Alex tries to read everything and flat-out fails. He still plugs away though (valiantly or stupidly -- your call), and especially loves books on natural history, animals, music, history, memoirs/biographies, and the science and philosophy of consciousness.
Herriott's book, the first of many subsequent ones in which he chronicled his experiences as a young veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales, isn't just deeply pleasurable and rewarding as a feel-good read amid a manifestly feel-bad world. He happens to also write English prose quite beautifully. How did a man trained as a doctor of veterinary medicine acquit himself as such a masterful, natural writer? This marvelous book is a complete delight on every page, with descriptions of Yorkshire's landscapes, weather, farmers, and animals that take the breath away with their spare, perfect elegance. --Alex
Karl Marlantes, a Yale graduate and former Rhodes Scholar who left academia to serve as a Marine Corps officer in the Vietnam War, spent decades working on his book, then faced multiple rejections in trying to get it published. Kudos to the people at Grove Press for having the sense and good taste to finally release it when so many others wouldn't.
Marlantes used his first-hand experience of war to inform this relentlessly powerful, visceral novel, which in my opinion should hold first place in the body of Vietnam War fiction. No one can understand and feel what combat veterans do. Matterhorn takes one as close to that terrible knowledge as any book possibly can. A contemporary masterpiece. --Alex
Charlie Daniels's politics and worldview aren't exactly mine, but so what. I've loved this man's music since I was sixteen years old, when I saw the Charlie Daniels Band open for the Marshall Tucker Band. His memoir unloads a trove of stories and anecdotes detailing his long lifetime in music. A couple of the legends Mr. Daniels has worked with: Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan. (That's only two among many.)
Charlie's funny, smart, immensely likeable, and there's not a mean-spirited sentence in his book. He writes well, too. Fans of the CDB need to get on this wonderful autobiography; this fan loved it. --Alex