“American Story” Book Review

“American Story” Book Review

Although my thirst for books is fairly unquenchable, the years have seen a definite alteration in the format.  What began in infancy as strictly a page-turning habit (Thank You, Mother and Daddy!) graduated later to CDs and then Kindle versions and now even audio files that fit easily onto my cell phone and read to me from the comfort of my shirt pocket as I wash dishes in the kitchen, or (more likely) crochet an afghan while in my rocking chair.  My book addiction can be fed at practically any place or time now.  And since we’re coming up on Thanksgiving, I’ll mention again how absolutely grateful I am for public libraries!

One of the most recent audiobooks I checked out was by a TV journalist named Bob Dotson.  Titled American Story:  A Lifetime Search For Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things.   There weren’t many plot twists or big mysteries, but this book was fascinating.  Mr. Dotson–a native of Missouri, and a graduate of KU–has made a career of traveling around and interviewing folks, then broadcasting their true tales on his TV segments on NBC.  Being a bigger reader than I am a TV watcher, I haven’t seen those shows, but now I kinda wish I had.  This guy can really tell a story, and he can condense down the essence of a person as well as Campbell’s does soup.  Bob doesn’t bother with the sensationalist, expose type garbage that seems to clog the airtime of so many features.  Instead, he chooses to shine his spotlight on Real Folks.  Decent, quiet-living people who just happen to be special in some way.

This book is a collection of many of those stories, written from a selection of those interviews he conducted over the years.  My library offered the audiobook as an MP3 file, and it was read by Bob Dotson himself, meaning his own particular inflections and impressions come through all the truer.  And while there are many books I like, this is one I feel comfortable recommending to almost everyone.  It will give you a warm fuzzy feeling, and a renewed faith in people, or as Bob himself put it:  “A geography of hope.”

Well done, Bob Dotson.  Well done.

Book to Read:  “A Higher Call”

Book to Read: “A Higher Call”

Years of experience teach us to keep indexes:  usually alphabetical lists of things for future reference.  Telephone and address books; business cards of good plumbers, electricians, carpenters; contact information for people we can call on for help when we truly need it.

Likewise, if you’re an avid reader, you generally know who, among your friends and relatives, to ask for ideas about what to read next. My family has several of these.  A few years ago I discovered that my Uncle David’s taste in books is somewhat similar to my own, so now when we visit (usually by phone, from across the country), I always ask what he’s been reading lately. When I saw him at New Years, this was his answer:  A Higher Call by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander.  A true story, centered around the World War II experiences of two pilots–one American, one German–this book engaged my sympathies , enhanced my education, and held my interest from beginning to end.  It also inspires me to learn more about the era, and about those who lived through it.

If you’d like to see more, here’s the website of the author:   http://www.valorstudios.com/a-higher-call-book.htm

Please note, this is not a sponsored plug; I’m not receiving any compensation if you click the link or buy this book or any others from the site.  Your local library might have it, or numerous other sources.  It’s just a book I appreciated, have already passed to someone else, and felt it worth a mention.

What’s your latest good read?

Cover Up?

Cover Up?

I confess:  I have an addiction.  No need to ask if it was caused by Nature or Nurture; the answer would be “both”.  Yes, like my parents and siblings, I am severely and constantly in dire need of BOOKS!  During a short-but-sweet weekend visit with my parents, we talked (as always) about what we’ve each been reading lately.  And in addition to the titles and subjects and plots evolved a comparative discussion of dust covers, also called dust jackets or book jackets.

Apparently the earlier forms of the paper sleeves we see wrapped around today’s hardbound books began primarily as a form of protection for the cloth bindings of books around 1830. They’ve since evolved into eye-catching art forms, designed to attract the buyer as much (or more) than to protect the covering of the book itself.  The front may show elaborate artwork or an appealing photo; the back can display an author’s portrait or a blurb of favorable reviews; the inside flaps often feature a synopsis of just enough of the contents to get us interested, plus perhaps a few facts regarding the writer.

But once the book is your own and you have it safely in the comfort of your home . . . then what?  If you’re like my dad (or me), you remove the dust jacket and set it carefully aside to preserve its crisp edges and unmarred beauty until you’ve finished reading the book, only restoring the jacket to the cover in time to place it protectively on a shelf for future reference.  My sister, however, keeps the paper cover on the tome she’s reading, to prevent scuffs or splotches on the book itself.  Collectors often pay substantially more for volumes with the dust covers intact, especially for those in the best condition.

So, it boils down to personal preference.  How about you?  What have you been reading lately?  And do you keep it under wraps? Leave us a comment!