Another good book by Eric Larson, who also wrote the epic book, Devil in the White City. I liked this book the least out of the three I own by Larson...moreAnother good book by Eric Larson, who also wrote the epic book, Devil in the White City. I liked this book the least out of the three I own by Larson (Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck are the other two), but it was still good. This book is about a storm that took place in Galveston, Texas in 1900. I had never heard of this tradegy, but I guess more people died in this storm than in any other United States natural disaster, even more than the Jonestown Flood or Hurricane Katrina. It's a good page-turner, but a sad story, and you must know that going into this read. I would recommend this book to fans of history or fans of Eric Larson. A quick read too, as it is less than 300 pages.(less)
For a while now I've been looking for an author that writes really good young adult fiction sports books like John R. Tunis did for years. I think I m...moreFor a while now I've been looking for an author that writes really good young adult fiction sports books like John R. Tunis did for years. I think I may have found one with Mike Lupica. Although known more probably for his other work with Sports Illustrated(?) I still really liked this book a lot. Thought the end of this story was a little over the top and then realized for kids it won't be. I really like the characters such as the main character Mike Arroyo, a left-handed pitcher that nobody believes is actually 12-years-old because he is so good. The character I enjoyed the most is the catcher and best friend of Arroyo, Manny. I loved the lessons that this book teaches and its a really fun story. Hope every kid that likes baseball reads this. Good stuff. (less)
A nice surprise. I've seen this book in stores for over five years, but never picked it up thinking it was about the Red Sox 2004 comeback win against...moreA nice surprise. I've seen this book in stores for over five years, but never picked it up thinking it was about the Red Sox 2004 comeback win against the Yankees, since the book came out in paperback right around that time. I later learned it was about the Yankees from 96 to 2001, but I have a lot of those books dealing with the same subject. I have a book on the 96 team by Joel Sherman, the 98 team by George King, all the teams by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci called the Yankee Years, and even a book about the 2001 game called The Last Nine Innings. This book was better than all of them, and I really liked the Yankee Years and Joel Sherman's book.
This had great reporting and was very well-written by Buster Olney. He uses the 7th game of the 2001 World Series as the backdrop, explaining that game, but then going away from that game for a while to tell the stories of players involved and not involved in that game. What you come away with as a reader are good stories about the 96 through 2001 teams, and a little at the end of the book about the 2002-2004 teams when great players such as Paul O' Neill, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez and David Cone were no longer around and instead replaced by guys like Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown, who never fit in. You also hear great stories individually on just about every Yankee from 96 to 01, including good ones on Torre, Jeter, Clemens, Bernie Wiliams, Mariano Rivera, Pettite, Posada, Cone, David Wells, Tino Martinez, Soriano and a very good story on why Paul O' Neill and Lou Pinella didn't get along. A must-read for any baseball fan and especially Yankee fans who want to remember a time when the team had money, but also the same faces on their roster year after year.(less)
Dennis Lehane is quickly becoming one of my favorite fiction writers, and I plan on reading everything he's got.
After reading Mystic River and loving...moreDennis Lehane is quickly becoming one of my favorite fiction writers, and I plan on reading everything he's got.
After reading Mystic River and loving it even though I had seen the movie, I decided to look for a few of his books at the book fair and I found this one, A Drink Before the War, in the fiction bin. This was a really good book, even if you can tell it's his first. Some of the dialogue reminds me of a Dean Koontz, Lorenzo Carcaterra or even Jim Butcher a tad, but its his descriptions that really draw me in, along with the great characters. Here is an example of some writing on page 50 that won't give anything away...
"I turned onto Myrtle Street, the whole street no wider than a piece of dental floss, the tall colonial buildings squeezing in on me. It's impossible to follow someone on Beacon St without being spotted.The streets were built before cars, and I presume, fat or tall people. Back when Boston was this wonderful mythic world full of midget aerobic intructors, Beacon Hill must have seen roomy. But now, it's cramped and narrow and shares more than a little in common with an old French provincial town-very pleasing to the eye, but functionally a disaster. A truck stopped on the hill can back up traffic for a mile."
