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December 07, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-12-07

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Wednesday
December 7, 2005
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

Rhe dTSb-tgnvBailg

8

Happy holiday booklist

TRU '
COMES OUT
COMEDIAN Ar FiRu~u

BRINGS HIS LATEST TO

Az

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
Al Franken is mad. George W. Bush and his
thugs won four more years because of "fear"
and "smear," Iraq is a ..........__
quagmire where thou- Al Franken
sands continue to need-
lessly die, social security Borders Books
is marked for demolition and Music
- and he's just not going Thursday at 7 p.m.
to take it anymore. Best
known for his self-touted
"immensely popular political satire" and his
comedic efforts in what he calls "the salad days
of 'Saturday Night Live,' " Franken returns
from his No. 1 bestseller "Lies and the Lying
Liars Who Tell Them" with "The Truth," a
book as sharp and determined as Franken him-
self has recently become.
Whereas his previous works were content
with taking jabs at his conservative nemeses,
here Franken is even more focused. While old
favorites such as Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly,
Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh still receive
Franken's ire, his diatribe against newcomer
Zell ("my brain is melted with rage") Miller
unquestionably steals the show. This time Fran-
ken is out for more than laughs - he wants
revenge for the lies, the smears, the fraud and
the corruption.
The release and success of Franken's latest,
which remains No. 6 on The New York Times
bestseller list more than one month after its
release, has brought him into the spotlight once
again. Franken is on a book signing tour, with a
stop in Ann Arbor this Thursday. He will broad-
cast his regular radio show, "The Al Franken
Show," live, on-location from the Ann Arbor
affiliate of Air America Radio from noon to 3

ne thing that really sucks
for a University student is
having so little time to do
the things you love. My friends
who are runners are too busy for
it. My roommates haven't touched
their guitars in weeks. And me?
I've got no time to do one of the
things I love the most
in the world - read for.
pleasure.
It's been so long since
I've picked up a book
for something other than
a class that I've forgot-
ten the last thing I read.
Was it "The Shining?"
"Lolita?" "Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire"x
(which, by the way, is B E a
my favorite of the series. BE
Who's with me!)? It NG
seems I've finally come
to the tragic end I've sworn to
avoid forever: I go for weeks with-
out reading a single self-indulgent
word. Ye gods. This is serious.
Thank goodness that there are
only a few more weeks of hell
until the blessed reprieve of winter
break. Fellow Wolverines, realize
how wonderful our winter break is
despite its cruel brevity. Many other
schools who operate on different
academic systems (trimesters, quar-
ters, etc.) hold exams after winter
break. That means that while you're
opening Christmas presents, spin-
ning your dreidel or just sleeping-
yourself silly, other students across
the country dwell upon forthcom-
ing tests that probably constitute a
huge chunk of their grade. But for
us, winter break is absolute dead
time. We have no classes yet, which
means we have no homework, which
means we've got ... free time! YES.
So in the interest of the read-
ing public (this means you), I've
compiled a list of books for you to
use to while away idle hours dur-
ing your two weeks of rest and
relaxation. The good thing about
this list is that no matter where you
go - Florida, France or just your
grandma's house - you can still
check it out. If you're in a temperate
climate, it's too cold to go outside
anyway, and there's nothing better
than curling up inside with a good
book, hot chocolate and some warm
socks. And hey, if the music staff
is allowed to make endless lists
of their best and worst CDs, I'm
allowed to make a list too. There's
something on it for every taste.
Anything by Stephen King: I
guess anyone who reads my col-
umns knows I think he is the bomb.
Hello, flashback to the '90s. But
still, no one writes a page-turner
the way this man can, and if you
like scary movies, you'll like Ste-
phen King. I think "Pet Semetary"

R
U

is still hidden in my closet some-
where. I was too scared to finish
when I started reading it a few
years ago, and I haven't been able
to find it since I stashed somewhere
out of view. I think maybe I piled a
bunch of stuff around it to keep it
guarded.
Hemingway,
Faulkner, Woolf,
Nabokov, Shakespeare,
Vonnegut: There's a
reason why they're
called classics. Some
people might get turned
off because they're the
books English classes
require you to read,
but they are so, so, so
good. "The Sound and
NIE the Fury" - though a
YEN jumbled-up mystery of
a book - pulls at your
heartstrings unbelievably. And I
cried when I read "Othello." Real-.
ly, I did. If you don't, you either
have no heart or you're pretending
to be a macho boy.
Something romantic, and I'm
not talking Harlequin: Read
"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton,
"The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" by
Carson McCullers, "Beloved" by
Toni Morrison or "Their Eyes Were
Watching God" by Zora Neale
Hurston. Damn you, Oprah, for
commodifying these books! But
honestly, they're good. They're
really, really good. And for those
who prefer a lot of naked bits, read
"Henry and June" by Anais Nin.
Now that'll steam up your win-
dows.
Anything funny: Here, you can
pick your poison. Comics? Sure!
"Calvin and Hobbes," "The Far
Side," "Dilbert." These are great for
people with short attention spans.
And books-wise, there's a reason
why the reading level on the backs
of kids book says "and up" because
you're never too old to enjoy Roald
Dahl's "Matilda" or his cinemati-
cally butchered "Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory."
And, of course, there's always
room for nonfiction. But where's
the fun in that? Just kidding (but
not really).
Winter break is your chance to
kick back, relax and read a good
book. Take it! You're always going
to be too busy otherwise, and
besides, you never know. You might
actually find that you enjoy reading.
So go. Rediscover your local
library. Happy holidays ... and
happy reading.
- Nguyen's lapse into bad '90s
slang is only temporary, we promise,
but she really does dig Stephen King.
Too bad he doesn't own a duck farm.
E-mail her at banguyen@umich.edu.

