Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time to Read

I'm starting something new today... book reviews. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I really like reading; it's what I would do if I had nothing else to do, and what I do if my wife gives me housework.

  2. Books are something of a dying pleasure thanks to the internet, but I think that they hold a certain charm and appeal for people... besides it's more enlightening than looking for porn.

  3. Reading certain books got me through a lot of rough patches of boredom in my life, and I want to pass on the knowledge.

  4. And the best reason... The Wife said she thought it'd be a good idea and you know what they say when your wife suggests something.
First up are several books that got me through not only the down time at the hospital waiting on my son to be born, but also afternoons of umemployment when nothing is on the boob tube by Maury Povich and the People's Court. Oh, and one last note: I buy from Barnes & Noble but link to Amazon because, well Amazon's website is better in my opinion.

Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football by Jim Dent.

This is one of the best sports books I've ever read. It tells the story of an orphanage in the heart of 1920's, 30's and 40's Texas that sported one of the best football teams in the state. The coach of this bunch of rag-tags was Coach Rusty Russell, who you'll learn was the possible innovator of the modern offenses you see on Friday and Saturday nights today. Incidently, Dent is the same guy who wrote Junction Boys , which ESPN turned into a movie, about the Texas A&M football team coached by "Bear" Bryant. Highly recommend this for any football fan on you gift list, and guys, the chapters break down quite nicely for light reading in between getting ice chips at the hospital. And if you are not as impressed as I was about the legend that is Hardy Brown, well, I'll apologize publically for the recommendation.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Grann's book is non-fiction and tells the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, a guy you've probably never heard of, but once you get a small taste of his life, you'll wonder how come Harrison Ford's character wasn't named after him instead of his dog Indiana. Fawcett spent a large majority of his life looking for a lost civilization in the Amazon rainforest, what some called El Dorado. But far from a City of Gold, Fawcett believed it was something far greater, more unbelieavable. Gann alternates the telling of Fawcett's last trip into the jungle (on which he disappeared into myth and legend) with the telling of his own quest to follow in Fawcett's bootsteps, and hopefully not get killed by poisonous snakes, deadly bugs bigger than your hand, and cannibals. See, it's got everything a growing boy needs!

Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough

Ok, so we've got sports, adventures in the jungle... what are we missing? Oh yeah, gangsters!! Well, this is the real deal, baby. Burrough doesn't give you Captain Jack Sparrow trying to shoot a Tommy gun without falling down, and then going after some ugly chick we're supposed to believe is hot just because Hollywood tells us she is. No, Burrough's book is the actual story of all those bad boys (and girls) you love to hate: Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, the Barkers, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and of course, the best of the best... John Dillinger. And if you think you saw everything because you paid your $9 at the movies and got the 1967 version of Bonnie & Clyde from Netflix, you might want to rethink it. This stuff really happened, to real people, and it's way more interesting than anything Michael Mann can put on the screen.

I'll give you some more at regular intervals... or basically whenever I'm done reading whatever I'm working on. Right now, since I read two at a time, it's a novel and a historical non-fiction book. Until then, put the remote down and read!

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