Book Report: Fresh Lies by James Lileks (1994)

Wow. This is a portrait of the Lileks as a young man.

I’ve read his Web site, The Bleat and whatnot, for eight years or so. I’ve bought several of his books from the middle of the last decade new. And I’m expecting one of these days to pay into his BleatPlus system. Eventually.

But finding one of these old Lileks books at a book fair is almost as hard as finding a Philip K. Dick book. And that’s because They don’t want you to read either. This one I nabbed at the Friends of the Springfield Library book fair last fall. On bag day. Which might be proof that They wanted me to read it….

At any rate, this book was written in the early part of the 1990s. Lileks has left his life in the Midwest to find his fortune as a Washington, D.C., based columnist for the Newhouse News syndicate. He was still doing that until sometime in this century, so we have some carry over there between then and later then. His wife is still in law school when he goes to D.C. and lives as a bachelor for a bit. The pieces in the book are about what you’d expect. Not a lot of political stuff, but a dabbling of world-weary kinds of wry asides now and then about the Gulf War and George H.W. Bush.

But he talks a about his smoking habit and about some youthful drug use. He remarks about what it would be like to have a kid, and a longtime student of Lileksia cannot help but enjoy the book on a different level from someone without the same daily exposure. It’s the same guy who writes the Bleat, but instead of fifty-something, he’s a punk kid.

It’s a good enough book on its own. You would have to have lived through the era awarely to get some of it, so kids won’t be looking for this on their flashread devices. But we in our thirties and up can enjoy it.

Books mentioned in this review:

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