Looking for the perfect gift solution? Books make great gifts. Here are Boomer Highway’s nonfiction choices:
The Holy or the Broken by Alan Light
“Hallelujah,” a song written by Leonard Cohen, has become one of the most performed rock songs in history—sung by such artists as the late Jeff Buckley, who reimagined it, Bob Dylan, Bono and k.d.lang. In his newly released book, The Holy or the Broken, Alan Light writes about the song’s history—from its initial rejection to its universal appeal and musical malleability. Leonard Cohen saw his work as joyous, but through the years many movie and television soundtracks have used it during poignant moments. Most would agree it is emotionally charged and Jeff Buckley’s version brings chills. With this publication Light joins a small literary group, books written about a single song—Ted Anthony writing about “House of the Rising Sun” and Robert Harwood “St. James Infirmary.”
Steven Spielberg: A Retrospective by Richard Schickel
No one has shown creative power through the medium of film more than Steven Spielberg. His stunning work that includes the magic of E.T., and the graphic recounting of history in Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List has made his name synonymous with giant leaps in the advancement of filmmaking. Richard Schickel, an acclaimed film critic and documentary filmmaker, presents a book that packs two great punches: his text is important, highlighting years of the critic’s ability to find the kernel and meat in film when one exists, and his selection of film images that create a timeline of Speilberg’s work from Jaws right up to his newest release, Lincoln.
A Nurse’s Story by Tilda Shalof
Tilda Shalof, an RN working in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a large metropolitan hospital, experienced the camaraderie of a disparate group of nurses—a union rep, a consummate recipe writer, a smart mouth and a sensitive university grad. But the group became tight, strong, not caving when exposed daily to the emotional and physical exhaustion their work demanded. They honed their skills taking on severe cases ( a woman badly burned in a house fire, a little league hockey player struck down by a cerebral aneurysm) because nurses like to fix things if they can. A reviewer writes: Shalof, a veteran ICU nurse, reveals what it is really like to work behind the closed hospital curtains. The drama, the sardonic humor, the grinding workload, the cheerful camaraderie, the big issues and the small, all are brought vividly to life in this remarkable book.
When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson, the author of two of my very favorite novels, Gilead and Home, has published a new collection of essays, revealing once again her fine mind which cannot accept the surface of thoughts, but must look deeply into our living experience. When I Was a Child I Read Books contains essays that discuss our debt crisis, the role of charity in Christian faith, and in her essay which bears the same name as the book’s title, her childhood in Idaho, providing an exploration of the myth of the American West. In “Imagination and Community” Robinson underlines her belief that reading makes us more tolerant and sympathetic of others. “I think fiction may be, whatever else, an exercise in the capacity for imaginative love, or sympathy, or identification.” In a similar vein, she writes of communities: “Language is profoundly communal, and in the mere fact of speaking, then writing, a wealth of language grows and thrives among us that has enabled thought and knowledge in a degree we could never calculate. As individuals and as a species, we are unthinkable without our communities.”
Beyond Outrage by Robert B. Reich
Former labor secretary, Robert Reich’s latest work was written to give us a clear look at America’s economy. Reich explains how income and wealth is gifted to a narrow populace and that this trend has strongly hurt job formation and growth for everyone else. His purpose is to clearly define why theories and proposals from the “regressive right” do not solve our economic problems, rather they increase the divide between those that have and those that are struggling. Reich outlines a clear plan for action, hoping that those who care about democracy and the future of all people will jump on board. Vernon Ford comments: Reich recommends that politicians and the public get out of their ideological bubbles and face the need to raise tax rates on the wealthy, reduce military spending, and restrict the size of banks to reduce the risk to taxpayers in case of failure. –Vernon Ford
More choices for holiday gifts, next week.