Great Books! Great Books! Everywhere I look–reading table, night table, office, I’m surrounded by GREAT BOOKS! Which makes this month’s column, especially exciting to write.
First, a book I’m surprised I liked.
“You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You” by Robert J. Randisi.
( Minotaur Books $25.99, 278 pages. Hard cover.)
Ever in the mood for a book that could be described as “an easy read” or a “delightful bit of fluff?” And no I don’t meana classic issue of Mad Magazine or those new comic books. You know the ones they call “Graphic Novels” and that cost just slightly more than the available limit on your post-holiday credit card?
What I mean is a book that is like watching the “old” Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Relaxing. Funny. Don’t have to think too much.
When that mood strikes, I grab the adult beverage of choice, currently decaf diet Coke, and something by Stuart Woods or Robert Parker.
Yesterday I grabbed “You’re Nobody” which is part of the “A Rat Pack Mystery” series.
What a delightful discovery.
Our hero, Eddie G., a pit boss at the Sand Casino in Vegas, helps out his friends. And who might those friends be you ask? Frank (whatta you mean you young whipperdude Frank who?! Why I oughta – SINATRA, SINATRA, SINATRA THAT’S FRANK WHO!) Marilyn (Oh Jeez, not again – whatta ya mean Marilyn who? Holy Moses – and don’t start on me with Moses who!), Dean “Dino” Martin, and maybe even a visit from JFK! Hey Whipperdude, you do know who JFK is – don’t you?!
“You’re Nobody” is everything you could ask for in a fun read. Perfect for those nights when you wish Leno was still sitting in The Tonight Show chair.
Now a great basketball book for fans of professional basketball.
“The Book Of Basketball” by Bill Simmons. (Ballantine Books $30, 715 pages. Hard cover.)
This is a direct quote from the book’s inside cover. Normally, I never quote those PR puff pieces, but in this case, I couldn’t write it better.
“There is only one writer on the planet who possesses enough basketball knowledge and passion to write the definitive book on the NBA. Bill Simmons, the from-the-womb-hoops addict known to millions as ESPN.com’s Sports Guy, is that writer.”
This dude (yeah, he’s a dude, and I say that cause his footnotes make references to popular culture stuff that real, manly men — yeah that’s code for old guys like me — likely won’t get – references to Kurt Cobain and something called –the Smashing Pumpkins?)
But wait, others are hilarious.
Writing that the mid-1980’s Houston Rockets could have been the team of the decade but that the Laker’s won, largely because of the Houstonteam’s drug issues, Simmons footnote says “Personally, I think the Lakers should retire the number of Houston’s coke dealer.”
Packed with knowledgeable and historical insights. Full of statistics and hilarious footnotes (two words I thought I’d never see together) this book will entertain an NBA fan for weeks.
Moving on to a grit-lit debut thriller that I wish I’d written.
“Final Target” by Steven Gore. (Harper Collins $9.99, 494 pages. Soft cover.)
Grit-Lit loves books that get right to it.
“More surprising than spinning out of control, than smashing through the railing, than tumbling trunk-over-hood down the hillside; more surprising even than the sheet metal buckling around her, was that she was dying in English. The woman tried to die in Russian, then in Ukrainian, but the words had forsaken her.”
And it gets better.
“Come on buddy, don’t die on me. Don’t you dare die on me.”
“The rain-slickered EMT pressed hard on the side-by-side bullet holes in the fifty-year-old jogger’s
sternum while a paramedic slipped an oxygen mask over the man’s nose and mouth. The runner was splayed out on a predawn sidewalk fronting ten-million-dollar mansions in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights.”
And in the immortal words of the Energizer Bunny, “It just keeps going and going.”