Usually I’m pointing you at interesting articles or news stories you should read, but today we’re talking about books. I’ve got four nonfiction book suggestions and one fiction suggestion you should check out.
FYI: All the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click through and buy the book, I make a few cents. Rest assured, I will use any earnings gleaned this way to purchase more books. Or possibly things for my dog. But most likely books.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff
Y’all probably already read this one because it was a viral sensation when it came out, but just in case you didn’t, you should. Caution: This book is wall-to-wall hyperbole and probably at least 90% bullshit, but it is a fun read. Also, I strongly suspect the whole thing was set up to be a viral sensation and make people money, because my cynicism knows no bounds. But still: fun read. And if even 10% of it is true? Holy crap you guys.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, by Michelle McNamara
Michelle McNamara was Patton Oswalt’s first wife, who passed away suddenly and too young a couple of years ago from a freak heart thing. She was a well known true crime writer, and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is her last book, detailing her hunt for the Golden State Killer. McNamara passed away before the book was completely finished, and another reporter/crime writer helped edit it together and polish it off. Shortly after the book was released, they caught the Golden State Killer, which lent some added drama to the whole thing and, honestly, is most of the reason I picked the book up to read in the first place. All that having been said, it’s a great book. Detailed, thorough, engrossing, well-written, all that. If you love true crime stuff (as I do) and haven’t read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark yet, put it on your to-do list.
All the President’s Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
I’ll warn you, this book is dry. It was written by two old-school reporters, and it shows in the prose. The story is fascinating, so if you can handle the dry writing, it’s well worth a read. For you young’ns, this book tells the story of two reporters from the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who were hot on the trail of Nixon and his cronies back during the Watergate scandal. This book is really only the tip of the iceberg as far as the Watergate story goes, and illuminates one part of the whole sordid affair: how journalists were doggedly tracking the story. I watched the movie with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, first, which led me to the book. I only knew vague details about Watergate when I watched the movie, and was still pretty vague on the whole thing when I read the book, which led me to a lot of Googling as I read. If you’ve got any historical curiosity at all, you can expect to make the same journey.
Note: I linked to the Kindle version, which is $13, but if you’re strapped, you can get used paperbacks and hardcovers for way cheaper at the same link.
One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, Tim Weiner
So, after reading All the President’s Men, and about a million Wikipedia pages about Watergate and its players, I ended up snagging this book by Pulitzer- and National Book Award-winning writer and reporter Tim Weiner, and it is excellent. I found it to be a bit more sympathetic to Nixon than he really deserved, but that doesn’t interfere with the story too much. The book is based on relatively recently declassified documents and tapes and the story it tells of Richard Nixon as a drunk, paranoid and seriously mentally ill person in a position of near-absolute power, surrounded by enablers, will scare your bowels loose. Seriously, I read this whole thing with my jaw hanging open. I think I read half of it outloud to my sweetheart in horrified, disbelieving tones. Read this book. It’s mind-blowing. Especially in the current political climate.
Carter & Lovecraft: A Novel, by Jonathan L. Howard
Okay, the first four recommendations were nonfiction and, let’s be honest here, kinda downers. This one’s for fun. I’m a vocal fan of Jonathan L. Howard and I adore his Johannes Cabal, Necromancer series. But equally as good is his Carter & Lovecraft series, about Daniel Carter, a former homicide detective turned private eye, and Emily Lovecraft, a shotgun-wielding bookstore owner, and their Cthulhu-drenched adventures through a Lovecraftian multiverse. Carter & Lovecraft: A Novel is the first of two books (so far), and if you like urban fantasy, the Mythos, horror-action-mysteries, or any combination thereof, you’re gonna love this book. It’s a hoot.