Courtesy of Dutton

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and conservatives hate me. Boo-yah."

p.m. and will sign copies of his book at the Bor-
ders on East Liberty Street starting at 7 p.m.
Air America Radio was launched in March
2004 as an alternative to the growing wave of
conservative talk shows that were flooding the
airwaves. "The Al Franken Show," which was
one of Air America's original series, remains
its most successful and popular forum for polit-
ical commentary, and still continues to gain
popularity and credibility in the public eye.
As Franken notes in the book, he has a daily
audience of two million listeners, which, though
significant, is still dwarfed by the nine million
who regularly tune in for Rush Limbaugh. But
Franken remains unfazed and defiant: "We
should think about what we have to do in Amer-
ica," he says. "We have to throw these guys out.
Step one is 2006. The work starts now."
Franken makes no secret of the fact that he
was distraught after John Kerry's defeat. But

that political failure has only made him more
determined. "The Truth" is part of his concerted
effort to expose the falsehoods of Republicans.
Toward that end, he masterfully uncovers the
hypocrisy of a colorful cast of government offi-
cials such as Tom DeLay, Don Rumsfeld, Dick
Cheney and the potty-mouth Paul Wolfowitz.
Franken concludes his book with a mock
letter to his grandchildren (named Barack and
Hillary, of course), who aren't to open it until
2015. In it we see an exaggerated vision of
Franken's America, which, though humorous,
serves as a strong reminder of all that America
once had but now lacks. Through his books,
radio show, numerous speaking tours and an
all-but-finalized run for the U.S. Senate, Al
Franken is clearly willing to fight for what he
believes. The rest among the millions of gov-
ernmental dissidents would do well to follow
in those footsteps.

Bnitish band rushes into Detroit's Shelter

S

By Andrew Bielak
Daily Arts Writer
If there is a sound in modern rock
that is distinctly British, the ris-
ing English rock-quintet Goldrush
certainly isn't striving for it. "I've

always been into
more Ameri-
can bands," said
frontman Robin
Bennet, who
cited legends
Neil Young and
Johnny Cash as a

Goldrush
Thursday, Dec. 8
8 p.m.
At the Shelter

ing a particular experience that
served as inspiration for the group's
LP Ozona, released earlier this
year.
"The album title comes from a
Texas town our van broke down in
a couple of years ago - there was
only one bar in town, and we met
some rednecks there. We were about
to leave, and one of them says 'Have
you ever shot a gun before?' So they
drove us into the desert and taught
us how to shoot, though we thought
they might be shooting us ... We got
out of it alive, so it got to be a good
name for the record."
Bennet added that coming to the
United States for six months with no
money "toughened (them) up" and
helped develop a certain edge on
their latest recording.
Currently in their fifth year
together, the members have reached
a few important landmarks early on
in their careers. Along with Joe Ben-
net, the singer's brother and band-
mate, Robin created the Truck Music

Festival, an annual nonprofit gather-
ing currently in its eighth year.
While initially just a fun idea,
Bennet said that the festival has
evolved into "somewhat of a big
deal," attracting more than 100
bands in 2005 to the artists' home-
town where it is held.
Beyond the music festival, the
band aimed to establish its presence
early on by founding an accompany-
ing label, Truck Records. Looking
back on the challenges of starting
the label before his band had fully
formed, Bennet said, "It was pretty
difficult at first. Luckily, with the
first few things we put out on the
record label, people were keen on us
right away."
The band's self-promoting efforts
have paid off thus far, with its record
label, music festival and own popular-
ity growing each year in both the Unit-
ed States and the United Kingdom.
Describing the tone of his group's
most recent project as one of "defi-
ant happiness," Bennet sees plenty

couple of his biggest influences.
Rolling into Detroit's Shelter
this Thursday evening, the Oxford
natives shun Coldplay's atmospheric
pop and Bloc Party's garage-dance
rock, both of which are now popular
in their homeland in favor of a pas-
toral, country-tinged style.
"I've always kind of enjoyed that
Western sound," Bennet said, detail-

of need to stay positive in a world
where optimism is becoming harder
and harder to find.
"There is a lot to be depressed
about right now - there are so many
dark things going on ... and I think
there's a need for music that's (going
to) inspire people." Riding into town
with this earnest, upbeat outlook,
Goldrush plans to bring plenty of
inspiration with them to the Shelter
tomorrow night.

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