Categories
Books

The Greater Journey

by David McCullough

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

I’ve always found McCullough’s books entertaining. I found this one pretty boring. Repetitive and way overlong. Should have half the length. Fire the editor.

The premise of the book was unique. A history of the many Americans that went to Paris to study – or in some cases just party – during it’s heyday as the world’s capital of knowledge and art.

Categories
Books

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid

by Wille May and John Shea

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

The book is a (very) extended interview between May and the author, which a lot of historical information included. May’s story is makes for good reading, although I thought the book was too long and repeative.

Some of the more interesting things I learned.

  • He played in the Negro Leagues
  • He lost almost two seasons serving in the Korean War
  • He might have broken Ruth’s record with the war and playing in Candlestick/Polo Grounds
  • He was raised by his father and two of his mother’s sisters (mother left, died young)
  • May said the level of play in the Negro League was better than the minors
  • Durocher has Mays room with his son to make sure he didn’t get in trouble
  • NY Giants had the first all-black outfield: Irwin, Mays, Thompson
  • Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal had more complete games than wins in their career. They both pitched all sixteen innings of a game when their team played. Marichal threw 227 pitches. Spahn was 43 years old.
  • Monte Irvin was given the chance to be the first black in the big leagues but turned it down. Felt he was no physically ready to play at the time.

Each chapter started with a quote from Mays. Many a memorable, common-sense advice.

Be open to learning from your parents and understanding where they’re coming from. They can help you if you let them.

Have fun with everything you do. Be comfortable. No need to act like you’re somebody else. Be yourself. That’s good enough.

Life takes you many places. Make the best of any situation. Complaining doesn’t help. You’ve gotta adjust and make it work for you.

Push to get the most out of your ability in whatever you do and feel good about yourself for getting the job done every day.

If you give your best effort, don’t get down on yourself if things don’t work out. Be happy with yourself and move on.

I had my own advanced stats. I learned hitter’s tendencies and memorized their strengths and weaknesses, which put me in the right position to succeed…

.302 lifetime average. 3,283 hits. 660 home runs. 1,903 RBIs. 338 stolen bases. 156.4 WAR.

Categories
Books

Joe Biden: the life, the run, and what matters now

by Evan Osnos

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

Good book, based on a series of articles Osnos wrote for the New Yorker. This portrait, like the several others I’ve read, give me a little hope for America. Biden is a decent, hard working person. We need many, many more like that.

Categories
Books

Joe Biden: A Life of Trail and Redemption

by Jules Witcover

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

I already liked Biden. Small town kid, middle-class, family man, friend to those in need. What’s not to like? After reading this book, I like him even more. A man also of major accomplishments, intellectual power, and a tremendous work ethic. What’s not to like? Even less now that I’ve learned more about him. (Ok, he could be a little cooler. I’ll bet his taste in music is pretty bland.)

Categories
Books

Promise me, Dad : a year of hope, hardship, and purpose

by Joe Biden

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

Interesting book about Biden’s years as VP, and the trials he faced during his son’s illness.

Categories
Books

Let the Swords Encircle Me

by Scott Petterson

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].
Long-ass book about modern Iran.

Categories
Books

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

by Hooman Majd

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].
Categories
Books

In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs

by Christopher de Bellaigue

[photoshop:Headline]. [photopress:stringOfKeywords].

A personal account of living in Iran post-revolution. With a bit of history thrown in.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s not for a person unfamiliar with Iranian history. I do like the approach, a mixture of personal experience and history. However, I found a good bit of the descriptions of his experience overly long and just not that interesting.

Categories
Books

Khomeini’s Ghost

by Con Coughlin

The author, instead of getting to deep into the details of Khomeini’s life, included a lot of information on what was going on in Iran during his life, which made the book much more interesting. Kudos.

Categories
Books

The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch

Pausch was a computer science professor who contracted pancreatic cancer. He decided to do one final lecture, primarily aimed to teach his children some life lessons.

Pausch was a brave man with some interesting insights. It was a bit to uplifting for my tastes.

Categories
Books

All the Shah’s Men

by Stephen Kinzer

A history of the 1953 U.S. led coup in Iran.

Categories
Books

Countercoup

by Kermit Roosevelt

This book, about the 1953 coup in Iran that toppled Mossadegh, gets a lot of criticism for over-emphasizing the American involvement and also playing fast-and-loose with the facts.

