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Wednesday, 27 November 2019 11:15

The year in books: 2019’s recommended reads

It has been yet another fantastic year for the written word, with many tremendous literary offerings hitting shelves in 2019.

Reviewing books is one of the best parts of my job. As part of that job, I’ve read dozens of books over the course of the past year. I freely admit that I tend to seek out works that I know will resonate for me – and hence usually enjoy the books I review – but even with that degree of curation, there’s no denying that there are always some that particularly stand out.

This is not your traditional “best of” list – that’s not my style. Instead, consider this a collection of recommendations. These are suggestions; I enjoyed them, so I thought that you might as well. I’ve also included selections from my writings about these books (please note that the full reviews are available eslewhere on our website). Bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list. I’m just one man – there are scores more books out there, exceptional works that I simply never got a chance to read.

So are these the best books of 2019? I don’t know – it’s all subjective. What I can say is that every one of these works captured my imagination and my attention … and perhaps one or more of them will do the same for you.

Here are my recommended reads from 2019.

Published in Cover Story

“The secret of showmanship consists not of what you really do, but what the mystery-loving public thinks you do.” – Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini.

It’s a name that even now, almost a century after his death, remains familiar to the vast majority of Americans. A cultural sensation during the early part of the 20th century, Houdini captured the popular imagination in a way that few ever have or ever will.

Magician. Escape artist. Skeptic. Houdini was all these things, but those things were far from all that was Houdini. What is it about this man, this self-made myth, that continues to resonate with people to this very day?

This is the question that Joe Posnanski tackles with his new book “The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini” (Avid Reader Press, $28). It’s a look at the man himself, yes, but it is also a look at the people who have been influenced by their passion for Houdini. It’s a biography that examines its subject both directly and indirectly, and while the details of Houdini’s life are fascinating in and of themselves, they are rendered all the more fascinating when juxtaposed against some of the many people who have had their lives changed by their own Houdini-related journeys.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:38

Rubbing elbows with the greats

I recently had the good fortune to attend the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association awards ceremony in Salisbury, North Carolina. Winners from each state and their spouses converged on the southland, along with national honorees Dan Shulman of ESPN and former 'Sports Illustrated' writer Joe Posnanski and Hall of Fame inductees Bob Costas and John Feinstein. The four-day affair included a round-table discussion or two, a seminar, and a seemingly endless supply of food. For us small-town guys, it's an opportunity to not only rub elbows with the big names, but to meet up with peers from around the country, swap stories and share a lot of laughs.

A good deal of time was spent with New England colleagues Joe D'Ambrosio, who has broadcast UConn games for decades, and Jim Jeanotte, who will be inducted into the University of New Hampshire's Hall of Fame this coming Saturday. I also got to talk about northeast baseball's return to the College World Series with The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy. It was fun to connect with Bill Roth, the voice of Virginia Tech, whom I hadn't seen since my last trip to the awards weekend, and make new friends like Gene Deckerhoff, the legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State broadcaster, Pete Weber of the Nashville Predators, the Philadelphia Flyers' Jim Jackson, and Lyn Rollins of LSU. There's a level of camaraderie among play-by-play guys that's always enjoyable, as we share preferences about spotter sheets (the chart of staring players and substitutes) and horror stories about the worst press boxes we've encountered.

Published in The Sports Edge

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