The Annual Lame “Best Of” Book List – 2013

November 28, 2013

As is my habit (and many others), I publish a lame “best of” list every year. Mind you, these are just some of the book I really enjoyed this year, but not all.

Usually a waste of cyberspace on Thanksgiving but hey … why not, right?

Hope you enjoy my list, maybe get a few recommendations for you and yours and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell &John Bruning

Out­law Pla­toon raises some impor­tant ques­tions which needed to be asked (pre­pared­ness, effec­tive­ness, pro­fes­sion­al­ism) but that are dif­fi­cult to face. The book is a must-read for any­one inter­ested in the cur­rent war, com­bat or mil­i­tary life.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis

The Ari­adne Objec­tive reads like a first rate World War II spy novel which could only be the prod­uct of the author’s fevered imag­i­na­tion. The fact the this book is non-fiction, with all the col­or­ful char­ac­ters, humor and fan­tas­tic adven­tures makes it all the better.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman

The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman is a novel which explores art, the Holo­caust, human­ity and, of course, vam­pires. The vam­pire in the story runs an art school and is con­stantly in con­flict with his past life as well as the acts he is forced, by his nature, to do while try­ing to hold on to his humanity.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


The Nazi and the Psychiatrist by Jack El-Hai

The con­clu­sions Dr. Kelly made are fright­en­ing and still rel­e­vant to this day. In his writ­ings, Dr. Kel­ley stated that there was noth­ing “spe­cial” about these top Nazis and their per­son­al­i­ties,  what hap­pened dur­ing Germany’s Third Reich could hap­pen in any coun­try.

 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower

The Nazi pro­pa­ganda machine not only con­di­tioned women to accept and tol­er­ate vio­lence, but also to par­tic­i­pate in it. The Third Reich not only insisted on women hon­or­ing the 3 Ks (Kinder, Küche, Kirche – chil­dren, kitchen, church), but also mobi­lized women to con­tribute to the ter­ror at home and in the occu­pied Ger­man ter­ri­to­ries either via admin­is­tra­tive work, moral sup­port (it’s hard work killing hun­dreds a day and the mur­der­ers needed snacks, rest and psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port) or active participation.

Buy this book in paperelec­tronic or audio format*


The Boxer’s Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps by Nathan Shapow & Bob Harris

Shapow is hon­est in the book, he talks about mis­takes he made, things he regret, the sad­ness and guilt of watch­ing friends being mur­dered with­out the abil­ity to help and other dif­fi­cult stories.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I’m not rec­om­mend­ing War & Peace because it’s a famous book, or con­sid­ered a clas­sic, or because I’m afraid that I’d look like the uncul­tured, uncouth shcmo which I actu­ally am. No, this is an excel­lent book which is still rel­e­vant despite being writ­ten long ago. Tolstoy’s exis­ten­tial think­ing, philo­soph­i­cal mus­ings and obser­va­tion of humans falls just short (if at all) from the Bible. The analo­gies to this day and age could be made with ease and the his­tor­i­cal aspect sim­ply raises the book to another level.

Great price on this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

The Des­tiny of the Repub­lic reads like a novel, an excit­ing page turner which will keep you want­ing for more. The book rein­tro­duces the read­ers to Pres­i­dent Garfield as an elo­quent, strong willed and brave politi­cian whose legacy should be known to many more Americans.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


The Returned by Jason Mott

[T]hebook gives the reader a lot to think about while appeal­ing to their emo­tions. While some­times the book felt a bit slow, it is still and easy read with a fresh and unique per­spec­tive on a sub­ject which has fas­ci­nated peo­ple for centuries.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


The Tenth Witness by Leonard Rosen

Engi­neer Henri Poin­caré works hard to try and bring up the frigate HMS Lutine which went down almost 200 years before with mil­lions worth of gold in its belly. As a reward for his hard work, Henri takes a break and hikes at low tide across the Wad­den Sea. Henri gets to know his guide, Liesel Kraus who is a direc­tor at Kraus Steel and is still haunted by a vio­lent his­tory and cor­rupt­ing wealth.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic for­mat*


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This is a good novel, well writ­ten and tight – the novel should get 5 stars and be on everyone’s “must read” list just so they could study the struc­ture, tone, deliv­ery, drama and focus cor­rectly.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tor­nic format*


The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

The Miss­ing File was a plea­sure to read, the book flows and the author does an excel­lent job keep­ing the reader’s inter­est from page to page. The only issue I had with the book was the trans­la­tion of the title which, in Eng­lish, makes lit­tle sense but in Hebrew seems appro­pri­ate in the con­text of the story. The book seemed to end with a new begin­ning and I, for one, am look­ing for­ward to the next installment.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer

Stef­fen is a Lutheran pas­tor in 1943, Copen­hagen. Steffen’s rou­tine is bro­ken one day when he had a bicy­cle acci­dent that sends him to the hos­pi­tal where he finds a friend in the form of a Jew­ish nurse named Hanne.

Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format*


Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt

Rocamora by Don­ald Michael Platt (web­site) is based on the life of Vicente de Rocamora a poet, fighter and Domini­can priest who was thrust into the schem­ing court of King Philip IV. Rocamora became the con­fes­sor for the king’s younger sis­ter, the beau­ti­ful Infanta Doña María and was con­sid­ered as a strong can­di­date for Inquisi­tor General.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

Prague Win­ter by Madeleine Albright was a book which sur­prised me from start to fin­ish. At first I thought I was pick­ing up a mem­oir by the famed Sec­re­tary of State about her child­hood, but what I got was a first-class les­son in his­tory before, dur­ing and after World War II from per­spec­tive seen thor­ough Czecho­slo­va­kian eyes.

Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic (Kin­dle enhanced with audio) format*


Broken Angel by S.W. Vaughn

Bro­ken Angel is an unapolo­getic book that moves at a furi­ous pace with intrigu­ing char­ac­ters liv­ing on the fringes of soci­ety.  One of the strengths of the book is the sup­port­ing char­ac­ters, most of them intrigu­ing, strong and with enough mys­tery to sup­port the rest of the series.

 Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic  format*


The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch

The story por­trays a Jew­ish fam­ily try­ing to stay sane in a world gone mad. The fam­ily is try­ing to sal­vage a bit of civil­ity wher­ever they can in a place that could on be described as hell on earth.

Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format*


Cervantes Street by Jaime Manrique

The book is com­pact yet con­sis­tent with the life of Cer­vantes, Mr. Man­rique man­ages to employ his imag­i­na­tion to cre­ate a rich envi­ron­ment and a grip­ping adven­ture. The char­ac­ters are won­der­fully inven­tive and charm­ing; they all have their flows, their hearts and their assets with them, which makes the book real and engaging.

 Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format*

*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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2 Comments

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) November 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I haven’t read any of those but most of them look good to me.

  • Laurie C December 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I did miss this post because Thanksgiving weekend was too busy! I haven’t put together my favorites of 2013 yet, but at least I added to the list as I went along this year instead of trying to remember at the end. I listened to the first Henri Poin­caré book by Leonard Rosen, so I might try to find the audio of Tenth Witness. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a good audio listen, too! I haven’t read any of your nonfiction favorites, but they look good (for nonfiction!) 😉

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