26 June 2013

"This Love Is Not For Cowards" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from the book This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez by Robert Andrew Powell.

- "'When I was young, I wanted to travel abroad,' he tells me. 'I wanted to see more of the world. My mother gave me a card. It had a picture on the front and in the picture there was a desert. Nothing but sand. Except for this one flower growing. Where God places you, that's where you must do your work.'" (37)

- "The owner concludes with a line cribbed from Mike, of all people. The El Kartel captain has printed the phrase on those t-shirts he sells outside the stadium before every home game: Este Amor No Es Para Cobardes. The line is El Kartel's rallying cry, a testament to the strength of their bond with the Indios. It's Francisco Ibarra's rallying cry now, too, a statement that clearly speaks to a struggle that has nothing to do with soccer, and to a commitment to more than just a sports team." (70)

- "I'm often struck by the fluidity of the border. Radio signals flow freely in both directions. If I'm driving around Juarez at midday, I'm in the jungle with Jim Rome. In the morning and late afternoons I'm usually following Washington politics on NPR. Most nights, even when I'm in El Paso, I like to listen to Orbita radio out of Juarez, the most eclectic radio station in the world, home to a playlist that bounces from a French torch singer to Ozzy Osbourne to an Appalacian folk song. Juarenses ask for 'sodas' when they order a soft drink, using the English word although everyone else in Mexico says 'refrescos.'

Yet the border is so concrete. The woman who cuts my hair in Juarez has never set foot in El Paso despite living along La Frontera for thirty-six years, her entire life. When I'm surfing the Web at the burrito stand near my apartment, I can't watch clips of The Daily Show over the internet, because they are available only to people physically in the United States. Ken-tokey is unable to visit his girlfriend, Sofia, at her house in El Paso. To him and to hundreds of thousands of other Juarenses, the border is as impregnable as the Indios' defense against Cruz Azul. How impregnable? The U.S. government will kill to secure it." (113)

- "I find Paco's life story pretty interesting, even if he's young. His grandfather is passionately Mexican, yet we're speaking English in the car, a language Paco says he learned from watching television; his parents don't speak it. He's a Mexican, yet he's also an American, more and more so. He's a young man in both cultures in the Fussion sense, but he's also an unwitting pioneer. The rich and connected of Juarez are all setting up shop in El Paso these days. Even Paco's high school, the most elite prep school in Mexico, is opening its first American branch in El Paso." (133)

- "There is a toxic energy in Juarez. It flows underground, vibrating to the surface in scenes like this, scenes I witness in some form almost every day. Living here is like living in that Shirley Jackson short story. We accept that a few of us will be chosen for the daily killing ritual, that the likelihood of being chosen is very small, and that the killing is a cost of residency. We try to to wipe the violence from our minds, to "go about living as best we can." But it takes a toll, this game of chance. It flavors every aspect of our lives. A poison leaches into everything." (146)

- "It was a nice day and I wasn't in any particular hurry, so we talked for a while longer. She invited me over for dinner with her family whenever I'm free. She told me the violence is making her crazy, but she can't leave.
Our young people, they don't watch what they're doing, so we send them to El Paso. But we're all going to stay. We have a mission here. When our mission is up, then we'll go up.'
She pointed not north, to Franklin Mountain, but straight up, to the sky. What is her mission?
'To love people. To help people.'" (153)

- "The longer I've lived in Juarez, the more I feel the city's problems have little to do with gender. Girls are not being snatched off the street by serial killers or kidnapped and killed by U.S. Border Patrol officers making snuff films or whatever it was Gaspar de Alba conjured up for her mystery novel. The problem is that life itself in Juarez, across the board, has been devalued. Murder is effectively legal. You can kill almost anyone you want." (191)

03 March 2013

Book Review: "A March to Madness" by John Feinstein

This is a review of A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein. It is one of the best college basketball books that I have ever read.

This is a book in which John Feinstein followed around the ACC teams for a season and talks about what happened, what they did, how they did it, etc.

It was a very interesting book that I really recommend reading, especially in conjunction with The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball, another book by Feinstein.. The differences and similarities really showcase the difference between low-major college basketball and perhaps the most powerful conference in the NCAA.

