As an addicted reader and an English teacher, people always ask me about my favorite books. Or they want me to just pick one. That’s impossible. There’s a difference between one’s last meal, and a good meal. I have no plans for getting ready for my last anything any time soon. It’s the same for me with books. At a certain time and a certain place, these books affected me in a very good way.
Also, since I’ve started to review books, many people have asked me about other books I’ve read, not just current ones that are coming out this year. Hopefully, these posts will give you some reading recommendations of ‘older’ books, and give you a little more insight into me.
I’ve created a long list, and I will continue to write these posts until I’ve exhausted it.
Here’s Part 1
The Force by Don Winslow:
This is one of the books I’ve been recommending a lot lately. Denny Malone is a larger-than-life police detective who leads a task force that takes on the worst of the gangs, drugs, and guns in NYC. After almost twenty years as a cop, he sees himself as an expert in all things criminal in the city, and that kind of brass (and the bribes he takes) is what may get him in trouble. His task force justifies all its malfeaseance with complaints of low salary and dues paid, and they think they should get what is rightly theirs. IA starts sniffing around and Malone’s team gets nervous. How far will they go to cover up their crimes? Winslow’s writing is as intense as it is darkly comical. It’s a searing look at law enforcement, the city of New York, and deep greed. I highly recommend this one, especially for fans of crime/ police shows like The Wire or True Detective.
Jade City by Fonda Lee:
Jade City blew me away. If you are into fantasy, this is a must read. I’ve seen it described as The Godfather meets Crouching Tiger/ Hidden Dragon, and I don’t see that as too far off. In a modern Far-East setting, jade has the ability to give certain jade-sensitive people tremendous physical powers. These people are identified, trained and then help the clans keep their stake in the Kekon’s legitimate and illegitimate business transactions. In Jade City, the daughter of one of the most powerful families in the city returns home to find her clan getting pulled into a street war. She tries her best to stay out of the family business, but a series of events puts her right in the thick of it. I’m very excited to get my hands on Lee’s second book in this trilogy when it comes out.
The Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen:
I think this is the best noir series out there. I recommend these books to anyone looking for some deftly written crime fiction. Carl Mørk was a decorated detective in the Copenhagen Police Department, but one mistake has relegated him to the basement to head investigations the cold cases. With tortured protagonist and some fun sidekicks, each novel is a good puzzle. They also progress Mørk’s underlying story just enough to keep you coming back. The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in, as of now, a seven book series. Also for those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.
Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy:
Beth Macy is a wonderful writer, and her look at Bassett Furniture’s fight to keep their manufacturing in the US is a prime example. Factory Man is a look at what international competition can do to an American industry, but how adaptation and grit can change a business and make it thrive. She looks at the history of the town of Bassett, the economics of the furniture business, and introduces the reader to some very colorful characters. I recommend this one to anyone who wants to read an engaging and insightful book about modern globalization and how it is affecting our American industries. At one time it was rumored that Tom Hanks was interested in a project based on this book. I hope that film or mini-series gets the green light.
I’m very excited to have just gotten an ARC of her new book about the opioid crisis, Dopesick.
The Game from Where I Stand: From Batting Practice to the Clubhouse to the Best Breakfast on the Road, an Inside View of a Ballplayer’s Life by Doug Glanville:
The Game from Where I Stand is an autobiographical look at America’s pastime. Glanville is a smart and witty writer, who has a lot of good takes on the modern game. He writes about learning the game when he was young, and living the game as a MLB player. The book is filled with lots of self-deprecating humor, and good stories about the biggest stars of the late 90s. Glanville frequently writes columns for the NY Times, is currently a broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs, and has taught several communications classes at Penn. One of the best books I’ve read about the game in the last ten years. A great read for any baseball fan.
The Further Adventures of Batman, and The Further Adventures of The Joker. Both edited by Martin H Greenberg:
These two books feature over a dozen Batman and Joker short stories each. Several by some very good writers in the scifi industry. I really liked these books when I read them almost thirty years ago, and I think they hold up. I even remember the soundtrack of the books. For some reason, I listened to first Led Zeppelin album over and over while reading these books. I blame hormones. These stories vary much in presentation and point of view. Some are dark and weighty, while others can be light and fun. The books are out of print, but not hard to find. I don’t think they’re on ebook, but you can find copies pretty easily on used book sites. I recommend them to anyone who has seen the films, or has enjoyed the comic books over the years.
1. Loved the Greenberg Further Adventures books back when they first came out (shortly after Keaton’s first flick, right?). Should probably re-read them, bet most of the stories hold up.
2. Thanks for this plug for Jade City, I recently won a copy and wasn’t that sure I wanted to read it. This helps.
1. Came out in ‘89. Prime middle school years for me!
2. It’s definitely one of my favorites from last year.