I went to the Arc today and bought several books. (It’s hard to beat a price tag of 2.99!) So, in the spirit of Nick Hornby’s column in the Guardian, I thought I would chronicle these books along with the reason I bought each.
Bruce—Peter Ames Carlin: A biography of Bruce Springsteen, bought because he is The Boss.
Going for a Beer and A Night at the Movies or, You Must Remember This—Robert Coover: I got into Coover’s work after reading a book on writing in which he was featured in a chapter. He has written some really great short stories and he also was a founder of the Electronic Literature Organization in 1999 which promotedthe publication of literature in the “new” electronic format.
The Black Death—Philip Ziegler: A book on the plague that swept through Europe in the mid 1300s wiping out one-third of the English population in three years. I have several books on pandemics; from Ebola to the flu. Maybe I will one day want to read about COVID as well.
Roads Less Traveled: Dispatches from the Ends of the Earth—Catherine Watson: Watson was the first travel editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (so the back cover of the book tells me). This book of travel essays I bought on a lark and am hoping her perspective as a native Minnesotan will resonate.
Enduring Love—Ian McEwan: I have most of McEwan’s oevre and have loved all of them.
The Keeper of Lost Causes—Jussi Adler-Olsen: This is a detective story that I picked up because I liked the title. Plus there is a bird cage on the cover. Who doesn’t want to read a book that has a bird cage on the cover. The front cover also tells me that the author won the Glass Key Award, so I am optimistic.
Ojibwe Waasa Inaabida: We Look in All Directions—Thomas Peacock and Marlene Wisuri: I have a large collection of books on the Native Americans of the plains and especially of Minnesota. Fun fact: When I was a youngster and we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, while most of my classmates said astronaut or baseball player, my answer was Crazy Horse.
A Man Called Ove—Fredrik Backman: This has been on my Goodreads “to-read” list for awhile. My sister tells me it is great!
The Trial of Henry Kissinger—Christopher Hitchens: Hitchens is another author I read a lot of. He was a Republican columnist that I truly respected and a brilliant debater. His feud with Gore Vidal is legendary and the shade that they dished was top-notch. I miss really, really smart people arguing the merits of a thing rather than just trying to out-shout each other.
Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah—Tim Footman: A biography of the late, great Leonard Cohen. Poet. Song writer. And a voice that gives you shivers.
The Art Spirit—Robert Henri: This is the writings that lay out the philosophy espoused by Henri on whta it means to be an artist. I feel a kindred spirit to artists, so this sounded good to me.
Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race—Dick Beardsley and Maureen Anderson: In the 1982 Boston Marathon, Beardsley lost by 2 seconds to Alberto Salzar. This book tells that story and the aftermath of Beardsley’s life (farm accident, almost overdosing, addiction) from his point of view. I read Duel in the Sun a year or so ago (about this race) and loved every second. I hope this will be as good.
John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crook’s Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936—Paul Maccabee: I also have several books on crime in Minnesota. Someday I might put together a map that pins locations of interest by culling the info in these books….in all my infinite spare time.