Book Review: The Essential WP Kinsella

WPThe Essential W.P. Kinsella is made up of 27 stories in celebration of the 80th birthday of author W.P. Kinsella. There are several sports stories in the book – from the miracle of Istanbul to the Old Trafford brawl – as well as several others.  W.P. inspired the movie Field of Dreams!

There is a lot of great short works in this book and I enjoyed reading it and enjoyed W.P’s writing style.  I didn’t realize that W.P. had stopped writing for a while – he was struck by a car in 1997 and had brain damage and didn’t end up writing again until 2011!

If you like to read about sports I am sure that you will enjoy this book of works. And there’s some non-sports related stories in there too for everyone else 😉

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This career retrospective celebrates the 80th birthday of baseball’s greatest scribe, W. P. Kinsella (Shoeless Joe), as well as the 25th anniversary of Field of Dreams, the film that he inspired.

In addition to his classic baseball tales, W. P. Kinsella is also a critically-acclaimed short fiction writer. His satiric wit has been celebrated with numerous honors, including the Order of British Columbia.

Here are his notorious First Nation narratives of indigenous Canadians, and a literary homage to J. D. Salinger. Alongside the “real” story of the 1951 Giants and the afterlife of Roberto Clemente, are the legends of a pirated radio station and a hockey game rigged by tribal magic.

Eclectic, dark, and comedic by turns, The Essential W. P. Kinsella is a living tribute to an extraordinary raconteur.

Book Review: Around The World in 50 Years

aroundtheworldAs someone who loves to travel, I was thrilled to get the chance to read Around the World in 50 years. It is about Al who decided to try and visit EVERY country. The book is made up of 30 chapters and chronicles 72 journeys over the course of 50 years.  The stories include adventure, unpredictable animals, a friend named God and some unusual food (dog and monkey brains?).

At first Al wanted to be the first to travel in a longitudinal direction around the world but then decided he would try to visit every country. Which made him ask – just how many countries ARE there?  Plus with the changes in countries through the years he had to do a few “revisits” of sorts.  He is far more dedicated to this traveling than I am – a lot of these countries I wouldn’t want to visit no matter the circumstances.

I particularly liked the story he told about how he bought some Times Square shirts to give away and trade with. People seemed to like them – but some wanted his hat, a Mets hat. He refused to give it up!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible — first by setting a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world — in the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a breakdown atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.

After that — although it took him 47 more years – Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on Earth. He achieved this by surviving riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, robbers, pickpockets, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He went around, under, or through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that Nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and rats to dung beetle and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame attacks by crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs — and several beautiful girlfriends who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.  Albert Podell’s Around the World in 50 Years is a remarkable and meaningful tale of quiet courage, dogged persistence, undying determination, and an uncanny ability to extricate himself from one perilous situation after another — and return with some of the most memorable, frightening, and hilarious adventure stories you have ever read.

Book Review: The List

thelistThe List is about Phoebe. Her boyfriend cheated on her but she still seems to be hung up on him, even though that all happened a year ago.  She decides that she is going to make a new years resolution and stick with it – making a list of 12 things she’d like to do to try and improve her sex life.  At the advice of her therapist she is keeping a diary – and that is what the book is – reading Phoebe’s diary from the year.

Now that there is a list – of 12 things to do and 5 things she would never do, she needs to decide what men to have help her out. First she thinks about her coworker – but he turns out to be a prick and her and her best friend decide he would probably tell the whole office about what happened.  Next up is her friend Paul, but it turns out that he is gay – so he is out. (literally?) The last resort is her best friend of 17 years – Oliver.  Her best friend Lucy worries that this may mess with their friendship but she decides to ask him and he agrees.

In addition to working through the list they are both seeing other people – but of course it seems like each other is becoming jealous when they go out on dates with other people. It seems like the two of them are going to end up together – until Phoebe’s ex turns back up again and she TAKES HIM BACK!

There is another slight twist as well that I didn’t see coming, but maybe I should have.  The book ends after a year of Phoebe trying to change her life – and that she did.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The List is the hilarious debut novel from Scottish comedienne Joanna Bolouri. Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and wine-fueled nights of relationship analysis with her best friend Lucy have done nothing to improve her dating situation.

Faced with another year without love, Phoebe confronts her fears and decides to forgo romantic love altogether. She comes up with THE LIST: ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the courage to try. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right? In a chaotic, embarassing, exhilarating, and ultimately transformational year of self-discovery, Phoebe finds surprises, friendship, confidence, and even love, through good and bad sex.

Book Review: Wicked Women

wickedwomenWicked Women is the story of the Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West.  I’m not sure what it is that draws me to these type of books, but I just love reading about some bad ass ladies from history.  There are 28 ladies featured in this book from “The Deadly Paramour” to “The Hungarian Madam” to “The Outcast’s Friend” and everything in between.

Each chapter starts with the woman’s name, her nickname and then a quote about them. Photos are also included. Each chapter is only about 10 pages so it has to pack a lot of information in on each of the ladies.

One of the stories was about Julia Bulette – who was murdered but the scene was set in such a way that it looked like she was sleeping. No one was sure who had killed her, until a woman who had bought some silk that may have been stolen from Julia turned up.  After checking with who sold Julia the silk they identified it as hers and Mrs Cazentre who now was in ownership of the silk was able to ID the guy who had sold it to her. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged. So many people showed up to watch it was hard for them to get the carriage down the street!

It seemed like a lot of these ladies got wrapped up in gambling in the old west.

A lot of fascinating stories from the old west!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This collection of short, action-filled stories of the Old West’s most egregiously badly behaved female outlaws, gamblers, soiled doves, and other wicked women by award-winning Western history author Chris Enss offers a glimpse into Western Women’s experience that’s less sunbonnets and more six-shooters. During the late nineteenth century, while men were settling the new frontier and rushing off to the latest boom towns, women of easy virtue found wicked lives west of the Mississippi when they followed fortune hunters seeking gold and land in an unsettled territory. Prostitutes and female gamblers hoped to capitalize on the vices of the intrepid pioneers. Pulling together stories of ladies caught in the acts of mayhem, distraction, murder, and highway robbery, it will include famous names like Belle Starr and Big Nose Kate, as well as lesser known characters.

Chris Enss is an author, scriptwriter and comedienne who has written for television and film, and performed on cruise ships and on stage. She has worked with award-winning musicians, writers, directors, producers, and as a screenwriter for Tricor Entertainment, but her passion is for telling the stories of the men and women who shaped the history and mythology of the American West. Some of the most famous names in history, not to mention film and popular culture, populate her books. She’s written or co-written more than two dozen books for TwoDot. She lives in Grass Valley, California.

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