Monday, October 17, 2011

Best of the Month - August, September, October

In a new feature on this blog, I will now be writing about my Best Books of the Month each and every month...except June / November where the Best Books of the Year (Thus Far / Overall) will be covered. Since I am way behind, this post will cover the months of August, September and October.

1) Loose Balls by Terry Pluto - An oral history about the ABA, Pluto expertly tells the tale of the doomed professional basketball league through the eyes of its owners, players, coaches and broadcasters. Along the way the legends of various characters (like Marvin Barnes and Connie Hawkins) are told for the first time. Why is this book so great? It is absolutely hilarious. My favorite anecdote ever: Marvin "Bad News" Barnes is told he has to be on an 8am flight that lands (due to time change) at 7:59am. His quote: "I ain't flying on no time machine. I ain't taking no plane that goes back in time."

2) Saturday Night by Doug Hill / Jeffery Weingard - Saturday Night was a groundbreaking television show that redefined late night. This is the best book on the formation and first ten years, complete with: drug addiction, fame, Jim Belushi, backstabbing and the up and downs of working on a network television show.

3) Net Worth by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths - Probably the second best hockey book ever, Net Worth is a damning expose of the forces who have run the NHL since its inception. I have never been as angry reading a book as I have this one. The portraits of players are so startlingly vivid that the legends of the past jump off the pages.


1) The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo - The Scandanavian's twisty thrillers featuring embattled Detective Harry Hole are "read them in one day" good. The Redeemer is the best one I have read thus far. Expertly weaving a brutal attack in the past with current events, Nesbo's skillfully plotted novel demands reading in one sitting. Attempting to put this book down will result in quickly returning to the labrinth-like plot where the twists do not stop until the final sentence.

2) A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George RR Martin - A quick tangent about this one: during the summer, my brother tore through the HBO television series: A Game of Thrones and then went on to tear through the books. Along the way he got my Mom hooked. I was reluctant to follow them down the rabbit hole (and several thousand pages) but wondered about a series that could grip both of them so completely. During a trip to Portland my brother was finishing the third book and shouting things like "What the..." as he read. I started reading right after that. I have never had such a visceral reaction to a series of books as I did to these. The first, second and third are stunning works of fiction. The intricate world Martin has created is staggeringly complex and deep...and literally anything can happen. He has no hesitation about killing characters or completely redefining them for the reader. When I was recently reading them on vacation I counted twenty people reading the third novel - A Storm of Swords - around the pool and on the plane. If you dare to begin these books, prepare yourself to get sucked into a medievil world for a few months.

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