Hot summer days and steamy summer nights require a large glass of iced tea, or a beer right out of the cooler with bits of ice running down the glass bottle, a comfortable chair or hammock in the shade, the sounds of the ocean lapping at the shore, and of course, a good book. Put a well played baseball game on the radio, and you have heaven. Or something close to it.
Books we recommend:
1) "Whitey Bulger, America's most wanted gangster, and the manhunt that brought him to justice. "
Bulger is much in the news these days as he grumbles and curses his way through his federal trial in Boston. Bulger has become for crime authors, a mini-industry, with volumes of work written by former associates, crime reporters, and wannabes of both genres. But the definitive work on Bulger was done by Kevin Cullen and Shelly Murphy, two Boston Globe reporters (Bulger hates the Globe, as you will see, he once attacked the building twice in two nights, shooting it up with glee over the Globe's support for mandatory school busing in 1974.) You can't really understand Bulger, his pal- disgraced FBI agent John Connelly- convicted in our own REGIB for a hit on a witness- and their story without understanding "The Town"- as the locals call Southie Boston. The book is as much a fascinating history of Southie and the internecine fighting between the Italian Mafia, the various Irish gangs vying for power, the Boston Police, and the feds, as it is a history of James "Whitey" Bulger. This is a page turner that will have you dropping your "r"s in no time.
2) "A Blaze of Glory" and "A Chain of Thunder" by Jeff Shaara. Longtime and careful readers of the blog know that we are experts in, inter alia, the Civil War. But don't even think of reading this book until you have read Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels" the Pulitzer prize winning novel of the four days of Gettysburg. Killer Angels is perhaps the best historical war novel ever written; it is certainly the best Civil War novel. Michael Sharra's is Jeff Shaara's father, and he died way too soon. But his son has done a fine job carrying on the tradition, and once you read Killer Angels, you can work your way through "A Blaze of Glory" ( about the battle of Shiloh) and "A Chain of Thunder" (about the siege of Vicksburg).
3) "The Bookman's Tale- a Novel of obsession" by Charlie Lovett. If you love books, are interested in Victorian England, obsession, love, and mystery, then the story of a young bookseller who retires to the English countryside after the untimely death of his wife is for you. After purchasing an 18th century book about Shakespeare forgeries, a watercolor of his wife- impossibly of his wife-comes tumbling out from between the pages, and the mystery is on.
4) "The Yard" and "The Black Country" by Alex Grecian. The Yard is the first of Grecian's Scotland Yard Murder Squad mysteries. The Black Country is the second in the series. If you love England, and murder mysteries like we do, then you can't go wrong with these two books.
5) "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene. A dense and at times thrilling explanation of the universe, and the physics and mathematics that explain it. For us, the challenge was reading it in German: "Das Elegante Universum", but only if you're really in need of a challenge.
So there you have it. Load up your beach bag, or fill up your Kindle, find a shady area and a comfy chair and plop down with a cooler of your favourite beverage, and enjoy your summer.
See You In Court.
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