Just a really good cop book, where the imagery is great. I recommend this book for any fan of good mystery cop thrillers and fans of Dennis Lehane, who also wrote Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone.(less)
Really good autobiography of Motley Crue, that is guided well by Neil Strauss. I haven't listened to this band for years, but it brought me back to si...moreReally good autobiography of Motley Crue, that is guided well by Neil Strauss. I haven't listened to this band for years, but it brought me back to sixth grade when Dr. Feelgood was a big album, and back to junior college, when Generation Swine wasn't. I had almost forgot that in one of my favorite years of music (1994) they released a self-titled album with John Corabi as the lead singer. I never bought it and heard it wasn't that great, but it was nice to hear about that album in this book along with Motley Crue's other albums like Feelgood, Theatre of Pain, Shout at the Devil and others. This book is told by the band members and a lot of times will have one story told by as many as all four members, so you get a true sense of what really happened. These guys made okay music for a little while, except for Feelgood, which was great, but even more stressed in this book was just frieking crazy these guys were when they WEREN'T playing music. I didn't realize that there was more drama in this band than Van Halen and Guns N Roses combined. A good read for any heavy metal fan or just fans of music memoirs.(less)
My friends know that I read a lot of autobiographies of athletes that weren't really THAT great (See Eric Davis, Wayne Chrebet) because I get their bo...moreMy friends know that I read a lot of autobiographies of athletes that weren't really THAT great (See Eric Davis, Wayne Chrebet) because I get their books for a buck at book fairs. I also got this book for a buck at book fair, but what a gem it turned out to be.
I always see this book on lists of the greatest sports books of all time, so I figured it was time I read it. It's basically just a diary of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer of the 1967 football season, in which the Packers try to win the second Super Bowl ever played (they had defeated Kansas City the year before). Great insight information and I really got to like Kramer a lot as a person. Just a great human being. His descriptions on how he prepares for a game are stellar, especially the chapters in which he prepares to try and block Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions and Merlin Olsen of the then L.A. Rams. He also has a lot of great insight on other Packers such as Bart Starr, Ray Nietzke (spelling?) Paul Hornung, and of course the head coach Vince Lombardi.The book is not only insightful, but often very funny as Kramer talks about the day-to-day struggles to get ready for a game coming up later in the week. If you are a Green Bay Packers fan, why haven't you read this already? If you are a fan of the NFL or football in general this is also a MUST read.Edited by the late great Dick Schaap, this book is five stars all the way. What's even more great about this is the book I found must be from 1968 as well. I can't believe somebody didn't want this book or that the library didn't think this was required reading for sports fans anymore.(less)
Pretty good suspensful thriller. One of the few Grisham books that I haven't seen the movie for, so I really enjoyed this, especially the last 100 pag...morePretty good suspensful thriller. One of the few Grisham books that I haven't seen the movie for, so I really enjoyed this, especially the last 100 pages or so. The first 100 pages where Mitchell McDeere (the main character) gets the job at the Firm, however, could have been done in less pages, but not that bad. I now look forward to reading some of his other books. I've only read this one, Playing for Pizza and Bleachers. This one is my favorite so far.(less)
Another good book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Although I liked epic books like Sleepers, Gangster and Street Boys a lot more, this book is classic Carcater...moreAnother good book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Although I liked epic books like Sleepers, Gangster and Street Boys a lot more, this book is classic Carcaterra and a good crime drama. Chasers is the sequel to the author's book, Apaches. The apaches are a group of castaways or misfits of ex-cops that can no longer work for the NYPD for multiple different reasons that I won't give away here. Instead, they take to the streets on their own to deliver justice for a horrible crime that takes a relative of Boomers, the leader of the group, at a young age in a shooting of a restaurant.
This book has the familiar characters of Boomer, Dead-Eye and Rev. Jim, along with some new great characters such as Ash, Quincy and a police dog named Buttercup. If you liked the first book, you'll probably enjoy this second book. The novel, which takes place three years later in 1985, takes awhile to get going, but I actually enjoyed the character development, which Carcaterra is very good at. Carcaterra used to write some episodes for Law and Order, and some of this book reads like a Law and Order episode.
A fun read, but the only problem I had with the book is that some of the lines used by the ex-cops are a little over the top and something you might see in a terrible Arnold or Stallone movie from the 80's. Also, Carcaterra uses a lot of the same phrases over and over again, like "I give a fuck" from a bad thug when listening to the ex-cops. Mix it up a little Lorenzo, you're better than that.
