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Read any good books lately?

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Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:00 am

I have. I'm a reader. I come from a long line of readers. And most of my close friends are also readers — which makes it easier to obtain good books. Pass 'em around.

I'm a fan of fiction. My nonfiction reads are usually memoirs. The funnier the better. Tragically funny is okay too — like Augusten Burroughs. I've laughed myself to tears over some of David Sedaris' stuff.

My fiction tastes are all over the map. I have my reliable favorites like most people. I'm not pretentious about my tastes in reading. If I like it, I'll read it. I'll recommend it.

Can't say as I read Danielle Steele — but plenty of people do. She seems to be making a pretty good living with her craft. I'll usually pick up Dean Koontz when he's got something new — he tends to be a bit formulaic in many but the Odd Thomas series, but I'm okay with that: Evil force somewhere in the universe, man and woman find each other and get chased all over southern California — good triumphs over evil, and he often throws a dog into the mix — can't go wrong there. Same with Harlan Coben, Elmore Leonard, Tim Dorsey; and there's not a Christopher Moore book I haven't read. If you haven't read any Chris Moore, got to the library now, check out Coyote Blue and start there. You'll never look at Native American Medicine Men the same again.

More serious fare for me would be Robert McCammon or Stieg Larsson. His 'Girl' trilogy is compelling and hard to put down. And I love books written by strong southern women, like Fannie Flagg, Billie Letts and Ann B. Ross.

But — back to memoirs.

Last week I read Craig Ferguson's 'American on Purpose.'

You may or may not be fan of the Scottish talk show host. I am. He's on pretty late, but my DVR fairy takes care of that for me.

The reason I loved the book so much was that he's kind of an unlikely patriot. Born in Scotland to a basically middle-class family, Ferguson longed, at an early age, to live in America. He hit a few bumps in the road and battled alcohol addiction and a couple of failed marriages. But he made it to America and became a citizen in 2008. I don't know if you'll find a more patriotic person in this country.

He owns up to his failures and foibles. He blames no one but himself. But he rebounded with humor and humility that make him all the more endearing. I've even forgiven him for marrying a woman half his age — she seems like a good egg.

I challenge anyone to read this book and not mist up a few times with sheer patriotism that you may not have known you possessed.

For another treat — check out this rant his show preceding the election in 2008. Titled "If you don't vote, you're a moron." It's obviously dated, but it's worth a watch. And pick up the book. You'll be glad you did.