One obvious difference and part that I loved was seeing the differences in the conference tournaments. In the Patriot League Tournament he detailed, it was do-or-die every game, because there were no at-large bids. In the ACC Tournament, there were probably 2 teams that were really playing in games that they saw as "must-win." Quite a difference, obviously.

Another difference was a lot of the players themselves. In The Last Amateurs, the academic lives of the players were frequently discussed. In this book, there were far less references to any type of academics, and more to attitude problems of a lot of the players. Not say that Feinstein cast them into a bad light, because he didn't, but the differences between big-time and small-time college basketball were evident.

Overall, one of the most interesting books I've read, and definitely one of the best college basketball books I've read. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend you take a gander at it.

18 February 2013

Book Review: The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri

I got the chance to read The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri and thought this it was a fantastic book.

The book begins by talking about the early parts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise - how they came to be, and how they first ran things under the initial owner and general manager. It was a period marked by futility, alternating strategies, and a lot of losing. Fans lost interest, and the D-Rays were a joke of an MLB franchise.

Around the mid 2000s, they were sold to a buyer that had a history on Wall Street. The people he hired to run the team also had extensive experience on Wall Street, which is where the title of the book comes from. It talks about some of the areas where the Rays looked for inefficiencies in the market to build the baseball team, since they knew they would not have the financial resources to compete against teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

The book's most obvious comparison is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It wants to be like that, and reaches out for the same fans that liked Moneyball. It is not that good - the detail into what makes the Rays successful is not shown in nearly as much detail as Lewis' famous book, but it is a great look into an MLB franchise. I would recommend it to baseball fans.

08 January 2013

"Your Money or Your Life" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, one of the best personal finance books ever written.

- "For many of us, however, 'growing up' has meant outgrowing our dreams. The aspiration to write a great book has shrunk to writing advertising copy. The dream of being an inspiring preacher has evolved into being an administrator and mediator between the factions of the congregation. Instead of really knowing who their patients are, how the patients live or the challenges in their lives, doctors today are plagued with back-to-back fifteen minute patient visits and malpractice suits. The dream of traveling around the world becomes two weeks a year of hitting the tourist traps. Living a fulfilling and meaningful life seems almost impossible, given the requirements of simply meeting day-to-day needs and problems. Yet, at one time or another practically every one of us has had a dream of what we wanted our lives to be.

Wherever you are, take a few moments now to reflect upon your dreams. So many of us have spent so many hours, days and years of our lives devoted to someone else's agenda that it may be hard to get in touch with our dreams. So many of us have whittled away at our uniqueness so that we could be square pegs in square holes that it seems slightly self-indulgent to wonder what kind of hole we would be inclined to carve for ourselves. Indulge yourself now. Stare out a window. Shut your eyes. And envision what would be a truly fulfilling life for you. To help you get started on your journey, ask yourself the following questions:

- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
- What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
- If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
- What brings you the most fulfillment - and how is that related to money?
- If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?" (109-110)

- “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.”

- “Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them.”

- “Americans used to be 'citizens.' Now we are 'consumers.”

"The Screwtape Letters" Quotes by CS Lewis

Here are selected quotes from The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. It is one of the best Christian books I have ever read.

- "Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office." (16)

- "He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them." (28)

- "Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion therefore be somehow ridiculous." (12)

"Pippi Longstocking" Quotes by Astrid Lindgren

Here are selected quotes Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

- "The children came to a perfume shop. In the show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES?

What does the sign say?” ask Pippi. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did.
It says, ‘Do you suffer from freckles?’” said Annika.
Does it indeed?” said Pippi thoughtfully. “Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.”

She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. “No!” she said decidedly.

What is it you want?” asked the lady.
No,” said Pippi once more.
I don’t understand what you mean,” said the lady.
No, I don’t suffer from freckles,” said Pippi.

Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, “But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!”

I know it,” said Pippi, “but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.”

She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, “But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars."

06 January 2013

"Story of a Soul" Quotes by St. Therese de Lisieux

Here are selected quotes from Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux by St. Therese de Lisieux. It is one of the best Christian books ever written, in my opinion.

