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Presidents, Islands, and Sportswriters


I’ve been at this blogging (aka blorking) more than a year now and have never reviewed, however briefly, any books. But sometimes the urge is just is too strong and you can’t fight Mother Nature, who I swear was a librarian (who else wouldn’t have played dice with the universe?).

When you ask a librarian, or any bibliophile for that matter, what books s/he’s reading, the answer is usually something like this: “Where?” Most bibliophiles have living room books, bathroom books, napping/sleeping books, kitchen books, train books, airplane books, hammock books, waiting-for-someone-to-get-ready or get-picked-up books, lunchtime books, supermarket line books, post office line books, restorative yoga books (so you’ll hold the poses longer without getting bored out of your mind), blood-pressure lowering books, give-me-strength books, and more. Not every book we read deserves a recommendation (yes, Virginia, there are bad books out there), but three books out of my past have recently come back, not to bite but to amuse anew and they are worth mentioning, partly because they have been more enjoyable, or simply less depressing, than most of the contemporary crop of books I’ve also been reading. Those serious books do need to be read, and some are very good, but life is too short not to have a laugh and a dream once in a while and what better place to find that than in a book.

Dedication: Book writers get to make dedications, so why shouldn’t bloggers also have them? I’m going to dedicate these book recommendations to my fellow lawyer and librarian bloggers who have led me to great books and articles, on subjects other than the law of course.

Here you are:

“All the President’s Men,” by Woodward & Bernstein: Much, much funnier than you probably remember and you will be amazed all over again, though over things different from what you were amazed about the first time through.

“Islandia,” by Austen Tappan Wright: Few of you probably remember this book, but it was one that jumpstarted me into adulthood back around 1970 (along with Mailer, O’Neill, Faulkner, Dreiser, Roth, Heller and dozens of others who I read starting about age 15 (babysitting opens whole new worlds along with open-minded 10th grade English teachers)). I saw “Islandia” on the New Books shelf at the library the other day and was astounded and pleased beyond measure that it was back in print. If you’ve never read it, do. It’s long, definitely a beach, rainy/snowy day, stay-at-home-and-just-read sort of book, but worth it. The story behind the writing of the book is as good as the book itself (the reprint may have some of that story in a preface).

“You Gotta Play Hurt,” by Dan Jenkins: Surely a “guys” book, but I enjoyed it immensely. He has such great women and you gotta love Jim Tom, a guy’s guy and a girl’s guy too. But it’s the women who have the best lines. This is the perfect fall-asleep-with-a-laugh book.

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