things fairly clearly. I may be Jewish white trash, but I resent his false description of my part of town as being full of “low slung garages,” as if it were some industrial wasteland rather than a repetitive set of ranch and bi-level houses. (Sure, “low slung garages” sound much trashier than “suburban tract housing full of Jewish and Asian people who were redlined out of the nicer parts of town because of racism or could not afford homes in the nuveau riche section that Jews/Asians were allowed to live in since no WASP traditions would be sullied there.”) At any rate, Cohen’s new book (which I read a month ago), Sweet and Low is fantastic in the way that Assassination Vacation is, and contains lots of interesting details and asides that I adored.

I’m just saying.