Yo I am wrapping up the Mr. Rogers bio…The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King. Almost 500 pages hardcover and I get 400 pages in when dude drops that Mr. Rogers had a long standing friendship with…Henri Nouwen!! What?! Did we know this?
I feel like this is news. (And it’s surreal how all the things I dig are so connected. The internet of things yeah more like the pop culture of Sammy!)
The biography is so frustrating…it took 400 pages for the Henri Nouwen Fun Fact to get dropped then it’s 2 paragraphs and the writer is off to something else. This is like when people find out sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were best friends you can’t spend all this time writing about Sherlock and then randomly drop that in at the end of the book. That’s a whole chapter.
The Good Neighbor is not as robust as the Jim Henson or even the Bill Cosby bios I read a few years back. (Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones and Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker.)
Also there’s scant internal wrestling from Mr. Rogers…as somebody who prays and has faith…did the success of Sesame Street frustrate him and change how he prayed? He clearly had a children’s ministry but like what was the impact (if any…) on adults and parents?
And the church was initially opposed to Mr. Rogers because…well television is evil…duh! But did the church ever come around on at least Mr. Rogers…we know the church still has issues with television. That is still mind blowing to me…that the church could be opposed to Mr. Rogers. Like if you have issues with playing cards or rock n roll I don’t agree but I can understand. But Mr. Rogers?! Like come on.
Oh the dude who wrote that excellent Jim Henson biography Brian Jay Jones his latest book is Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination (oooooo yes!!) and it’s out May 7, 2019. That is gonna earn a tea…I actually know nothing about Dr. Seuss so this’ll be fascinating from page 1.
There’s some strong books coming out this year.
Austin to ATX: The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers, and Geeks Who Transformed the Capital of Texas by Joe Nick Patoski (January 23, 2019)
How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch (long live anybody with a lack of social media…) (February 12, 2019)
Magic is Dead: My Journey Into the World’s Most Secretive Society of Magicians by Ian Frisch which is mainly for me. (February 26, 2019)
And I just picked up The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. Heh…my theme song.