- "This desire might seem presumptuous, seeing how week and imperfect I was and still am, even after eight years as a nun, yet I always feel the same fearless uncertainty that I shall become a great saint. I'm not relying on my own merits, as I have none, but I put my hope in Him who is goodness and holiness Himself. It is He alone who, satisfied with my feeble efforts, will raise me to Him, will clothe me with His infinite merits, and will make me a saint." (37-38)

- "She showed me how one could achieve sanctity by being faithful in the smallest matters." (39)

- "Sometimes I felt lonely, very lonely, but then peace and courage would come back to me if I repeated the line: 'The world's thy ship and not thy home.'" (48)

- "It's absolutely true that 'nothing is impossible to love, for love is convinced it may and can do all things.'" (64)

27 October 2012

Best Baseball Books

There are many great baseball books out there, as it is a genre that has seen a hundred years worth of literature. Here is a list of some of the best baseball books.

1. Roger Kahn - The Boys of Summer
This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love. - Quotes from The Boys of Summer

2. Michael Lewis - Moneyball
Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, is leading a revolution. Reinventing his team on a budget, he needs to outsmart the richer teams. He signs undervalued players whom the scouts consider flawed but who have a knack for getting on base, scoring runs, and winning games. Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball and a tale of the search for new baseball knowledge—insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.

3. David Halberstam - October 1964
October 1964 should be a hit with old-time baseball fans, who'll relish the opportunity to relive that year's to-die-for World Series, when the dynastic but aging New York Yankees squared off against the upstart St. Louis Cardinals. It should be a hit with younger students of the game, who'll eat up the vivid portrayals of legends like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the Yankees and Bob Gibson and Lou Brock of the Cardinals. Most of all, however, David Halberstam's new book should be a hit with anyone interested in understanding the important interplay between sports and society.

4. Bill Veeck - Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck
Bill Veeck was an inspired team builder, a consummate showman, and one of the greatest baseball men ever involved in the game. His classic autobiography, written with the talented sportswriter Ed Linn, is an uproarious book packed with information about the history of baseball and tales of players and owners, including some of the most entertaining stories in all of sports literature.

5. Lawrence Ritter - The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game.

6. Bill James - The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the "holy book of baseball." Now, baseball's beloved "Sultan of Stats" (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium.

7. David Halberstam - Summer of '49
The year was 1949, and a war-weary nation turned from the battlefields to the ball fields in search of new heroes. It was a summer that marked the beginning of a sports rivalry unequaled in the annals of athletic competition. The awesome New York Yankees and the indomitable Boston Red Sox were fighting for supremacy of baseball's American League, and an aging Joe DiMaggio and a brash, headstrong hitting phenomenon named Ted Williams led their respective teams in a classic pennant duel of almost mythic proportions—one that would be decided in an explosive head-to-head confrontation on the last day of the season.

8. Jim Bouton - Ball Four
When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don'tordinarily follow baseball.

9. Bernard Malamud - The Natural
The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”

10. Roger Angell - The Summer Game
The Summer Game, Roger Angell’s first book on the sport, changed baseball writing forever. Thoughtful, funny, appreciative of the elegance of the game and the passions invested by players and fans, it goes beyond the usual sports reporter’s beat to examine baseball’s complex place in our American psyche.

11. Jonah Keri - The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First
What happens when three financial industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing major league franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens—the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history.

05 October 2012

Best Personal Finance Books List

Here is a list of the best personal finance books that I have read, as well as a brief description of the target audience and who I think would benefit most from the books.

01. Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez - Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
This is for anyone that feels a bit lost financially, and needs to get organized with their financial life. It gives a very specific, step-by-step process on how toget your financial life in order. If you are further on in your financial life, it won't do you as good, but it can be huge to help you plan financially for what you want your life to be.

02. David Schwartz - The Magic of Thinking Big
This is not really a personal finance book, per se, but it can be extremely beneficial in that area. It talks about, obviously, thinking big in all aspects of life. This can help you advance your career, as well as lead you to pursue the things that you are really passionable.

03. Ramit Sethi - I Will Teach You To Be Rich
This is for a specific, targeted audience, and it can be extremely beneficial if it is you. It is for people with good incomes, usually in their 20s or 30s, especially those that feel that personal finance is overwhelming. Ramit has a simple, bold way of writing that makes it easier to take action.

