What To Read – One Man’s Perspective…

One Man’s Book Recommendations

Women seem to talk about books often, but some men read a lot, too! I always wonder what they have on their nightstand so I reached out to a childhood friend of mine to ask. Mike Waxman, a lifelong reader, often posts what he is reading on social media, so I knew he would have something great to say. Here he shares with Book Nation by Jen a list of some of his favorites. I am delighted to see his fantastic recommendations along with some thoughts about each. From disastrous adventures and westerns to father-daughter relationships, Mike gets engaged in all different types of stories and gravitates toward rich characters and quality writing. Check out Mike’s picks and read more about him below.

Mike’s Picks

Non-Fiction Favorites

Isaac’s Storm:  Phenomenal chronicling of the worst hurricane disaster ever to hit this nation, and the reason behind it (hint – US arrogance). 

The Devil in the White City:  Erik Larson’s true story of the confluence of the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 bringing hordes of people to the City, including many single women from farms working on their own, and H.H. Holmes, one of our first known serial killers, entrapping these women.  Chilling and eye opening.  

Into Thin Air:  John Krakauer’s first hand account of the 1996 disaster on Mt. Everest.  As a skilled climber and journalist for Outside Magazine he was dispatched to climb the mountain and write a story about how climbing Everest had become like “walking a goat path,” because in the previous years, on account of good weather, even out of shape climbers with good guides and sherpas had summited the mountain.  Apparently, Everest is NOT the most difficult climb of the big mountains . . . unless the weather turns ugly.  And guess what happened?  

Endurance:  Ernest Shackleton set sail for Antarctica in 1915, the last uncharted continent.  His ship Endurance became frozen and destroyed.  He and his crew endured unbelievable risks and misery for TWO years to survive and return to civilization.  It is an astounding story.  

Touching the Void:  Another climbing, true story that will rock your world.  Two climbers.  One falls and breaks his leg.  The other tries to get them both back safely, but faces a point where he can either cut his partner loose and survive, or he can remain tethered to him and BOTH die.  Seriously amazing story.  

Fiction Favorites

Lonesome Dove:  Best Western ever written.    

Lonesome Dove Collection: Best Western movie ever filmed. My second son, Samuel’s, middle name is Augustus after Augustus McCrae, the Robert Duval character.  

A Stranger in the Kingdom:  Howard Mosher’s masterpiece.  Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, yet in Norther Vermont.  

Plainsong: Astoundingly good novel.  One of the best pieces of fiction I have ever read.  Hemingway like in its simplicity.  There is so much to be inspired by here, so much down home goodness.   

Also, the sequels, Eventide and Benediction are equally good.  

The Pillars of the Earth:  Storytelling at its best.  Read the Preface about how author Ken Follett wanted to write this book for years and years, but his agents pushed back because his spy novels were so popular, and then he finally wrote this and over time, by word of mouth, it became his best selling book.  

Also, the sequel, World Without End, is amazing.  

Beartown:  Perhaps my favorite new author.  He writes so well and so insightfully about relationships, parenting, children, and other issues.  And he is funny, too.  This story takes place in the author’s country, Sweden, in a small, remote town where hockey is almost all that happens.  An incident between a star hockey player and the daughter of the General Manager splits the town into warring camps.  Wonderful story telling and some heart warming heroes.  

Empire Falls:  The best novel from one of the best authors of the last 50 years.  You will feel as if the characters are drawn so well and so lovingly, that you could sit down at a bar stool and start to have a great conversation with many of them.  AND, it takes place in Maine.  

The Lords of Discipline:  Pat Conroy is up there with Russo as my favorite contemporary author.  His writing, his descriptions of the South, is just mesmerizing.  And this story, about surviving military school is just plain excellent.  

Young Adult

The Book Thief:  I don’t know why it is billed as “Young Adult” because ALL ages can enjoy this.  Probably the best father/daughter relationship I have ever read. Takes place in Germany during the Holocaust.  This will touch your heart unless you don’t have one.  One of my all time favorites. 

I’ll Give you the Sun:  Delightful and moving coming of age story.  Total surprise when I read this and just flat out loved it. 

Bonus – Children’s Book

The Hundred Dresses:  Best children’s book ever written in my view.  My mom’s favorite too.  My daughter brought it into class in 3rd grade and the teacher read it to the class and from that point until he retired, every year his class did a Hundred Dresses week. 

Click here for more One Man’s Perspective and other Books Recommended For Men.

Mike Waxman

I am a 57 year old trial attorney in Portland, Maine.  I grew up in Weston, CT and went on to Harvard College and Boston College Law School.  I have four kids (3 boys and a girl) ranging from 26 to 31.  I am remarried to a woman named Kate Sabatine who has two boys, 16 and 17.  I stay fit, cycling, playing tennis, doing crossfit style workouts.  I love to read, always have, as does my wife, who is a nurse specializing in gerontology (she works in an assisted living center).  We read on our own and then every night at bed time I read out loud to her until one of us nods off.

Book Nation by Jen note: According to an article in Inc. Magazine, if you want to be less stressed, more well rested, empathetic, and maybe even richer, you might try reading in bed, too.

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