By Jesse Garon
Each month, we have a certain amount of space in which we can tell you about a handful of books that have been published. Usually that means you get to hear from one or two authors I've been lucky enough to meet, and maybe get a brief synopsis of some other books that I've read. But of course the books that I write about in skew aren't the only books that I've read.
If they gave me all the space on the web server, I couldn't begin to talk about all the great books that I'd like to talk about. But I have a chance now to sneak in a few extras, so here are three books from 1995 that I enjoyed but didn't get a chance to write about before. They've been out for a while, and they'll probably be out in paperback some time early in 1996, so keep an eye out for them.
American Tabloid, by James Ellroy: Probably the best book that I read all year, by America's most exciting crime writer -- and one of our most exciting writers, period. With each new novel, Ellroy pushes the language to new extremes of expression and exposes another chapter in the secret noir history of America. From Hoffa to Hughes, Cuba to the Kennedys, this novel has it all.
Genius in Disguise, by Thomas Kunkel: A biography of Harold Ross, the founding editor of The New Yorker, which shows how a young man who never got his high school degree turned into one of the most influential men in the publishing industry. He had a simple vision of a magazine that would appeal to sophisticated audiences, with serious material written to the highest standards of precision and clarity -- and he assembled the writers and artists who could make that vision a reality.
Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog, by Mark Leyner: A twisted roller coaster ride through contemporary pop culture by one of the funniest writers on the contemporary scene. The beauty of Mark Leyner is that he makes it seem like he just says whatever pops into his head, but each madcap sentence is as carefully constructed as that Jenga tower in the TV commercial, while Leyner asks Richard Lugar's campaign workers if they like Fugazi.