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Books

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It's So Easy: And Other Lies by Duff McKagan

If you're looking for a racy, behind the scenes rock n' roll chronicle this isn't it.  This engaging memoir by Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan is more of a reflection on his substance abuse, and overcoming it, with his life in music as a background.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

In Whitehead’s post-apocalyptic thriller, the world is divided into two types:  the infected and the uninfected.  The world has been hit by a plague, but now it is receding and the uninfected are slowly taking back their cities.  Mark Spitz is a heavily armed civilian volunteer who is helping to eliminate remaining infected individuals.  He and his team are on the island of Manhattan cleaning out Zone One, trying to set up the base for resettlement.  Whitehead’s description of a devastated NYC is as frightening as the scenes remembered by his characters. 

The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching and Life on the Mound by Ron Darling

Starting pitcher for the New York Mets from 1983 to 1991, Darling eloquently describes the beautiful cruelty of our national pastime. This is less a technical description of the mechanics and tactics of pitching (though you will find plenty of that, too) than an insightful and captivating exploration of what goes on inside the mind of the man who occupies this uniquely strategic position. Rich with fascinating anecdotes and notes on the subtler aspects of the game, Darling provides a marvelous expose on the inner life of pitchers. Great preparation for spring training!

The Rope by Nevada Barr

Looking to get as far away as possible from Manhattan after the death of her husband, Anna Pigeon takes a job as a seasonal ranger at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on Lake Powell.  One day on a hike in the canyons she comes across three men attacking a woman; the next thing she knows she is waking up in a 20-foot deep hole in the ground.  How Anna saves herself from this predicament and others provides the back story for this long-running series character's decison to become a National Park Service Ranger.  As always, Barr provides a twisty mystery in a gorgeousl

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

One in three Americans captured by the Japanese in WWII died in captivity. This is the gripping story of one who survived. After enlisting in the Army Air Corps, sometime juvenile delinquent and Olympic runner Louis Zamperini's odyssey takes a decidedly grim turn when the B-24 on which he serves as a bombadier crashes in the Pacific. After drifting for 47 days, he is picked up by the Japanese. And the story turns hellish. For two and a half years he  endures the sadistic torture of his guards, humiliation, starvation, medical experiments, slave labor and disease.

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens

Happy 200th, Charles Dickens.  Arguably the greatest Victorian novelist, Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Landport, Portsmouth, England.  Dickens is best known for his works such as A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.  He was also a great traveler and visited the United States two times, during which visits he spent a significant amount of time in the Boston area visiting the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Learn more about his life in the recent biography Charles Dickens: A Life by Clai

Cain by Jose Saramago

This posthumously published short novel was the last book written by Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago.  After Cain kills his brother Abel, he is forced to wander forever, through space and time, through the Old Testament.  Along the way, Cain runs into characters and situations that we are all familiar with:  Noah, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel.   Saramago’s powerful retelling of Bible stories is not short on satire and contains the author’s usual charm. 

Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

Fast, Furious & Funny: be prepared to read this high-octane thriller in one sitting because it's almost impossible to put down. House sitter Charlie Hardie stumbles into an assassination attempt when he arrives at a Hollywood Hills client's home, and spends the rest of the story trying to evade and outsmart the hitmen (and woman) called the Accident People. One critic called the book "insanely entertaining" and I have to agree! Better yet, it's the first in a trilogy.

Emily Hudson by Melissa Jones

Emily Hudson, a penniless orphan who lost her family to consumption and fever, is forced to accept the grudging hospitality of her aunt and uncle.  Emily does not fit into the dour straitlaced Cornford household where the least show of enthusiasm is deemed inappropriate.  Her cousin William, a novelist,  takes an interest in her watching every emotion and reaction as if thinking about how he would write the scene in a novel, even going so far as to interfere in events to create situations to observe.   Ultimately the novel is about how Emily learns to stand up for

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Can’t get enough Sherlock Holmes?  It seems that the famous inspector has made quite a comeback for himself.  The House of Silk offers the first Holmes novel to be authorized by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate in 125 years.  Narrated by Watson, this is an excellent Holmes story.  The mysteries and deductions abound.  Horowitz uses excellent pacing as the clues are slowly revealed.  I quite enjoyed this book and hope to see more from Horowitz (author of the Alex Rider books and Foyle’s War TV series). 

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