This book is basically all action and drama, but it does make your eyes water at times. Good stuff, I look forward to reading Carcaterra's books for years to come. (less)
Look, David Halberstam is one of my favorite writers of all time, and I know a lot of people ranked this book very high (Sports Illustrated had it in...moreLook, David Halberstam is one of my favorite writers of all time, and I know a lot of people ranked this book very high (Sports Illustrated had it in its Top 20 off all time for sports books), but I just thought it was okay. Halberstam has done way better (See Summer of 49, The Best and the Brightest, Teammates) than this book, which chronicles a season of the 1979-80 Portland Trailblazers. Very well-researched as usual from Mr. Halberstam, but I thought this book strayed from the main point a little too much. This book was supposed to be on the year of the Blazers, but it goes away from that too much, especially with the state of the game and Bill Walton. Walton was once the face of the franchise, but at this time in the book's history, he's actually playing with the San Diego (before they came to L.A.) Clippers. I see a lot of people refer to this book as a year with Walton and the Trailblazers, but he's not even on the team that year. I understand you need to talk about him since only three years earlier he had helped the team win a title, but this felt at times like his autobiography. Okay, we get it, Walton was hurt a lot. Now move on to something else and don't talk about it on and off throughout the book without adding much new. Same thing with Maurice Lucas. We get it, he wanted out to play for more money. Now move along. Thought the stuff about Kermit Washington was interesting, but thought John Feinstein talked about it better in his amazing book "The Punch." Still, the book was fun to read and Halberstam not doing well writing is still better than 90 percent of the world. I recommend this book for fans of Halberstam like myself, and fans of the NBA.(less)
John Feinstein is one of my favorite authors and this was the 18th book I've read by him. That being said, it was the first book by him I really didn'...moreJohn Feinstein is one of my favorite authors and this was the 18th book I've read by him. That being said, it was the first book by him I really didn't like. If you've read "A Good Walk Spoiled" by Feinstein (which is very good) then you know about Q school a little bit. It's a good side story. It is not worthy of a whole book. I felt in Q school the same story was told about 100 times about a person making or not making the cut. It felt as if I was listening to a cd single that replayed automatically after the song ended. No matter how good the song, it just gets old after a while. Even during the book Feinstein has a quote of a player on the golf tour saying, "I wish they wouldn't televise this on the Golf Channel. I understand, but this tournament feels so personal." Feinstein uses that quote (or something very close to it, don't have the book in front of me now) and then proceeds to make it not personal for the next 300 pages. Look, Feinstein is a great sports writer, possibly the best alive. I've read 18 books by him, this was the first I didn't like. I already plan on reading more by him. I just didn't like this one. I don't recommend this book. If you're looking for a good golf book by Feinstein, read A Good Walk Spoiled, Caddy for Life or Open before you read this one. I've heard the Majors is good too, but I haven't read it yet. If you're looking for just a good book by Feinstein, I recommend starting with either A Civil War or Season on the Brink, and then moving on to Play Ball, Living on the Edge and The Punch. Stay away from this one though, just read about it in A Good Walk Spoiled.(less)
I was very, very pleasantly surprised with this book. This was the 20th book I've read by John Feinstein, but the first fiction book I've read by him....moreI was very, very pleasantly surprised with this book. This was the 20th book I've read by John Feinstein, but the first fiction book I've read by him. The book is for the young adult crowd and it actually had me on the edge the whole time. It's also entertaining for me because it's about two young writers who are both in junior high school. The two writers win a writing contest and are awarded a prize to cover the Final Four college basketball tournament in New Orleans. Only the weekend doesn't go as planned as the two writers by accident hear of someone convincing a star player to throw one of the games. Now the two writers are caught in a situation where they know one of the games is going to be thrown, but how do they write a story and how do they get proof? Who would believe them since they are kids? I read in about two days since it's pretty short and written in big type. I love Feinstein's reporting on non-fiction events in baseball, football, college basketball especially and even golf. It looks like his fiction writing is pretty damn good too. Well done, Mr. Feinstein. Well done.(less)