A list of books I've read this year.
Gumballs by Karen Jonas
Karen is the best Americana songwriter that you've never heard of. I bought her book of poems for my wife for Christmas, and since it was sitting there on the coffee table...
It's not poetry in the rhyme and meter sense, it's really a collection of very, very short stories spanning her life from teenage years through marriage and divorce and raising kids and making a living as a musician. I read them all in one sitting. That's part commentary on the fact that are short poems, and part commentary that they are damn good.
Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks by Mark Woods
Journalist Mark Woods gets a grant to visit 12 National Parks over a year to write about the future of the National Park system. Life throws in a curve ball as his mother gets a terminal cancer diagnosis early in the year. Part travelogue, part reflection on family, part essay on the past and future of the NPS, this was a really enjoyable book to read, especially in January when my camper is in winter storage.
Twisted Business: Lessons from My Life in Rock 'n Roll by Jay Jay French
This book was not what I was expecting. It's really a business or personal improvement book, wrapped around an auto-biography and the history of Twisted Sister. However, instead of platitudes from an MBA we get business lessons from a former drug dealer turned heavy metal guitarist turned band owner and apparently these days, motivational speaker. The business advice is all pretty standard stuff, just told in a really unique way and built on the acronym TWISTED.
Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams by Robert Peterson
I've tried to read a couple of histories of black professional baseball and they were dry and hard to stay interested in. That is not the case with this book. The author does a fabulous job of making the book an interrelated collection of stories about players and teams. I completed the book with a much better understanding of black professional baseball and how it fits into the pantheon of baseball history. And I was entertained while reading, a real win-win.