I love to read. My goal (a modest goal to some and an impossible goal for others) is to read 30 books each year. I figure that two books a month (and then a few more) is reasonable.
In 2022, I actually made it to 45 books, but, then again, well, a whole collection weren’t all that scholarly (as you’ll soon see).
Here, now, are the books I most enjoyed in 2022:
Northfield – by Johnny D. Boggs: I have always wanted to get into Westerns, both the movies and the literature. This book about the James gang was a terrific read. I’m going to be reading more of Johnny Boggs’ books.
Smokin’ Joe – by Mark Kram Jr.: Quite simply, I enjoy reading about great athletes, especially boxers. I have always been fascinated by the tales of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. I was too young to watch those fights when I was a kid, but those are stories I often come back to. This was an excellent biography of Joe Frazier.
Rocket Boys – by Homer Hickam: This was an outstanding story about a high school boy, his family, an old coal town in West Virginia, the desire to fly rockets, and the seemingly impossible. It’s an outstanding tale. I loved this book.
Full Count – by David Cone and Jack Curry: I still pitch, in two baseball leagues. I greatly enjoyed reading David Cone’s thoughts about pitching. I have been reading about baseball since 1977, and I’ve read a ton, but I learned a lot about pitching from this book.
Turn Your Season Around – by Darryl Strawberry and Greg Laurie: Darryl Strawberry had it all, and then he made some terrible choice at the height of his fame. Strawberry eventually found Jesus. This is a motivational and inspirational true story about finding faith and using faith to guide your life. (And I can say from personal experience that Darryl Strawberry lives the life he discusses here – he is, quite simply, a very special person.)
Monte Walsh – by Jack Schaefer: My favorite western of all time was probably Shane (by the same author). I heard that Monte Walsh is the greatest western novel of all-time and so I had to read it. After reading this book, I have to agree.
Doubleday Doubletake – by J.B. Manheim: This was the third book in Manheim’s “Cooperstown Trilogy” a series of fictional accounts about baseball and some of its darkest secrets. The entire series is outstanding. I loved each of the three books in the series.
The Church of Baseball – by Ron Shelton: This book is about baseball and the making of the movie Bull Durham. I never really read a book about how a movie was made. Honestly, I never really cared all that much, but this book caught my eye and I am very glad I read it.
For the Glory – by Duncan Hamilton: Eric Liddell was the protagonist in the movie Chariots of Fire. This is the full story of his amazing life as a missionary serving God and others. The book is outstanding. This was the book I most enjoyed in 2022. (I even wrote and delivered a sermon based on what I learned about Eric Liddell from this wonderful book.)
Leave the Gun, Take the Canoli – by Mark Seal: The Godfather is one of my favorite movies of all-time. I’ve read the novel numerous times and watched the movie countless others. This is the story of the making of the movie. After reading The Church of Baseball (above), I tried my hand at a similar book and greatly enjoyed this one as well.
The Rational Bible; Deuteronomy – by Dennis Prager: I have learned a great deal by reading Dennis Prager’s Rational Bible series. This is the newest book, just release in the fall. It is the third book in the series. I am greatly enjoying these commentaries, I am learning a lot, and I look forward to the next in the series.
Founding Martyr – by Christian DiSpigna: This is the story of Joseph Warren, an oft-forgotten leader in Boston at the dawn of the American Revolution. Warren was part of so many of the events at that time: The Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill. I enjoy reading about famous people (I have read a ton about George Washington, for example), but it’s also great to learn about the forgotten heroes as well.
The Complete Peanuts – by Charles Schulz: I saw this series years ago and knew that I needed to (over time) get the whole set of books (there are 25 in all). I read about 15 of these volumes in 2022 (adding to my total books read in a much too easy way) as I worked to complete reading the entire series. (I’ll finish this year.) I have always loved the Peanuts cartoons and have gained a new appreciation for how terrific they really are. The biggest revelation I found is that Charlie Brown isn’t always a loser. He succeeds in many ways more often than one might think. As someone who roots for Charlie Brown, seeing him succeed brings me happiness.