I’ve been listening to The Watch podcast since it’s inception way back when on the old Grantland website. Over the past year co-host Andy Greenwald has taken time away from the pod to be the show runner for his adaptation of Ross Thomas’ 1984 murder mystery, Briarpatch. Upon hearing of his sister’s murder, Benjamin Dill returns to his small hometown to settle her affairs and look into what happened. Turns out she had a $250K life insurance policy, many questions about a possible double life she was leading and several suspects.
Before his death in 1995, Thomas had published 25 books and won an Edgar award for Briarpatch. This is not life changing stuff but a solid read with several funny bits, interesting characters, a story that keeps things moving along swiftly.
I’m fairly certain Ryan Holiday came onto my radar through the Tim Ferriss podcast a few years ago and have been subscribing to his newsletter for about as long. Every month Holiday sends out his reading list with lots of great suggestions. Like James Clear, since we’ve consumed so much of his content, we wanted to support Holiday with his latest book entitled Stillness Is The Key.
The book is laid out in three sections on mind, soul, and body with several short chapters devoted to each. Stories through the centuries come from Marcus Aurelius, John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Anne Frank, Tiger Woods, etc. This book is a great jumping off point to dive further into teachings and philosophies that have been preached throughout the world. It is a book that I will certainly return to throughout the years.
George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, won several awards including the Man Book prize in 2017. The book tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s son, William, who passes away and who for a time is caught between heaven and earth. The writing switches from written historical accounts of the events surrounding his death and fantasy of what happened after he had passed on. Several times when reading I found myself stopping and thinking about what was written. Certainly not an easy read, I’m sure I missed a few things but feel like this is one that I would re-read again someday.
Tayari Jones’ fourth novel, An American Marriage, was selected as an Opera’s book club and has won a couple of awards including the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019. The book takes place in Georgia with African American Roy marrying Celestial. A year into the marriage, Roy is accused of raping a woman in her hotel room and is sent to jail for several years. Much of the book takes place in letters written between Roy and the outside world.
When picked for my fiancé’s book club, this was not a fan favourite so even though I knew it has been well received, I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. The characters are flawed but likeable in their own ways. Everyone is just trying to get through life the best they can which added to the realness of the story. As an added bonus, the southern expressions and teachings were nice additions for this Northern reader.