This past week I finished reading three books (89th, 90th & 91st of the year) and saw a very good movie. They were all so good I thought I would share them with you.
The first book is by one of my favorite authors on contemporary world issues, Robert Kaplan. The book is THE REVENGE OF GEOGRAPHY - What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate. This book frames many of today’s world issues though the lens of geography. He also uses geography to explain many of the events of the past century. I have always found Kaplan’s books and writing in Atlantic magazine gave in-depth insights behind the headlines. If you want a deeper understanding of our world today this book is a must read.
The second book was Muck City- Winning And Losing In Football’s Forgotten Town by Bryan Mealer. Muck City is a small town, Belle Glade, in South Central Florida. It is less than 100 miles from where I live in Sarasota but it might as well be on another continent in another century. Muck refers to the fertile loamy black soil that made Belle Glade the epicenter for "Big Sugar" and the area where much of the nations vegetables are grown. Belle Glade is a town mired in poverty, poor underperforming schools, gang violence, drugs and high incidence of HIV/Aids. It is a town where high school football is the escape, the way out. Since 1985 twenty-five football players from the Glades Central Raiders have made it to the NFL, five of those were drafted in the first round. Mealer spent a year with the team. I could not put this book down. It is a terrific read on so many levels. It is inspiring and deeply depressing at the same time. It hard to believe that places like this still exist in our country.
I read detective fiction and mysteries for escape, one of my favorite authors in this genre’ is Michael Connelly. His latest book is The Black Box. It is so trite to say, but it is a real page-turner. I could not put it down. He takes his main character detective Harry Bosch to another level in solving a cold case murder from the 1992 LA riots. If you chose to read it be sure to block out a half day because you won’t put it down after you start reading.
The movie is Searching for Sugar Man. I must admit when my wife convinced me to go see it I did not know what to expect. What a story! It was sad and inspiring at the same time. It is the documentary story of an extraordinary musician, singer and songwriter named Sixto Rodriguez who was born in Detroit of Mexican immigrant parents. He made a couple of albums in the US and the effectively disappeared from the US music scene. He became popular in South Africa. He was rumored to have killed himself on stage at the end of a performance. The movie centers on two South African fans who research his story and find that he is still alive and well and working in construction in Detroit. Many feel he is better that Dylan as lyricist and as a musician. I won’t ruin the story, go see it for yourself, the guy is amazing.