Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Dixieland Delight

Some books deserve a long review that thoughtfully considers their merits. More, don't really, either because they're not really thoughtful considerations of the subject matter, others because they're not really the kind of book that thing is about. Clay Travis's Dixieland Delight falls into that latter category. In the tradition of accurate and boring subtitles, Dixieland is described as "A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference," and it is just that. The book is Travis's catalog of his experiences traveling to a game at each of the dozen SEC schools, plus the SEC championship during the 2006 season. As you might expect from someone who wrote for Deadspin and now writes for Fanhouse, the book probably appeals most to the male 18-34 demographic (guilty), particularly those whose fall Saturdays in college were a boozy celebration of the gridiron game (not guilty). For someone who went to the wrong DC George school (no, Ohio State is not the only school that uses "The" in its name), Travis is a reasonably amusing writer, and Dixieland definitely qualifies as an enjoying romp through a fall college football season in the SEC. Were I a nicer, less serious person, I'd say it's a fine combination of his experiences, a view of a southern mindset not necessarily shared in other places, and some slightly broader observations that rise above the mundane and (fairly mild) debauchery that characterizes the rest of the book. I'm not, though, so I'll merely note this book could have been a disaster if Travis pretended he was writing something other than an enjoyable romp. He didn't, thankfully, so Dixieland Delight ended up fairly amusing.

Now, though, the question is whether it's worth reading. Dixieland was initially published in July 2007, pretty much the normal time for books like this about the previous season, and read then, it would be a nice way to relive the previous season and whet your appetite for the previous season. Now, though, it's reliving the good or painful memories of a couple years ago, with players (other than, notably, Tim Tebow) since departed from the scene. The enjoyable romp both hurts and helps Travis here-helping, because an enjoyable romp is never really out of style, and hurts because there's really nothing to learn from reading Dixieland. I suppose the best thing I can say is I enjoyed reading Dixieland Delight, never thought about not finishing it, and don't regret the money I spent acquiring it.

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