Tag: Books

5 Books I Read in 2021 That Weren’t Published in 2021

These were some books that I read in 21 and recommend. In no particular order and blurbs via Amazon.

Chickenhawk
Robert Mason

A true, bestselling story from the battlefield that faithfully portrays the horror, the madness, and the trauma of the Vietnam War

More than half a million copies of Chickenhawk have been sold since it was first published in 1983. Now with a new afterword by the author and photographs taken by him during the conflict, this straight-from-the-shoulder account tells the electrifying truth about the helicopter war in Vietnam. This is Robert Mason’s astounding personal story of men at war. A veteran of more than one thousand combat missions, Mason gives staggering descriptions that cut to the heart of the combat experience: the fear and belligerence, the quiet insights and raging madness, the lasting friendships and sudden death—the extreme emotions of a “chickenhawk” in constant danger.

So, Anyway
John Cleese

John Cleese’s huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir, Cleese recalls his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town, his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman), and the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

Cleese was just days away from graduating Cambridge and setting off on a law career when he was visited by two BBC executives, who offered him a job writing comedy for radio. That fateful moment—and a near-simultaneous offer to take his university humor revue to London’s famed West End—propelled him down a different path, cutting his teeth writing for stars like David Frost and Peter Sellers, and eventually joining the five other Pythons to pioneer a new kind of comedy that prized invention, silliness, and absurdity. Along the way, he found his first true love with the actress Connie Booth and transformed himself from a reluctant performer to a world class actor and back again.

Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, & Dismissed
Annabelle Gurwitch (Author), Bill Maher (Contributor), Felicity Huffman (Contributor), Bob Saget (Contributor), Robert Reich (Contributor), et al

Gurwitch’s popular Web site (www.firedbyannabellegurwitch.com) entices people to turn in their best tales of their worst firings; the cream of that crop is gathered in this star-studded collection of misery. The book is divided into chapters with titles like “The Job So Terrible You Can Only Hope to Be Fired” and “The Time You Deserved to Be Fired,” but mostly it’s just tales of horrible things happening to funny people. Gurwitch’s own piece—in which she’s canned from her role in a play written and directed by an officious Woody Allen, who told her “You look retarded”—is par for the course, with its droll humor and dash of celebrity. Comedians Bill Maher, D.L. Hughley, Bob Saget and Andy Borowitz all get in their zingers, while Illeana Douglas composes a poem that ranges from getting fired as a coat check girl (“How is it/possible to be fired hanging coats?/I have arms. I know what coats are”) to high farce with borderline psychotic filmmakers. The few noncelebrities invited to share their woes are generally less funny, though they tend to be more unpredictable, such as the ex–White House chef who provides a nice recipe for seared scallops.

The Last Face You’ll Ever See: The Culture of Death Row 
Ivan Solotaroff

In fascinating detail, Ivan Solotaroff introduces us to the men who carry out executions. Although the emphasis is on the personal lives of these men and of those they have to put to death, The Last Face You’ll Ever See also addresses some of the deeper issues of the death penalty and connects the veiled, elusive figure of the executioner to the vast majority of Americans who, since 1977, have claimed to support executions. Why do we do it? Or, more exactly, why do we want to?

The Last Face You’ll Ever See is not about the polarizing issues of the death penalty — it is a firsthand report about the culture of executions: the executioners, the death-row inmates, and everyone involved in the act. An engrossing, unsettling, and provocative book, this work will forever affect anyone who reads it.

The Last Taxi Driver
Lee Durkee

Hailed by George Saunders as “a true original—a wise and wildly talented writer,” Lee Durkee takes readers on a high-stakes cab ride through an unforgettable shift. Meet Lou—a lapsed novelist, struggling Buddhist, and UFO fan—who drives for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town. With Uber moving into town and his way of life vanishing, his girlfriend moving out, and his archenemy dispatcher suddenly returning to town on the lam, Lou must finish his bedlam shift by aiding and abetting the host of criminal misfits haunting the back seat of his disintegrating Town Car. Lou is forced to decide how much he can take as a driver, and whether keeping his job is worth madness and heartbreak.

Here’s last years version of this list:
9 Books I Read in 2020 That Weren’t Published in 2020

Best Book of Past 125 Years – New York Times Requests Your Suggestion

Help Us Choose the Best Book

The New York Times Book Review has just turned 125. That got us wondering: What is the best book that was published during that time? We’d like to hear from you. For the month of October we’ll take nominations, in November we’ll ask you to vote on a list of finalists and in December we’ll share the winner.

Note – First Review was Oct. 10, 1896

My Nomination –
The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James
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Update 11/24 –  they are no longer accepting submissions, so above link is kind of dated.

However, here’s the link to vote on the selections (see below): https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/11/24/books/best-book-vote.html

1984
All the Light We Cannot See
Beloved
Catch-22
The Catcher in the Rye
Charlotte’s Web
A Confederacy of Dunces
The Fellowship of the Ring
A Fine Balance
A Gentleman in Moscow
Gone With the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath
The Great Gatsby
The Handmaid’s Tale
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Infinite Jest
To Kill a Mockingbird
A Little Life
Lolita
Lonesome Dove
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Overstory
A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Ulysses

Find books by Mood and Emotion – www.whichbook.net

Choosing books by mood and emotion
You can mix our mood sliders into great combinations – try unpredictable, lots of sex and optimistic and check what comes up. Flip the slider setting from optimistic to unusual and the books offered are quite different.

Click on a book cover that intrigues you and you can find out more. No need to wade through long reviews, or complicated plot summaries. There’s a short comment designed to convey the essence of the book, what it feels like to read. You can get a direct experience of the author’s voice in a sample paragraph. And there are a few Parallels – other books and sometimes tv shows, songs and even paintings which have some similarities with this one.

Choosing from the world map
Spin the globe and choose a book by the country it is set in. Click on an area – say Africa or Europe – and then click on a specific country. You will find places – and books – you maybe never knew about.
eg: Italy

Choosing by character and plot
You can choose the main character’s race, age, sexuality and/or gender. Or pick a favourite plot shape and discover the range of different types of read that use it.

Starting from a familiar bestseller
You won’t find the biggest bestsellers on Whichbook as everyone knows about them already. But you can use your enjoyment of a current bestseller to see titles with a similar mood that you might try next.

https://www.whichbook.net/

Other People’s Book Collections

Bibliophiles do not approach bookshelves lightly. A stranger’s collection is to us a window to their soul. We peruse with judgment, sometimes admiration and occasionally repulsion (Ayn Rand?!). With celebrities now frequently speaking on television in front of their home libraries, a voyeuristic pleasure presents itself: Are they actually really like us?

Gal Beckerman, NYTIMES
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/30/books/celebrity-bookshelves-tv-coronavirus.html#commentsContainer

From the comments:
My brother-in-law once found a complete set of the works of Anthony Trollope in excellent condition.
The price seemed a little high, so he declined. The next day, he changed his mind and returned, only to find that the collection had been purchased by a lady who needed “Three yards of red books.”