04. David Bach - The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
This shows that personal finance doesn't really have to be that hard, because you have the ability to put so much of it on auto-pilot. If you can make things automatic, your financial plan can run itself, leaving you not to have to worry much about it.

05. Bob Clyatt - Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement
This is for people who are getting sick of the rat race of their career, and know that they are going to want to get out of it sooner than the "traditional" retirement age. I enjoyed it because I don't want to keep working until I am age 65, but I want to seek another way to live. Clyatt goes deep into this, what he calls "semi-retirement," which would certainly be a great goal for many people.

06. Burton Malkiel - A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing
This is for people who are interested in investing, especially in picking stocks. I thought investing meant picking stocks, but then I learned how foolish that can be. It is a difficult thing, and helped me to craft my current investing strategy.

07. Timothy Ferriss - The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
This is like Bob Clyatt's book (#5) on steroids, and might not be feasible for as many people. However, if you are extremely motivated, it can be a powerful book to inspire you to change the way you live your life.

08. Taylor Larimore - The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
This has been a big help for my investing strategy, as it showed me the wisdom of index funds. These allow you to invest in many stocks (making you more diversified) while keeping your costs very low. This is a great book to learn how this style of investing works.

If you are looking for more personal finance information, there are lots of great personal finance blogs out there. Here are a few I would recommend:
- Get Rich Slowly
- Sweating The Big Stuff
- The Simple Dollar
- Budgeting In The Fun Stuff
- Free Money Finance
- Increase Credit Limit

24 August 2012

Thethi National Park Facts


I have been reading The Travel Book by Lonely Planet, which is full of great stuff. One thing that I saw in there was a suggestion to go to Thethi National Park in Albania, so I wanted to learn a little more about it.

The park is located in the Albanian Alps, which is the northern region of Albania. It covers an area of 2,630 hectacres, and is located along the Theth River. I have seen the park both as the Thethi National Park, or the Theth National Park. It was declared a national park in 1966.

The park features many mountains over 2,500 meters tall, which slopes that are very steep (as can be easily seen by looking at photos of the peaks. The steepness is do in large part to changes in temperature and snow precipitation, which is present for most of the year. There are also many caves (over 170) and waterfalls within the park.

The pictures of the park are certainly inspiring for anyone with an affinity for the outdoors.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes

Some of the best quotes from Abraham Lincoln, the greatest President in the history of the United States.

- " Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other."

- "I don't think much of a man who is not wiser than he was yesterday."

- "If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend."

- "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

- "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

- "The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just."

- "Whatever you are, be a good one."

Best First Lines in Books

Lots of books start with great - and famous - first lines. Here is a list of the best first lines in books (in no order). Many of these books are also on my list of the best classic books.

- "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice quotes

- "Call me Ishmael." - Moby Dick by Herman Melville

- "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

- "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four quotes

- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

- "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." - The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

- "All this happened, more or less." - Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five quotes

- "The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up." - The Napoleon of Notting Hill by GK Chesterton

- "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

- "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic vermin." - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

- "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book’, thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

- "It was a pleasure to burn." - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 quotes

21 August 2012

"On The Road" Quotes by Jack Kerouac

Here are selected quotes from On the Road by Jack Kerouac, one of the best classic books of all-time.

- "They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!""

- "Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me. "

- "I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future."

- "The stars bent over the little roof; smoke poked from the stovepipe chimney. I smelled mashed beans and chili. The old man growled. The brothers kept right on yodeling. The mother was silent. Johnny and the kids were giggling in the bedroom. A California home; I hid in the grapevines, digging it all. I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night."

10 August 2012

"Friday Night Lights" Quotes by HG Bissinger

Here are selected quotes from Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger.

- "If the nickel came up tails, Permian was out of the playoffs, and the chorus of complaints and criticism against him would only intensify to the point that it might become unbearable for his family to remain in town. If it came up heads, it simply meant that three men would have to line up in a row and make jackasses of themselves once again in front of live television cameras."

- "They played with a flawlessness and sense of purpose that had been building inside them all their lives. After it was over tears flowed freely down their faces, and also down the faces of the grown men and women who depended on them year after year after year.

