David Eddings, RIP.
Unsentimental parenting memoirs, part two.

William Langewiesche, watch your back.

Anyone who knows my reading habits knows that I have a little (okay, big) fixation on William Langewiesche, nonfiction author extraordinaire. Recently, though, I have been finding my head turned by another nonfiction author: Michael Lewis.

Lewis I have thoroughly enjoyed Michael Lewis ever since I read two of his earlier books, the finance classic Liar's Poker and the sports classic Moneyball. Then he came along with the book The Blind Side, which was ostensibly about football, but was really a fantastic look at society, poverty, race relations, and sports all at once. And now he's struck again with a 190-page memoir gem titled Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood.*

I have no kids, and I've never been all that interested in kids, but for some reason I rather enjoy checking out parenting memoirs (particularly the less sentimental ones). This memoir, about Lewis's three kids (with his wife, former MTV newscaster Tabitha Soren), is decidedly not sentimental, which I'm pretty sure is one of the reasons I enjoyed it. It's also very funny; I laughed pretty much through the whole introduction (in which he explains how his three-year-old daughter learned the swear "word" "shutupyoustupidmotherfuckingasshole"). He's just got a way with words:

"I inherited from my father a peculiar form of indolence--not outright laziness so much as a gift for avoiding unpleasant chores without attracting public notice. My father took it almost as a matter of principle that most problems, if ignored, simply went away. And that his children were, more or less, among those problems. 'I didn't even talk to you until you went away to college,' he once said to me, as he watched me attempt to dress a six-month-old. 'Your mother did all the dirty work.'

This wasn't entirely true, but it'd pass cleanly through any polygraph...In theory, his tendency to appear only when we didn't really need him should have left a lingering emotional distance; he should have paid some terrible psychological price for his refusal to suffer. But the stone cold fact is his children still love him, just as much as they love their mother...Small children are ungrateful; to do one a favor is, from a business point of view, about as shrewd as making a subprime mortgage loan." (pp. 9-10.)

Now THAT is honest. Not real sentimental, but honest. I really enjoyed the whole book, and I hope you do too. And if you don't have the time to enjoy the book, just check out Lewis's performance on the Daily Show (below). Make sure to listen through to minute five or six, when he explains the Lewis family credo. It's awesome.

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*If I have one quibble with the book, it's that I don't know that it requires a $23.95 cover price. $19.95 should really cover any book under 200 pages, hardcover or not. Please Note: This book also first appeared as diary entries at Slate magazine, so if you don't want to purchase it, just check it out there.