Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let the Voting Begin!

Gentlemen,

I like Myles' suggestion of voting like the AP coaches do. We vote for each persons choices at a time. So for Aaron, since he nominated 5 books, my top choice of his would get 5 points, my second pick would get 4 points, and so on down to 1 point. I say we post all our votes as a comment on each persons list of options. Then once everyone's voted we'll read the winner from each group of nominees. Sound good?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Aaron's Favorites

No "man" can go wrong with these choices:

1. To Hell and Back - Audie Murphy (WWII hero) writes about his real experiences during WWII

2. Band of Brothers - Stephen Ambrose writes about the 101st Airborne during WWII

3. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseni writes about his experiences in Afganistan

4. The Screwtape Letters OR The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis

5. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns

Justin's Picks

1. Bleak House. Charles Dickens.
2. Crime And Punishment. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
3. Major Barbara. Bernard shaw. I know this is a play but it is worth a serious read and discussion. It is very relevant to our day.
4. The Varieties of Religious Experience. William James

Joe's Five

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Christopher McDougall

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

Outliers: The story of success

Malcolm Gladwell

Why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

The Happy Isles of Oceania

Paul Theroux

Despite the euphoric title, Oceania as Theroux experienced it was only occasionally a carefree paradise. In the Trobriand Islands, celebrated by anthropologists for their supposed sexual freedom, the novelist and travel writer found prostitution and fear of rape. Samoa struck him as noisy, vandalized, with American-style conspicuous consumption. The intrepid Theroux discussed world politics with the king of Tonga, encountered class consciousness in Honolulu, mingled with street gangs in Auckland, and lived in a bamboo hut in Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), where he investigated a cargo cult and rumors of cannibalism. In Australia he braved the Woop Woop (remote outback) to camp with Aborigines. This exhilarating epic ranks with Theroux's best travel books. It is full of disarming observations, high adventure and memorable characters rendered with keen irony.

The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This brilliant work by one of Russia's foremost novelists teems with greed, passion, depravity, and complex moral issues. Three brothers, involved in the brutal murder of their despicable father, find their lives irrevocably altered as they are driven by intense, uncontrollable emotions of rage and revenge.

The Great Brain series

I read these books as a kid and would love to read them all again.

Brandon's Nominees

1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau "Originally published in 1854, Walden, or Life in the Woods, is a vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. It is one of the most influential and compelling books in American literature."

2. The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle "The Valley of Fear is one of Sherlock Holmes' most exciting adventures. Set before his defeat of Moriarty in "The Final Problem," the excitement begins when "Porlock," the weak link in the villainous chain of Moriarty's empire, sends Holmes a coded message. Just minutes after Holmes decodes the cipher and announces that "Douglas" at "Birlstone" is in grave peril, a Scotland Yard inspector arrives with the news that "Mr. Douglas of Birlstone Manor was horribly murdered last night." Holmes heads for Birlstone at once, where his brilliant deductions lead him in an unexpected direction. While Holmes' precise logic swiftly uncovers the truth, he is not yet prepared to combat the sophisticated system of evil that envelopes Moriarty's world. (BOMC)"

3. At The Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald "A Victorian fairy tale that has enchanted readers for more than a hundred years: the magical story of Diamond, the son of a poor coachman, who is swept away by the North Wind–a radiant, maternal spirit with long, flowing hair–and whose life is transformed by a brief glimpse of the beautiful country “at the back of the north wind.” It combines a Dickensian regard for the working class of mid-19th-century England with the invention of an ethereal landscape, written by George MacDonald, a major influence in the work of C.S. Lewis."

4. The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey "The Haunted Looking Glass is the late Edward Gorey’s selection of his favorite tales of ghosts, ghouls, and grisly goings-on. It compiles stories by a number of masters of the art of making the flesh crawl including Charles Dickens, M. R. James, and Bram Stoker. This volume provides an introduction to the best of their lesser-known works, accompanied by Gorey’s inimitable illustrations. His meticulously executed line drawings and quirky and often morbid sense of humor have made his works instantly recognizable and widely loved. The Haunted Looking Glass is a spine-tingling tribute to the master of the macabre. “A brilliant draftsman, Mr. Gorey has raised the crosshatch, a timeworn 19th century mannerism, into a timeless visual language ... [His works] tickle the funny bone as they raise hair on the back of the neck.” — The New York Times

5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin "The Left Hand of Darkness is science fiction for the thinking reader, & should be read attentively in order to properly savor the depth of insight & the subtleties of plot & character. It is one of those pleasures that requires a little investment at the beginning, but pays back tenfold with the joy of raw imagination that resonates through the subsequent 30 years of science fiction storytelling. Not only is the bookshelf incomplete without owning it, so is the reader without having read it.--L. Blunt Jackson "

6. Porter Rockwell: A Biogragphy by Richard Dewey "Read the true story of Brigham Young's bodyguard - a man history (and Hollywood) has completely overlooked - the only man to kill more outlaws than Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Tom Horn, and Batt masterson . . . combined. A man who believed from a blessing he received from Joseph Smith that if he never cut his hair he could never die in a fight. Richard Lloyd Dewey quotes hundreds of original sources - journals, letters, and court records - some from sources never before tapped - and weaves them all together in fascinating form. As the definitive work on him, this fascinating, epic biography is as exciting to read as a first-rate novel."

Myles' Suggestions

Common Sense Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings by Thomas Paine

Product DetailsChange We Can Believe In by Barack Obama (or any of his three books.)

Product DetailsEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card

Dean's Picks

1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, www.wilkie-collins.info

2. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, www.hatrack.com/osc/books/enchantment.shtml

3. The Power of Myth by Joseph Cambell, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_Myth

4. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, www.bartleby.com/201/1.html

5. Oil! by Upton Sinclair, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil!

6. The Private Memoirs of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Memoirs_and_Confessions_of_a_Justified_Sinner