The pleasures of ocean adventure captured eloquently, affably and without bravado, perfect for long-distance sailors and...

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KAT ATOMIC WORLD TOUR

Cash achieves a realistic, if occasionally monotonous, account of life at sea in this travel memoir.

Nearly two years after working in a high-pressure career, where he struggled to relax, the author finds himself at sea, sailing almost halfway around the world with his crew. The journey takes him to the coastline of South Africa, the Panama Canal and the Western Seaboard of America. The memoir opens with the author recalling his first experiences of sailing as a 10-year-old, when his uncle offered him a sailing-rigged kayak, which led to a lifetime love of the ocean. As the years passed, the author convinced himself that his retirement boat would be a cruising catamaran. This book is about the realization of that dream and the exhilarating journey that followed. Each stage of preparation is carefully detailed, from initial dealings with the catamaran factory to swinging the compass, the process of pointing a boat at various landmarks to determine “the deviation from an accurate reading of the magnetic compass created by metal and electronics on board.” Once at sea, every aspect of life on the waves is examined. The author describes the dogwatch and the perils of nodding off and colliding with a tanker ship. He also details an alarming incident off the coast of Africa, when a crack appeared where the ship’s keel attached to its hull. However, he’s keen to point out that many books concerning the sea deal with disaster, whereas in reality, life-threatening events prove rare. Here, the joys of circumnavigating the globe are paramount. The author recalls glorious mornings waking in paradise, seeing native fishermen sailing by in canoes. He also revels in the cuisine experienced on the cruise, including a selection of his favorite recipes at the end of the book. His glossary of nautical terminology is concise without relying heavily on jargon. Extended discussions of spinnakers and suchlike may prove monotonous, but it’s a valuable education nonetheless.

The pleasures of ocean adventure captured eloquently, affably and without bravado, perfect for long-distance sailors and those hoping to find their sea legs. 

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4912-0559-4

Page Count: 301

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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

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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

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