From what I can gather from news sources that might be real, our new President does not read books. He reads newspapers (from real paper and probably just the headlines), briefing papers (again from real paper), and watches cable news shows. The Oliver Stone movie about him (which I bet is a certainty) should be filmed in 3-D to present the complexity of the man. His 3 am twitter messages will be the highlight of the film – obviously! I have decided John Lithgow with a perfect wig should play him.
Anyway, my concern for today is not his politics, but I am worried (not really) that reporters will not be able to report what books our President will be reading during his August and Christmas vacations. Even George W. Bush read books. You laugh, but this is an epidemic – most kids and millennials, especially males do not read books.
The information that our next generation and our President takes in, is now supplied mainly by social and on-line media. Learning to take in information first hand, by reading several hundreds of pages,and following a plot in a book, is now a rarity for a young person. Our President comes from a generation of reading, but the idea of having a book or two on your night table next to your bed, to at least impress your women, apparently never crossed his mind. The art of literature is now discussed only by an elite class that reads the New York Times and vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. I exaggerate, but you get my drift?
Here is my speech to get men to start Reading Books To Blow Your Mind.
Reading is a gift to the brain. It is like going to the gym for your muscles. At first it is painful, but quickly it releases a feeling of power and creativity. You start to have things to talk about with your significant other. Your taste buds of learning come alive and will only be satiated by new knowledge. Suddenly, you start to think for yourself and get bored with video games. You catch old movies again that you thought were boring, but realized you missed the point. It’s like getting stoned without getting the munchies and becoming a zombie. Your brain becomes more peaceful because you are giving it some home-grown, decided-on-your-own nourishment of information and ideas.
Sometimes you must trust certain concepts like brushing your teeth as a kid. It seems boring, but it can end up saving your life and prevent painful visits to the dentists as an adult. My father always emphasized the importance of reading to me as a kid. I hated the idea, but trusted the concept and found it to be a life-line as an adult. He lost most of his sight when he turned 50 and turned to talking books (now called audio books) to continue his life-line of information. That passion he showed to overcome his disability, was a life changer for me to witness.
Here are some books from my library, especially for men, to get excited about reading fiction again. I suggest reading actual books in your hand, but downloading on an I-Pad or Kindle are also great ways to get started. Audio Books are now available as well for download. This list starts with my favorite authors. I suggest to read all their books, after that there great books by authors (of course I had to include mine) that I have enjoyed immensely. Have fun with the search.
My Favorite Authors:
Andre Dubus III – House of Sand & Fog (great movie), The Garden of Last Days, Townie (non-fiction), Dirty Love, Bluesman
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (decent movie with Leo), Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise
Richard Ford – The Sportswriter, Independence Day – Pulitzer Prize Winner 1996, Lay of the Land, Let Me Be Frank with You – Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2015 (all four books about Frank Bascombe character), Canada, A Multitude of Sins
Jonathan Franzen – Freedom, Corrections – Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2002, Purity
John Grisham – The Firm (bad movie), Pelican Brief (great movie), The Testament, The Rainmaker (great movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola), The Racketeer, Gray Mountain, Sycamore Row and many others
Scott Turow – Presumed Innocent (great movie), The Burden of Proof & Innocent (both good TV movies), and many others
Other Great Books:
Robert Harris – Pompeii, The Ghost (great movie called Ghost Writer), Conclave
Russell Banks – Affliction (great movie), Continental Drift – Pulitzer Prize Finalist 1986
Stieg Larsson – The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (great movie), two others in the series
Dan Brown – The DaVinci Code (great movie)
Carl Sagan – Contact (decent movie)
Pat Conroy – Beach Music, The Great Santini (great movie)
Stephen King – 11/22/63 (great mini-series on Hulu)
Cormac McCarthy – The Road (tough book & movie) Pulitzer Prize winner 2007
Pat Barker – Union Street, Another World, Border Crossing, Regeneration Trilogy
Nick Hornsby – About a Boy, High Fidelity (both great movies)
James Michener – Chesapeake (a must for those from or living in DMV)
David Guterson – Snow Falling on Cedars (good movie)
Chad Harbach – The Joy of Fielding
P. Edmund Fischetti – Big Train’s Backyard, The Safety
Brad Thor – Lions of Lucerne
Andy Weir – The Martian (great movie)
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (great movie)
Paula Hawkins – The Girl on The Train (great movie)
Michael Punke – The Revenant (great movie)
Viet Thanh Nguyen – The Sympathizer – Pulitzer Prize Winner 2016