Amusing and candid stories of a rich life lived in the natural world.

YOU'RE NOT LOST IF YOU CAN STILL SEE THE TRUCK

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF AMERICA'S EVERYMAN OUTDOORSMAN

Field and Stream editor-at-large Heavey (It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter-Gatherer, 2014, etc.) compiles another group of humorous and thought-provoking essays on what it means to be an outdoorsman.

The date range of the pieces begins in 1988 and ends in 2014. The author’s extensive knowledge of the natural world is evident in each story, whether he’s in a blind shooting canvasback ducks on Chesapeake Bay, fishing a stream in West Virginia or preparing for a deer hunt in Kansas. He brings readers into the immediate action with his vivid descriptions, quick wit and honest assessment of each situation. On catching bowhunting fever: “ ‘Hooked’ would be an understatement. I was filleted, battered, and deep-fried….I loved the feeling of stored energy in the bow’s limbs as the let-off kicked in, the Zen of relaxed strength, the way you maintain form and look the arrow home after it has sprung from the bow….In my dreams, every branch in the forest turned into antlers.” Heavey also brings readers into his personal story of grief and renewal with his chronicle of a series of touching events that provides a more rounded view of an individual best known for his wild adventures in the woods and waterways of America. Whether he’s trying to catch the largest trout, bag the biggest buck, finally learning to accept his father or navigating the rules of online dating, Heavey demonstrates the importance of the intent behind the action over the actual outcome. Readers will sense that it’s possible to fail at your mission and still have a grand time if you don’t take yourself too seriously. “Every so often,” he writes, “I take stock of the jerks, losers, and whack jobs who are my friends and resolve to associate with a higher caliber of people.”

Amusing and candid stories of a rich life lived in the natural world.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0802123022

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Effectively sobering. Suffice it to say that Pop Warner parents will want to armor their kids from head to toe upon reading...

CONCUSSION

A maddening, well-constructed tale of medical discovery and corporate coverup, set in morgues, laboratories, courtrooms, and football fields.

Nigeria-born Bennet Omalu is perhaps an unlikely hero, a medical doctor board-certified in four areas of pathology, “anatomic, clinical, forensic, and neuropathology,” and a well-rounded specialist in death. When his boss, celebrity examiner Cyril Wecht (“in the autopsy business, Wecht was a rock star”), got into trouble for various specimens of publicity-hound overreach, Omalu was there to offer patient, stoical support. The student did not surpass the teacher in flashiness, but Omalu was a rock star all his own in studying the brain to determine a cause of death. Laskas’ (Creative Writing/Univ. of Pittsburgh; Hidden America, 2012, etc.) main topic is the horrific injuries wrought to the brains and bodies of football players on the field. Omalu’s study of the unfortunate brain of Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster, who died in 2002 at 50 of a supposed heart attack, brought new attention to the trauma of concussion. Laskas trades in sportwriter-ese, all staccato delivery full of tough guyisms and sports clichés: “He had played for fifteen seasons, a warrior’s warrior; he played in more games—two hundred twenty—than any other player in Steelers history. Undersized, tough, a big, burly white guy—a Pittsburgh kind of guy—the heart of the best team in history.” A little of that goes a long way, but Laskas, a Pittsburgher who first wrote of Omalu and his studies in a story in GQ, does sturdy work in keeping up with a grim story that the NFL most definitely did not want to see aired—not in Omalu’s professional publications in medical journals, nor, reportedly, on the big screen in the Will Smith vehicle based on this book.

Effectively sobering. Suffice it to say that Pop Warner parents will want to armor their kids from head to toe upon reading it.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8757-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more