Books I read in 2013

03Jan14

I like to read. Reading takes me places I’ve never been and will never go – into the past and into the future. Each year, I set a goal of reading 20 books. I’m not a fast reader, but I am relentless. I always have a book (or digital book on my iPad or iPhone) with me.

2013 was a frustrating year for reading. It took me from August to December to read The Forgotten 500 mainly because I was going to school and had two text books to read in that period.

But, for the fourth consecutive year, I reached my goal. As I look over my list of books, I have to say, I read a lot of good books this past year. Here’s my take on them:

The Education of a Coach – Outstanding book about Bill Belichick and his father.

British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution – This book was written by a friend of mine from high school and college. I’ve always had an interest in history, but truth be told, I wanted to read it because I knew the author. What a good decision on my part. It is an excellent book about a the British army from the Revolutionary War. Interesting from page one.

Francona: The Red Sox Years – Francona got screwed here in Boston – not that he was entirely blame-free for what happened in 2011, and this is his take on his years in Boston. It’s a must-read for Red Sox fans.Image

The Lost World – This was Jurassic Park 30 years before Michael Crichton was born. It holds up really well despite being written in 1912. An enjoyable read.

The Truth About Cruise Ships – A Cruise Ship Officer Survives the Work, Adventure, Alcohol, and Sex of Ship Life – Guess what? There’s a lot of sex and drinking below decks on a cruise ship. It was okay.

The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World – I can not get my head around particle physics. It makes no sense to me. I read this book but understood little. Give me points for trying to understand.

Under the Dome: A Novel – This is a really fun novel. Don’t confuse it with that crappy mini-series on TV. This is a 1,000 page, page-turner.

A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue – I’ve read all of the author’s sea disaster stories and have loved each of them. He does a great job in this book.

Duel – Richard Matheson’s novella that Steven Spielberg’s movie was based on. Why doesn’t this writer get more recognition?

Breaking Ships – I searched for a copy of this book for about six years before finding one. It’s outstanding. It’s a description of the ship breaking yards in Bangladesh. Men literally rip ships apart with blow torches and hand tools. It’s dangerous work and for many in this Imagepoverty-stricken country, it’s the only work. Fascinating and horrifying.

Resurrection: Salvaging the Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor – An amazing accomplishment that is completely ignored in the history books.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – I have to say, I didn’t enjoy the author’s first book, The Zombie Survival Guide. But, this was very good. The movie is based on the book, but as always, the book is better. I liked the structure, it works in a surprisingly effective way.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Probably the best World War II book I’ve ever read.

How To Talk So Kids Can Learn – Yawwwwwn.

Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections – So so.

Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World – Very interesting book about prehistory in North America. More of a coffee table book but I like pictures.

The Great Gatsby – I read this after seeing the latest movie and my only question is to the writer/director/producer of the movie: “How on Earth do you have the stones to edit F. Scott Fitzgerald?”  They changed the ending of the story! This is a wonderful book and it’s one I should have been made to read in high school. (This fulfills my requirement to read one classic each year)

Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village – A German POW camp in New Hampshire? I knew it had existed but that was the extent of my knowledge. This book is the story of the camp, the prisoners, the guards and the townspeople. A nice little book about a forgotten part of our history.

Foundations of American Education: Becoming Effective Teachers in Challenging Times – Text book…ugh.

Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools – Text book…double ugh.

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II – Despite taking four months to read this, it’s a very good book about a chapter of World War II history I had never heard of. Well worth your time.

Nora Waite – This novel was written my by teaching partner. Long ago, I had heard of National Novel Writing Month and was interested in participating but the prospect of writing 50,000 words in 30 days was overwhelming. This is her NaNoWriMo novel and it’s a Imagemagnificent accomplishment. Nora Waite is not something I would have picked off the shelf to read but it’s nice to expand one’s horizons. It probably has more appeal for female readers but It’s very good. I enjoyed it.

The War of the Worlds – This is not the first time I have read this, but I assigned it as an extra credit project in school, so I figured I’d refresh my memory. I’m amazed how well it holds up considering it was written before the fly swatter, tea bag, airplane and rocket, were invented. In fact, the bicycle was a new enough invention that H.G. Wells features it prominently in the story. An excellent book that has spawned the famous Orson Wells radio broadcast and two movies.

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