Looking for a good book? Consider these
It’s time to kick back, find a bit of beach and read a good book. Here are a few suggestions from among those I stumbled into this year.
• The entire Dark Tower series by Stephen King. About a group’s quest for a magical tower. I resisted reading any of King’s books for years, figuring anyone that popular was probably a lousy writer. Wrong. Then I resisted reading this series of eight books. It’s really one big book, King says. Finally, Beautiful Daughter bought me the boxed set of the first four. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
• Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work by Paul Babiak and Robert Hare. About the psychopaths who don’t end up in prison, which is most of them. They have no conscience, don’t stick with anything – or any one – for long, and leave wrecked lives in their wake. This book is intended to help you spot them, and escape.
• The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown. About the U.S. men’s rowing team trying to win the eightman event at the Hitler Olympics in Germany. The training was brutal, the Nazis cheated and then came the final race. Don’t go to YouTube to watch the race until after you’ve read the book. No cheating.
• League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth by brothers Mark FainaruWada and Steve Fairaru. About the ghastly price some football players pay for smashing their heads into each other. Pittsburgh Steeler centre Mike Webster is an example of what can happen when your brain can’t take it anymore. Asked by a doctor if he’d ever been in a car accident, he said, “25,000 times.” The NFL knew what was happening, but played the tobacco game. Deny. Deny. Deny. For years. The PBS television documentary by the same name is a winner too.
• War by Sebastien Junger. About a 15-month tour by American soldiers in the hell of Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Junger wrote A Perfect Storm – the movie starred George Clooney, so he can tell a story. The first rule of war: young men die. The second rule: you can’t change the first rule.
• Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas. An autobiography by a psychopath. He (or she) doesn’t like being called a psychopath. Watching an animal drown in a pool is the opening scene. I suspected Me Thomas – get it, a fake name – wasn’t real, but by the end I was convinced. Chilling.
• Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. About Lincoln’s uncanny knack for getting things done, using compromise and clear thinking. Lincoln was no angel. He was an ice-cold politician with a calculator for a heart, when he needed to be. Today, the Republicans wouldn’t run him for president in a million years. Sad.
• The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. About medicine’s battle to cure cancer. Science is about learning from mistakes. The cancer fight has had its share. Women losing breasts for nothing was one of them. Doctors who were too sure of themselves and ignored science is an all-too-common theme here.