Friday, August 20, 2004

Books Worth a Look XXI

It's been eight months since my last roundup of book reviews, which I stopped doing because of the time commitment. That said, it's still worthwhile commenting on noteworthy media-related books, and last night, I read a novel that inspired me to break my book review silence.

Jeffrey Frank's The Columnist is a quick-witted fictional memoir of a political writer in Washington, DC. Shades of Neal Pollack, Frank's first-person account is by turns egotistical and fantastic, humble and workaday, as the main character, Brandon Sladder, swims with the sharks in beltway politics, navigating his way up the opinion-leader chain of command by way of his writing -- and his romantic dalliances and social maneuverings.

Throughout, Sladder remains blissfully ignorant of the impact his drive has on his family life, and in the end, his success is largely professional, if that. For, as his ego grows, his common sense shrinks, and he ends up committing to those in his life that he can't really depend on. A funny, inside media read that touches on the role of news writers and columnists, how magazines and newspapers work, and the broader influence such media wield.

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