I’ve always read books of fiction and non-fiction but nothing like the number I’ve conquered since retiring for good in early 2007.
My tendency was to read non-fiction about people and events — starting with the plethora of books that came out after the JFK assassination. (My latest must-read is former Secret Service agent Clint Hill’s Mrs. Kennedy and Me.) I’ve been fascinated by the men who’ve occupied the highest seat of political and governmental power in the world. And I’ve been captivated by historical fiction; my favorite author in that realm being James Alexander Thom.
I learned I am a speed-reader.
No idea how many books I’ve read the past five years but I want to share with you some recent ones.
Moloka’i. Author is Alan Brennert. Keep in mind I am in the process of reading it so I don’t know what the outcome will be, but thus far it is the sad story of Hawaiian Islands lepers who were shuttled off to a remote spot on the island of Moloka’i where they were to spend their lives. My wife and I were recently on the island and saw from far above (meaning, we were at a tourist site atop the cliffs that descended from our location to the Pacific) what had been the leper colony. We were told that the oldest of the surviving lepers is still there. Sad, but an important read.
Jockeys and Jewels. Author is Bev Pettersen. An easy read. Fictional novel about a mystery involving horse racing and romance. I found it an interesting diversion from the heavy stuff I normally engage in. I was drawn to it because I love horse racing.
Campy. Author is Neil Lanctot. As far as I know, this is the latest book on the life of Roy Campanella, famed catcher of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite growing up in southwestern Indiana, I have been a lifelong Dodger. Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball, was my boyhood idol. Campy was his teammate. The author has done a huge amount of research and I recommend the book for those who want another viewpoint about the hard times of the negro (the term then) baseball player in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s and the integration of major league baseball. I learned A LOT.
The Killing of Crazy Horse. Author is Thomas Powers. It is an exhaustively researched book not only about one of the most famed, admired, revered, despised leaders of American Indians, but about the Indians themselves. It took weeks for me to read this but, still, I was captivated. I bought it on Kindle but recommend you purchase it in a hard copy and have a highly detailed map of the American West so you can follow the various Indian tribes–where they were located, where they migrated from, where they fought, and so forth. I want to do just that — purchase the book in hard copy and have a highly-detailed map whereby I can plot tribes, their movements, battles, conferences, and the Army forts and Indian agencies that sprung up through the West. I won’t get into any of the politics of the time nor the savagery of the Indians or actions of the U.S. Army other than to say the Indians and certain leaders were duped into finally surrendering and the killing of Crazy Horse was the sad end of an important chapter of American history. A “must read” if interested in the settlement of the West. Beware: You can’t speed-read through this one.
Does The Noise Inside My Head Bother You? Don’t waste your money. The story of the former despicable life of a despicable Steven Tyler. I gave up reading it about half-way through after struggling through his gutter language. It’s interesting how some people can’t speak without saying “fuck” all the time. Gets old hearing/reading it.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Author is Lynne Truss. OK, I threw this in just to show you I am vitally interested in good punctuation.
AMONG OTHERS I HAVE READ IN THE PAST YEAR:
* Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (About the Mormon Church).
* The Last Boy (The life of Mickey Mantle. Be prepared to be disappointed or disillusioned about Mickey.)
* The Year Underdogs Ruled Golf (A fascinating look at four unknowns winning the four major championships.)