Summer Reading List? Forget About It!

I love to read. Sometimes I go in spurts and read a book or two a week in rapid succession, then I’ll get hung up on something not so intriguing and will go a month or two without picking anything up. I’m on a little bit of a kick now since I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the pool and the beach, and driving.

My favorite books are non-fiction, about some random, but focused historical topic, or memoir, or biography. Real life is always more compelling that something made-up. A few of my favorites worth checking out are:

  • American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot, by Craig Ferguson
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, by Stephen E. Ambrose
  • The Basketball Diaries, by Jim Carroll
  • Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, by James Bradley
  • In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
  • The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, by A. J. Jacobs
  • Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi
  • Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, by Laurence Bergreen
  • The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, by Iris Chang
  • The Ride of Our Lives, by Mike Leonard
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard
  • Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, by Michael Norman
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan

On my drive to Nebraska over the weekend, I finished up a fiction book I was reading and needed something to keep me entertained on my way back. My brother said I could raid his bookshelf, but most of what I found was stuff I’d lent to him. The book I wanted, that my sister was supposed to give to me, was Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation, by Peter Bernstein, which he’d forgotten was on his shelf, but put into his reading queue instead of letting me take it. Jerk.

Donnie Brasco and his Mafia associates.

So I settled on an old hardcover copy of Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, by Joseph D. Pistone. Of course I’d seen the movie, but it was ages ago, and the book is always better anyway. It’s a good read. I’m about a little over halfway through, and the single most awesome thing about it is the names of these wiseguys he associated with for six years as an operative.

Steve “Stevie Beef” Cannone, John “Boobie” Cerasani, Santo Trafficante, Jo-Jo Fitapelli, Jimmy Acquafredda, Johnny Spaghetti, Philip “Rusty” Raselli, Frank Balistrieri, Caesar Bonventre, Nicky “Nicky Glasses” Marangello, Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero, “Fort Lee Jimmy” Capasso, Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, Charles “Charlie Moose” Panarella, Carmine “The Snake” Persico, Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo, Anthony “Mr. Fish” Rabito, Salvatore “Sally Fruits” Farrugia, Jilly Greca, Antonio “Boots” Tomasulo, Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano.

Fantastic stuff. FYI, according to the Mafia name generator I found on the internet (motto: if it’s on the interwebs, it must be legit), my official name is Slick Foot Francesca. But you can call me “Francie Feet.”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011 aka Giovanna Alisa Ventolegno


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