Generation Kill by Evan Wright
The Third (a guy at work) gave me this to read after I mentioned how much ass I thought the HBO miniseries kicked. That’s right: I read the book after I watched the show. My brother would be proud. The book offers more information than is conveyed in the miniseries, but not much. That said, it’s not a waste of time to read it if you’ve already seen it on TV.
The book is somewhat controversial. Some members of the Marine Corps say Wright is lying out of his ass in a sensational manner, yet he contends all that is written is true. As the son of 2 parents with over 20 years military experience each, I have heard a shitload of stories about officers higher up in the chain of command being worthless, and having been promoted out of the way.
The real truth lies somewhere in between. Wright’s book is an attempt to make the alien world of Recon Marines at war as accessible and understandable as possible to his civilian readers. At that task, I say he succeeds. Sure, it’s trite, but this one is a real page-turner.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
I love this guy’s TV show. He goes everywhere on earth, eats a ton of weird shit, and usually finds the best food around. He has a passion for food that I will never understand, and he doesn’t give a shit if you care or not. He’s brash. He drinks a lot. He cusses a lot. He smokes a lot. He eats a lot. And he’s a badass chef.
What’s not to like about this guy? Also: He’s a pretty good writer.
He claims he wrote the book for other chefs & cooks, never expecting “civilians” to read it. I call bullshit on that. In parts, it’s heavy on insider wink-nod and industry jargon, yet at the same time presented such that someone who isn’t a kitchen veteran understands through inference or context. Other times, it’s so blatantly pandering to us “reg’lar folk” that we miss the cleverly hidden send-up or inside joke.
It takes a certain kind of passionate weirdo to do what he does (or did). I like weirdos.