Thursday, July 10, 2014


Man, I am so, so far behind on book recommendations. Let's remedy that, to a degree.

Eddie & The Gun Girl
Remember The Natural? Remember how Robert Redford got shot? That was based on a real incident involving Philadelphia Phillies All-Star first baseman Eddie Waitkus in 1949, and it's stranger than fiction, so to speak. This is written by Mark Kram, Jr., who also wrote the award-winning
Like Any Normal Day, and it's an engaging, interesting read.

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class
This is a brilliant book, but it's a difficult read because much of the subject matter is downright painful. If you want to truly understand what's happening in American politics today, though, it's very much worth your time. It's a clear examination of how coded racial messages are embedded in political speech. Yeah, that's depressing, but it's important to grasp.

The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final
I still remember how exhilarating it was to see this race. It was a brilliant, timeless moment, maybe a bit less timeless after seven of the eight finalists eventually tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It certainly captures a drug-drenched era, though, one that track and field is still struggling mightily to recover from.

If you think you can't learn anything new about this race, or its participants, you are very, very wrong. This is a phenomenal read.

The Princess Bride
Can you believe I'd never read this? It's wonderful, even more so than the movie (which is one of my favorite films ever). That's the highest compliment I can provide.

Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll 
Yes, this is an autobiography of the Wilson sisters, better known as Heart. Hey, I still love their music, and if you enjoy rock group bios, this is entirely entertaining. It's also quite a revelation to read about how difficult it was for women to break into rock 'n roll.

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
I'm going to recommend this book with an asterisk. The information it contains is impeccable, and it's a terrific chronicle of the early years of the console wars. However, the dialogue as written is entirely unnatural (seriously, it drove me crazy). If you can get past that, it's a nice bit of gaming history, and well worth reading.

Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline
I still find Patsy Cline's music entirely beautiful, almost hypnotic, but I knew almost nothing about her until I read this book. She was a larger-than-life character in almost every way,  and this is a fascinating biography. Stormy relationships, a huge heart, a maniacal work ethic-- a fascinating character, in short, and this is an excellent treatment, both from a research and writing standpoint.

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