I really dug Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. Just came out in hardback, good cross-section of a sample of the 80s indie band culture, many of whom contributed mightily to my musical education. That there are chapters devoted to Mission of Burma, Big Black, Minutemen, and Beat Happening sold me on the book, but it's all good. Sometimes he accomodates himself a bit too strongly to the point of view of whoever he's interviewing, but it's a small flaw, and perhaps the only history we're ever going to get of this scene. And this book seems to have helped convince 'Burma to reunite for two shows, so it's worth a purchase for that reason alone.
Two recent reads: Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, which is a hoot, and even mentions Hell and TV as selections on his daily mix tape. And Neil Baldwin's Man Ray: American Artist, the biography of my fave painter/photographer/filmmaker (L'étoile de mer and Emak Bakia, of course, are part of the film soundtracks shows). More details forthcoming.
I have some Perec (Species of Spaces and other pieces), the new James Tate, and Ed Ruscha (They Called Her Styrene), lined up, though. Talking Heads were apparently Ruscha fans, having used his Sand in the Vaseline painting for the cover of the collection of the same name, but his work is much more engaging than suggested by only that data point. (In the summer of 2000, I caught the Ruscha show at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and picked up the exquisite exhibition catalog as well...although as ever, the separations don't capture the images as well as they could.)