The Quarantine Book Club

So full disclosure, as a parent of a five-year-old, I have not spent a great deal of time during this Quarantine Life reading. More than usual, yes. But there has not been a huge uptick in reading.

Well, unless you count books my daughter wants me to read.

I don’t count those, just like I don’t count episodes of My Little Pony towards my tally of shows I’m binging during the quarantine. Yet with that being said, My Little Pony is a weird effin’ show. Like, really weird. But I’ll have to save that for another time.

I have read a few books recently and seeing as how it’s Sunday and it’s raining and really, whether or not it’s even Sunday doesn’t matter anymore because dude, nothing matters anymore, especially not the day of the week, I thought I’d share some of these books.

Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History

Written by Peter Houlahan, this book tells the story of a bank robbery gone terribly wrong. This book cooks, it cruises and reads with the kind of excitement that is only fitting given the intensity of the subject matter.

Religious zealots, doomsday-preppers, cops out-gunned, and a massive car chase, the book was incredibly fun to read and I swear, if Netflix, with all the money they are bringing in now want to make this into a four or six-episode limited series, I’m down.

I am so down.

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

This is another fantastic real-life spy story from Ben MacIntyre with this one telling the story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent who flipped and provided secrets to the West during the Cold War. Gordievsky’s was a huge get for MI6 and they kept him incredibly close to the vest, only letting a handful of people know his identity.

Unfortunately, one of the people let in on the secret was Aldrich Ames, who was also a spy, an American selling secrets to the Russians.

Long story short, shit gets intense.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larsen is the author of books like The Devil in the White CityDead Wake, and In the Garden of Beasts and his books have a distinct flavor to them. He unspools history via a back-and-forth style, with each chapter bouncing back and forth between points-of-views, characters, and locations.

His latest is the story of Winston Churchill and takes place during the year when the Nazis began bombing England. And they bombed them. Over and over and over again. Through it all though, Churchill was steadfast and was the kind of leader a nation could only hope for as they grapple with disaster and adversity.

One of the things I like about Larsen’s books the most is how they build up and really get moving as they roll into the back nine. This book is no exception as it leads up to the very moment when (spoiler alert) the Americans finally decide to enter World War II.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

My friend Barack recommended this book and I’m glad he did. Say Nothing begins with a mother of ten being abducted one night in 1972 and from there dives headfirst into a wild and immersive account of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Written by Patrick Radden Keefe, the book is heavy on details but not to the point of being overwhelming. Keefe’s ability to convey a bevy of historical information in a smooth, narrative style is amazing and to be honest, is incredibly helpful.

The story of the Troubles is a tough hang, but he makes it accessible, which I have to say, is nice.


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