What To Read Over Spring Break, or After Work If You Don’t Get One

No one ever requests that I sing more on the show, which, believe me, I’ve noticed.

But I do get a lot of requests to post about, or make a list of, the books I mention. Not sure if a list or separate blog will happen, but here are a few from this year’s reading I truly recommend to you:

Just now, I am rereading “The Stories of John Cheever” for the first time since freshman English. Cheever won a Pulitzer Prize for this collection of about five dozen short stories from the mid-40s to the mid-’70s, set in the Northeast, and about ordinary people like we all know, or are. At the beginning of every story, you think “why should I care about this man/woman/couple?” but after a few paragraphs, you can’t believe how much you care. “Goodbye, My Brother” is one of the most haunting family tales you will ever read. “The Enormous Radio” is a literary Twilight Zone episode. “O City of Broken Dreams” is going to stay with you. Cheever died in the early 1980s, and he’s writing about a time and place all its own, but trust me, you will enjoy your visit to his world. Reading this collection again after so many years is like meeting a old friend and catching up on him, and yourself.

“How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” is the best book about living with dogs, of the dozen or so I’ve read over the years. This slim volume, circa 1978, really the only guide you need to start out with, or re-set things with, your pup. The Monks of New Skete have bred and trained German Shepherds for decades, which is why I sought out this book, but the basics will apply to any breed. Very straightforward, and intuitive. Deep down, you know most of this stuff, but you’re overthinking it. Bottom line: you and your dog want and need you to be the Boss. It’s not only a reference, but fun to read too. As a bonus, those monks had some mod haircuts in the ’70s!

Is there any more misunderstood or misrepresented world leader than Pope Francis? In the new book “Pilgrimage: My Search for The Real Pope Francis”, by Mark Shriver, son of the late Sargent Shriver, the author travels to Argentina to retrace the footstops of the man named Bergoglio. He introduces us to some fascinating people in their own right, but also shows you how this man’s humble beginnings and experiences in a dangerous country shaped his sometimes confounding worldview. Shriver’s writing is sometimes funny, and personal. Popes don’t just pop out on that balcony out of nowhere, and their early journeys usually explain how they approach what will always be their final pastoral post.

Each title above has a link to Amazon.com, and it’s easy to locate used books at good prices there.

Hope you get to enjoy a good read, and will share your thoughts with me at jack@ktsa.com

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