I read a lot. It is a way for me to relax or learn something new. Most everything is from the library, though occasionally I will buy a Kindle download if that is the best way to get the book. It is rare for me not to have three or four different books stacked by the bed or in my office, each in some stage of completion.
The recent post asking for suggestions on topics for me to address included several requests for book-related posts. So, here is a list of what I have read in the last few months. Maybe there is something here that will interest you, too.
Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz. A fascinating look at John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, an incident that many say was the trigger for the Civil War.
A Confederate in the Attic also by Tony Horwitz. I just finished this look at the Civil War through the eyes of contemporary citizens of the American South. Even though the war ended over 140 years ago, for some in Dixie the struggle continues. This book was a real eye-opener for this lifelong Yankee.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Unlike his spy or espionage novels, like Eye of the Needle, this is a 1200 page historic epic set in twelve century England. It involves Gothic cathedrals, religious leaders, commoners, war, titantic struggles, evil, and love that cannot be stopped. I found this book absolutely enthralling. Mr. Follett says it is the best thing he has ever written.
Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. All about "choice architecture," or the ways in which society can nudge people to do what is best for them. I found it somewhat disconcerting and unsettling. It is a rather slow read and gets quite technical for us non-scientific types.
The Sixth Man by David Baldacci. I have read at least half a dozen of David's crime mysteries. His plots are always intriguing and his writing is first rate.
The Everything Store by Brad Stone. This is the biography of Jeff Bezos (I learned his last name is pronounced Bay-zos), the founder and maniacal force between Amazon's quest to be the on-line store for everything. Working for the company sounds miserable, but the drive and determination of its leader is worth learning about.
California Fire & Life by Don Winslow. Another mystery writer I recently discovered. His style is sparse and sardonic, his dialogue snappy and fun. In this book you will learn more about arson and setting fires than you thought possible.
You Gotta keep Dancing by Tim Hansel. Probably the best book I have ever read about dealing with pain, not with medicine, but with your mind and attitude. This is the book to read if you are faced with chronic pain and don't know where to turn.
The Waterworks by E.L. Doctorow. This one was tough for me to complete. It is historical fiction but written in a way that produces a slow narrative and story that unfolds at a glacial pace. He is a very well respected author but I struggled.
Storm Front by John Sandford. Another mystery author I enjoy. This is his latest. It involves Israeli spies, archaeological relics, Minnesota, and enough twists and turns to keep me riveted.
One book that I have tried to read before and couldn't, I tried...and failed again. I know War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is considered a classic and one of the best books ever written. But I just couldn't stay motivated to wade through all the Russian names and detailed descriptions of their parties and life.
Recently, I learned of two web sites that look perfect for book nuts like me:
Goodreads is a site with thousands upon thousands of recommendations, based on previous books you've enjoyed, in every category under the sun. I could get seriously lost here.
Library Thing is a place to keep lists of what you have read and what is on your shelves. The other 1.7 million members help you decide what to add with reviews and conversations about books.
OK, what about you? What has kept you up well past bed time or enthralled as you watched the snow pile up outside your window on a winter's day?