It was hard to fathom the shock of what Odessa had gone through during the eighties, from a world where everything seemed possible to one in which it was hard to hold on to anything with certainty. So much had happened. So much had changed. But one anchor was still there, as strong and solid as ever. It didn't matter who was playing, or who was coaching. It would always go on, just as Jerrod McDougal had realized, because it was a way of life."

- “Those lights become an addiction if you live in a place like Odessa, the Friday Night fix.”

- “When I first arrived in Odessa, I anticipated a book very much like tradition of the film Hoosiers... But along the way some other things happened - the most ugly racism I have ever encountered, utterly misplaced educational priorities, a town that wasn’t bad or evil but had lost any ability to judge itself. It would have been a journalistic disgrace to ignore these elements.”

I also highly recommend the TV show and the movie, all of the same name.

02 August 2012

Best John Grisham Books

Here is a list of the best John Grisham books that I have read:

1. The Rainmaker
It’s summer in Memphis. The sweat is sticking to Rudy Baylor’s shirt and creditors are nipping at his heels. Once he had aspirations of breezing through law school and punching his ticket to the good life. Now he doesn’t have a job or a prayer—except for one: an insurance dispute that leaves a family devastated and opens the door for a lawsuit, if Rudy can find a way to file it.

2. The Broker
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

3. The Testament
Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined to a wheelchair, and looking for a way to die. His heirs, to no one's surprise--especially Troy's--are circling like vultures.

4. The Pelican Brief
In suburban Georgetown, a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the floor of a posh home. In a seedy D.C. porno house, a patron is swiftly garroted to death. The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief.

5. The Firm
When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought that he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage, and hired the McDeeres a decorator. Mitch should have remembered what his brother Ray–doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail–already knew: You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice–if he wants to live.

6. The Partner
They watched Danilo Silva for days before they finally grabbed him. He was living alone, a quiet life on a shady street in Brazil; a simple life in a modest home, certainly not one of luxury. Certainly no evidence of the fortune they thought he had stolen. He was much thinner and his face had been altered. He spoke a different language, and spoke it very well.But Danilo had a past with many chapters. Four years earlier he had been Patrick Lanigan, a young partner in a prominent Biloxi law firm. He had a pretty wife, a new daughter, and a bright future. Then one cold winter night Patrick was trapped in a burning car and died a horrible death. When he was buried his casket held nothing more than his ashes.From a short distance away, Patrick watched his own burial. Then he fled. Six weeks later, a fortune was stolen from his ex-law firm's offshore account. And Patrick fled some more.But they found him.

7. The King of Torts
The office of the public defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit D.C. every week.

8. The Runaway Jury
Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake beginsroutinely, then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juroris convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymousyoung woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more important,why?

9. The Street Lawyer
Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm. One step away from partnership, Michael has it all. Then, in an instant, it all comes undone: A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm’s plush offices. When it’s all over, the man’s blood is splattered on Michael’s face—and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable. Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived—and where society’s powerless need an advocate for justice.

10. The Client
In a weedy lot on the outskirts of Memphis, two boys watch a shiny Lincoln pull up to the curb...Eleven-year-old Mark Sway and his younger brother were sharing a forbidden cigarette when a chance encounter with a suicidal lawyer left Mark knowing a bloody and explosive secret: the whereabouts of the most sought-after dead body in America. Now Mark is caught between a legal system gone mad and a mob killer desperate to cover up his crime. And his only ally is a woman named Reggie Love, who has been a lawyer for all of four years. Prosecutors are willing to break all the rules to make Mark talk. The mob will stop at nothing to keep him quiet. And Reggie will do anything to protect her client -- even take a last, desperate gamble that could win Mark his freedom... or cost them both their lives.

11. The Chamber
Sam Cayhall is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist now facing the death penalty for a fatal bombing in 1967. He has run out of chances -- except for one: the young, liberal Chicago lawyer who just happens to be his grandson.

12. The Summons
A pillar of the community who towered over local law and politics for forty years, Judge Atlee is now a shadow of his former self—a sick, lonely old man who has withdrawn to his sprawling ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. Knowing that the end is near, Judge Atlee has issued a summons for his two sons to return to Clanton to discuss his estate. Ray Atlee is the elder, a Virginia law professor, newly single, still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. Forrest is Ray’s younger brother, the family’s black sheep.

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