My book-buying budget was very small this year, so I don’t feel qualified to weigh in on the best books of the year. Instead, I’ll present, in no particular order, my faves from the books I was fortunate enough to read in 2003.
- George McMahon and Christopher Largen – Precription Pot The moving story of McMahon’s life, this book tells about his experiences as a sufferer of Nail Patella Syndrome and as one of the few Americans who receive legal medical marijuana from the US government. McMahon knows he is in a privileged — though not perfect — position and he works as an activist and advocate for others who need medical pot. This book is part of that activism, and it’s well worth your time.
- Joe Conason – Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth This and the two following it are, I suppose, obvious choices, but they did indeed inform readers of the right-wing’s mendacious streak, and entertainingly. Of the three, journalist Conason’s is the best, hands down.
- Michael Moore – Dude, Where’s My Country? Funny, passionate, well-researched. The man deserved the Oscar; it’s a shame he is more pragmatist lib and sometimes-careless-with-truth showperson than true progressive.
- Al Franken – Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right Pissed off Bill O’Reilly and Faux News. Worked for me. Plus, Franken’s a howl.
- Steve Parish – Home Before Daylight: My Life on the Road with the Grateful Dead One of the best recountings of the behind-the-scenes world of Jerry Garcia and Co. What helps is that Parish, a Dead insider, doesn’t have an axe to grind and he is not afraid to talk about the band’s — and his own — dark side.
Honorable mentions: JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, David Brock’s Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Jan Morris’ A Writer’s World: Travels 1950 to 2000