Calico Joe by John Grisham

A Grisham favorite I re-read, it is a great little story about a Major League Baseball phenom whose miraculous rookie season is tragically cut short. Told from the vantage point of a person the celebrated fictional ballplayer had never met, it’s also a story about pride, family, and forgiveness. Grisham is one of the best storytellers around, and this book is no exception.

Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthews

JFK’s younger brother lived in his shadow for much of their lives. Serving as the elder brother’s political support system at first, Robert Kennedy emerged after the tragic events of 11/22/63 as a force unto himself. He was instrumental in the passage of civil rights legislation, relentless in his prosecution of organized crime, and ambitious toward his own future. A bullet took his life, too, of course, and those ambitions went unrealized — but his life and career remain a fascinating one indeed. All these factors make this book a terrific read.

BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH:

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

I’m a sucker for a presidential memoir, and this one (volume one of two, with the second chunk yet to be released) is illustrative of why. There are just enough peeks behind the curtain, just enough policy conversation, and just enough human interest content to keep you going. And you need steam to keep going, since this is a 768 page tome. Obama, for all the diverging opinions about his politics, is a tremendous writer, which helps this book along considerably. Since I favored most of his politics, I also found it enjoyable from the vantage point of nostalgia.

You’re a Miracle (And a Pain in the Ass) by Mike McHargue

This little book almost played the role of David to the A Promised Land Goliath in terms of being the best book I read all month. It’s been out a year or two, and while I’m not a Science Mike devotee like many are, I do appreciate his authenticity, curiosity, and style. What it lacked in volume it made up for in quality. A blend of spiritual memoir, brain chemistry, and sociology, this book was fascinating, accessible, and enjoyable. While it couldn’t overcome Obama’s book, I totally recommend it.

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