Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Reading Recommendations

If you're looking for a summer read, here's a couple of recommendations from my pile of spring reading material:

Shadow Divers: Amazing story of the discovery of a WWII U-boat off the eastern coast of the U.S. The fascinating part was that neither the U.S. or German government had any record of the boat in that location. Thus began a multi-year obsession by the two man diving team to identify the sub. As with any discipline that seems simple on the surface, the more you learn, the more you realize just how dangerous deep sea diving really is. A gripping and inspiring read for sure.

Defiance: Great movie, but the book sheds much more light on the complexities of the work of the Bielski brothers to hide 1500 jews in the Belarusian forest during WWII. These were decidedly manly men, giving of themselves in a time when most were taking. The discipline, rigor, sacrifice, and organization required to pull this task off is mind boggling. If that much energy could but consistently put toward improvement, not just survival, our world would be a different place. Definitely worth reading and reflecting upon.

Going Clear: If you watched TV in the 80's, you saw more commercials for "Dianetics" than you ever cared. You also learned that the author is "L. Ron" Hubbard, not "Elron" Hubbard. The book takes a critical look at Scientology, exposing the nasty underbelly of a hyper-controlling cult. Some of the bizarre antics of Tom Cruise leave one wondering what the group is about - this book will leave you wondering why any one in their right mind would ever be involved. Well written, researched, and infused with a personal touch.

Anna Karenina: Classic Tolstoy work. Difficult to ingest in places because of the moral self-destruction of the main character. But a great study in contrasts to see the comparison to Levin, who  many believe was Tolstoy writing himself into the book. Teddy Roosevelt took great delight in this book, consuming it while floating down a partially frozen river in pursuit of boat thieves in South Dakota. However for most people, I recommend reading it on the couch. Note: Pay the extra for the linked hardcover edition. A good translation is an important part of reading Russian literature. This one is good, and the quality of the binding and paper makes the overall reading experience, especially of a longer work, a greater pleasure.

You can always look at my current reads on Shelfari for ideas, and PLEASE share your favorites with me as well. I'm always looking for a good book.

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