Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Cowboys Full

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The only piece of furniture that I actually own is a bookcase. Everything else in my apartment belongs to my girlfriend. If I didn't give away books to friends as soon as I finished reading them, then I would have hundreds of more books stacked from the floor to the ceiling.

It's obvious that I read a lot and I can juggle three books at the same time. If I eat breakfast by myself at the diner, then I always bring a book with me...the same book...until it's finished. It's a weird habit, but I want to kick off my day with something inspiring, stimulating, or educational.

In case you were wondering, the other two books are categorized as "bathroom" and "office." I also have a fourth category that only appears when I'm traveling and that's the book that I take with me on long flights to avoid having to make small talk with the people next to me. You can pretty much guess that I only read those specific books in the designed places.

I devoured the office books the quickest because one of the few benefits of insomnia is that I spent many of those sleepless hours by reading in my office. Insomnia is the only reason why I had the time to re-read all 769 pages of Pynchon's epic tome Gravity's Rainbow. In addition, when I'm at my desk and should be working, I often justify not writing by being a productive reader thereby picking up whatever book is in front of me and reading a chapter or two.

Poker books are few and far between these days, so now I read about 12 non-poker books for every poker-related book that crosses my path. Ah, the elusive Baker's Dozen. That's poker books these days... unlucky #13.

Sometime last year, James McManus' publicist sent me a copy of his latest book Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker. I read three random chapters but never finished because real life had interfered -- I hit the road, embedded myself with hippies, and researched my next non-fiction book. Alas, I set Cowboys Full on top of a pile of books that were "started but never finished." It was all but forgotten.

I needed something to read this morning at the diner and walked into my office. My eyes darted up and down a pile of "never finished" books where I spotted McManus' Cowboys Full. I opened it up to the first chapter titled Pokerticians, read the first page, and then closed the book because I instantly found a winner. Instead of skipping around like the first time I came across it, I decided to read Cowboys Full from straight to finish, but as my new diner book.

The first chapter was so well written, that I extended my breakfast to read the second chapter, Loaded Knucklebones and Donkeys in Cybersace. Thanks to Jimbo's book, I'm considering breaking my exclusionary rule and might read a few chapters later tonight when I can't sleep, or the next time I have to drop the kids off at the pool.

Anyway, I will have more to say about it when I'm done, perhaps even a proper book review. But for now, I highly recommended Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, especially if you're a history buff.

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