Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Book (and Least Favorite Book) of 2012

Last year, I wrote a post detailing my favorite books of 2011. I looked over the books I read in 2012, and had a hard time narrowing things down. I read 58 books on a wide range of subjects. I touched more than 60 books if you count the ones I stopped reading because I wasn't getting much out of them.

If I had to choose a favorite book of 2012 out of the 58 total, I'm going with "I'm Staying With My Boys- The Heroic Life of Sgt John Basilone, USMC".



It was written by Jim Proser, but done in the first person, as if John Basilone wrote it himself. It's the only story authorized by the family, and was done by extensive interviews with his family, friends, and the soldiers and Marines who served with him. Some books take me a long time to read. I think I read this one in 3 days during a VERY busy time period. But I couldn't put it down. I came home from work and picked it up. On a day when I was working offsite and didn't have to be in early, I picked it up and read it before work.

John Basilone is a true hero. He started out in rural New Jersey but as he grew, he never quite fit in. He joined the Army and enjoyed it, until he got to garrison duty in the Philipines, where he served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He left the Army and went back to New Jersey, where he still didn't fit in. He then joined the Marine Corps, where he served under (then Major) Chesty Puller.

My VFW lodge is named after Puller. I love looking at the picture of him with his famous quote "We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem". John Basilone fought on Guadalcanal under Puller.

He later got back into the fight, where he died a hero on Iwo Jima.

This was a great hero story that really happened.

A close second favorite is Helen Rapapport's "The Last Days of the Romanovs- Tragedy at Ekaterinburg".



This is the story of how the last Tsar and his family were kept imprisoned and ultimately executed in cold blood by the Bolshevik thugs. Very interesting. I've always been fascinated with Russian history. Probably because it could happen here.

I need to read more of Helen Rapapport's books.

My least favorite book of 2012 is "The Catcher In the Rye". It's on my short list of books I stopped reading. I got a little more than halfway through, then decided to look up the Cliff's Notes and walk away to something more productive. I've heard of this book over and over again throughout my life. It's appeared in Mel Gibson's "Conspiracy Theory" and an episode of South Park. I thought it was awful. It's supposed to be about coming of age and alienation. Yeah, there are plenty of other good books on those subjects. Stay away from this one. I fear for the poor school children who have to read this book because some out of touch, holier than thou elitist thinks they should.



I'm going to read another book about a Marine hero.
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