Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Archive for January, 2011

Best Books of 2010 (part II)

Posted by flyingbk on 01/19/2011

First, a link: This blog post is one of the better reactions I read to the tragedy in Tucson.

Well I’ve been quite busy of late with ministry happenings (i.e. speaking at a retreat back in New Jersey), but that’s no excuse for my utter lack of blogging. So let me begin to finish my Best Books series with Part II, as I count down books 10 through 6:

#10: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

After reading this book, I can finally say that I more fully understand what the heck went down during the subprime mortgage crisis. I devoured this book in two days thanks to Lewis’ otherworldly storytelling abilities. He tells the story from the perspective of the few who saw the collapse coming, and actually made a killing by betting against the market. I highly recommend this book if you’re someone like me who couldn’t quite grasp why our country spiraled into such an economic panic a couple years ago.

#9: Hellhound On His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides

I absolutely love historical nonfiction narratives; they are easily my favorite genre. It takes special skill to tell a tale in which everyone already knows the ending: King is tragically assassinated, and his killer James Earl Ray is eventually apprehended. And Sides shows that he has the chops as he keeps the reader on the edge of his seat throughout the book. In the wake of the recent shooting in Arizona, this book reminds us how scary it is that weapons to kill are so easily accessible in our country. Ray uses a hunting rifle to take down King, and he comes oh-so-close to escaping for good to Africa. I need to read more of Sides’ stuff.

#8: Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann

I already reviewed this book, but I just want to state what a pleasure it is to read a book that covers one of my favorite subjects in such absorbing, heart-rending detail. If you’re a basketball fan, and you don’t really like to read, try this book out and tell me that you’re not drawn in within the first 30-50 pages. Also, Dohrmann has a blog in which he posts updates on the players in his book; you can be sure that I will be keeping tabs on the careers of the ballers featured.

#7: Columbine by Dave Cullen

Confession: I have a dark side. I’m saddened yet also fascinated by mass murderers, esp. those who engage in indiscriminate sprees like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and Seung-Hui Cho. I wonder what makes them tick, and why they do what they do. Cullen does a great job setting the record straight about what took place at Columbine as he delves into the psyches of Harris and Klebold, and tells of various components of a community that tries to heal. There are various anecdotes that stuck out to me, but here’s just one example: Pastor Don Marxhausen was forced out from his church because he spent a lot of time comforting the Tom and Sue Klebold, Dylan’s parents. Many in his church would not stand for it. He “had been one of the most revered ministers in the Denver area, but now he could not find a job.”

#6: Decision Points by George W. Bush

Yes, I’m a Republican, and I have no problem admitting that I greatly admire President Bush. Was he perfect? No. Did he misspeak at times? Sure. Did he make mistakes? Yes, and he’s not afraid to admit them in this book. But what I also see is a man who governed out of his convictions (and not out of popular opinion like his predecessor), and worked his butt off to serve and protect our country. I see a man who despite being the most powerful man in America, carried himself with dignity and did not take himself too seriously (an extremely important quality considering how shamelessly demonized he was by the Left; there are a ton of naive Americans who to this day think Bush was the worst president ever simply because they bought whatever the Left peddled.) Each chapter in this book revolved around a decision he made, and Bush does well to explain his thinking. It’s a refreshing, balanced memoir that I greatly enjoyed.

If you notice, there are no fiction books in this post. I generally read many more nonfiction books, but there actually are two fictional works that make my top five. Stay tuned!

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