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10 Books You Must Read
The Golden Compass
Admittedly, Young Adult Literature isn't the genre for everyone, however, The Golden Compass is an adventure into a different world you won't want to miss. Philip Pullman wrote a trilogy called his Dark materials which begins with The Golden Compass, followed by The Subtle Knife, and concluded with The Amber Spyglass. The tale of a little girl named Lyra from an alternate universe where people's conscience or souls are manifested in the form of an animal which they refer to as their demons. Lyra joins in the fight between forces both good and evil. The story contains religious aspects of a God and after life but isn't deeply religious in message or otherwise. Lyra's adventure include interactions with fighting talking bears, witches and her own parents who find themselve's on opposing sides with Lyra caught in the middle.
Into Thin Air
John Krakauer was merely an author before he summited Everest, afterwards he became a witness to the raw indiscriminate power of nature. Into Thin Air chronicles a mountain climber turned author, turned back mountain climber, as he joined an expedition to climb Mt. Everest as a journalistic endeavor. What happened was the most tragic day in the mountain's history when eight lives were claimed on Krakauer's 1996 expedition, including his famous guide Rob Hall. Krakauer's story brings Everest to life drawing a morbid, yet awe inspired curiosity in the reader. Knowing the outcome of this tale will not stop the pages from turning all night as you relive this expeditious tale of nonfiction literature. Krakauer's version of the events has been challenged by another expedition member's own account, accusing Krakauer of literary creativity in his best seller. No one will ever truly know exactly the details of the tragedy on Mt. Everest that day, but Into Thin Air is so well written, and rich with details that one cannot help but to hang on every word.
Alive by Pierre Pauls details yet another tale of survival against all odds. When the Uruguayan rugby team set out for Chile no one could anticipate the battle with mortality that would ensue. Surviving a plane crash in the Andes would be miracle enough for almost anyone, surviving another two and a half months at an elevation far above anything alive except for themselves with no food has no description. This true story may be remembered most for its ghastly details of cannabalism but the sheer will to live is the true moral here. Pauls' detailed narrative brings the group of men to life in a story of sadness and triumph that you will never forget. One can't help but see themselves in the shoes of the survivors and wonder if they would have what it would take to make it out Alive.
A People's History of The United States of America
Howard Zenn has brought together a history book about the unrecorded history of our nation. Zenn offers insight into a past that most history books tend to leave out. From the decimation of the Native Americans to the labour strikes of the late 1800's and beyond, A People's History grants a look from the common man recorded in local newspapers and literature from the time. This is a must read for any history buff and really a great mind opening look at stories you thought you knew. Zenn mixes in stories and quotes from the people whose side of history didn't make the text book. Although Zenn's book sheds a somewhat negative light on the history of our country it is this history that has brought us to where we are today. Zenn's narrative brings to light the common lesson that those who do not pay attention to the past are doomed to repeat it.
11/22/63 is a fabulous fictional thriller by Stephen King. Time travel has been explored in literature for decades. King brings his character Jake, back to late 1950's America on a journey leading up to the Kennedy assassination on 11/22/63. King takes you on a thrill ride back in time as an English teacher from 2003 goes back to 1958 and has to wait five years to stop the Kennedy assassination from taking place. With time to kill he encounters a variety of characters, including the love of his life. The only problem is that time is resistant to change, and despite his attempts to correct the mistakes of the past he is unmistakably running out of time. Sometimes we learn that things are better left unchanged. The added element of fantasy to an otherwise historically accurate and well researched story makes 11/22/1963 a must read.
Adrift by Steve Callahan is an account of 76 days lost at sea adrift on a life raft with minimal supplies and only a will to survive. Callahan's boat capsized in the Atlantic on a solo voyage, and while he was able to salvage his life raft and a sack of survival gear most of his food rations were sacrificed to the sea. Living off of fish and water produced from stills, Callahan was able to float across the ocean to the Caribbean where he was finally rescued. Over the course of his journey Callahan saw several boats but none close enough to spot his raft and offer rescue. Fighting constant fatigue, dehydration, and starvation Callahan beat all odds to survive his journey.
Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly is a fascinating look at the Lincoln assassination as never heard before. Most Americans have a good idea of some of the Lincoln assassination story, however many intriguing facts about the case are largely unknown to the public. O'Reilly's narrative reads like fiction however his details are historically accurate. The book will take you back to 1860s America and give you a look inside the mood of the country at the time.
Never before in American history has there been a wilder culmination of events. Imagine the media today should the country be divided in two by Civil War and upon its conclusion the president be assassinated. The swarm of coverage and public curiosity would be unimaginable. Another aspect of O'Reilly's narrative is the chase of John Wilkes Booth as he evaded law for nearly 2 weeks after the assassination.
The Yankee Years
Joe Torre collaborates with Tom Verducci on his time as manager of the New York Yankees. I am not even a Yankee fan but the stories provided by Torre are priceless for even the most casual baseball fans. Torre recaps relationships with various players including David Cone, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez. His accounts of the 4 championship seasons between 1996 and 2000 give an inside look at the Yankee dominance of the decade. The book also gives another view on great Yankee owner George Steinbrenner and his role with the team and his relationship with Torre and the players. The Yankee Years chronicles the Steroid Era that was taking place during Torre's tenure, and its effect on the Yankees and all of baseball. The Yankee Years is a fabulous read for any baseball fan but I think also would make a great lesson for anyone in a leadership role as Torre was the quintessential leader of the Yankees.
Which Book Will You Be Reading Next?
Mud Sweat and Tears
Television star and survival expert Bear Grylls has written his autobiography and it is absolutely amazing. You know him from his show Man vs Wild but there is much more to his story. Bear takes you through his journey to become a member of the British Special Forces in a way that makes you exhausted just to read about what he went through. He also gives an inside look at his television show and has answers for some of the critics who have been down on him for the perceived reality of the show. Mud Sweat and Tears almost reads like a self help book for success in the way that Bear takes all of his life's experiences and shows how they have helped shape the man he his today. This book is an excellent source of inspiration for anyone who has had to deal with incredible adversity in their life only to come out the other side stronger than before.
Keith Richards writes his autobiography, which may as well serve as an autobiography for the Rolling Stones as well. Keith takes you all the way back to his childhood in London where he met Mick Jagger and started the band up, to his present day life where he is still fifty years later making music with the Rolling Stones. Richards comes clean about his drug use through the 70's and the bands turmoil going from playing small bars to sold out stadiums. Richards has lived a wild life and his book takes you along for the ride with stories of wild nights on acid with John Lennon to sad tales of losing a child. Through it all Keith Richards has had a major impact on culture through his music and his life story is not one to miss. You don't have to love the Rolling Stones to appreciate this book, the stories of coming to America and dealing with drug addiction make for a fascinating narrative in their own right. Richards offers a unique perspective on Mick Jagger the world famous lead singer of the Stones which is not to be missed either. Life will give you a new appreciation for the life of a classic artist like Keith Richards.
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