That may be, I can’t judge, but I can say it’s a really good read. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson, could write.

Categories
Books

John Muir: A Passion for Nature

by Donald Worster

A biography of the environmentalist extraordinaire, John Muir. Good book, nicely paced, it gets a bit slow towards the end, but I guess to be expected since Muir’s life wasn’t as exciting.

Categories
Books

Henry David Thoreau: A Life

by Laura Dassow Walls 

What a boring book. But I learned a lot about Thoreau’s life.

Categories
Books

Life Will Be the Death of Me

by Chelsea Handler

A kind of trashy autobiography written by the comedian Chelsea Handler. I want to read more about the Enneagram, the psychological test she said helped her understand herself better.

Categories
Books

Books

by Billy Collins

From the heart of this dark, evacuated campus
I can hear the library humming in the night, 
a choir of authors murmuring inside their books
along the unlit, alphabetical shelves, 
Giovanni Pontano next to Pope, Dumas next to his son, 
each one stitched into his own private coat, 
together forming a low, gigantic chord of language. 

I picture a figure in the act of reading, 
shoes on a desk, head tilted into the wind of a book, 
a man in two worlds, holding the rope of his tie
as the suicide of lovers saturates a page, 
or lighting a cigarette in the middle of a theorem. 
He moves from paragraph to paragraph
as if touring a house of endless, paneled rooms. 

I hear the voice of my mother reading to me
from a chair facing the bed, books about horses and dogs, 
and inside her voice lie other distant sounds, 
the horrors of a stable ablaze in the night, 
a bark that is moving toward the brink of speech. 

I watch myself building bookshelves in college, 
walls within walls, as rain soaks New England, 
or standing in a bookstore in a trench coat. 

I see all of us reading ourselves away from ourselves, 
straining in circles of light to find more light
until the line of words becomes a trail of crumbs
that we follow across a page of fresh snow; 

when evening is shadowing the forest
and small birds flutter down to consume the crumbs, 
we have to listen hard to hear the voices
of the boy and his sister receding into the woods.
Categories
Books

The Baseball Chronicles

Edited by David Gallen

Fun collection of articles written about some of baseball best old-time stars. Most written during the players career. Fun read.

Categories
Books

Country of Baseball

The story of Dock Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I remember him well from when I was a kid. The Pirates were my favorite team. I remember the names of most of the players mentioned.

Book was written by Donald Hall, Nobel Laureate poet, and big baseball fan too.

Categories
Books

Portraits and Observations – Truman Capote

Great collection of essays by Truman Capote. I had read In Cold Blood and some other things, but his essays are really his best work. Great stylist.

Categories
Books

Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

Categories
Books

THE WORLD According to MR. ROGERS

The book consists of a series of excerpts from various works by Fred Rogers. I suppose it’s fair to say that Mr. Rogers was a bit cornball and simplistic. It’s certainly understandable why have many people, including me, didn’t pay a lot of attention to him.

But after seeing the recent movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, doing some reading about his life, and reading this book, I can see the value of Mr. Rogers. Actually, his thoughts on love and kindness are profound.

Categories
Books

Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin

Written by the daughter of Kenny Shopsin, the founder of the famously quirky restaurant which carries his surname.

Written in a quirky style, with funky typography. Primarily short antidotes about her family and the restaurant. It starts off kind of slow but becomes a lot of fun about halfway through.

The title refers to her father’s philosophy. Nothing really matters, but dedicating oneself to something actually makes it matter. (I may be wildly mispresenting his thoughts.)

Categories
Books

The Ascent by Volker Ullrich

An analysis of the rise of Hilter. Many parallels to the rise of Trumpism, albeit on a much larger scale.

Really something of a boring book. Probably important for future historians, but too much detail for the average reader.

Categories
Books

He Won’t Get Far on Foot – John Callahan

An autobiography of John Callahan, who was a well-known cartoonist. His work is pretty edgy, some would call insensitive (I wouldn’t).

He was a raging alcoholic from an early age. He describes in harrowing detail – and humor – his journey through the hell of alcoholism, which ended up with his being in terrible drunken car accident, which led to his struggle with being a quadriplegic, and eventually salvation through cartooning.

Highly entertaining book.

Categories
Books

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety – Jimmy Carter

Didn’t take notes on this one.

What a great, great man. His life is an inspiration.