Suffice to say, I’ve been remiss in keeping up with this blog. Here’s the thing about a blog about books: Obviously, the writer loves to read. So, when given a choice between reading and writing about reading, I’ll often choose … reading. I know, I know—it’s shocking. But there you have it. In attempt to make up for this dereliction of duty, I offer up these quick, nugget reviews of a few of the best books I’ve read lately. Beware, the books are as random as they are great.

“World Gone By,” by Dennis Lehane

The last in the Joe Coughlin series by Boston native Lehane is a page-turner, without a doubt. You know he’s a bad guy, but you can’t help but root for Coughlin. Lehane has a knack for making characters likable who, on a surface level, really aren’t all that appealing. The great insider references to our fair city are always fun, too.

“Dad is Fat,” by Jim Gaffigan

To totally change pace, let’s talk about a funny book. In short, Gaffigan is hysterical. And I mean that in the sense of: hysterically trying to keep up with his 4 kids—all crammed into a tiny, 2-bedroom NYC apartment. The bedtime bit is hilarious, as is his explanation of how you can regularly pay for two nights in a hotel but not actually sleep there. (Get your mind out of the gutter—he’s a happily married man!). Gaffigan has that rare gift of being funny without being offensive—a welcome treat to this reader.

“Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides,” by Ariel Meadow Stallings

You’ll never guess: I got married recently! You didn’t see that coming, did you? Anyway, I’m far from the earthy-crunchy-granola type, but I’m also highly unlikely to ever be featured on “Say Yes to the Dress.” (That is what it’s called, right? I don’t know that I’ve seen more than 3 minutes of that show. An aside: You should’ve seen the poor bridal shop attendant’s face when I told her I wanted to remove the beaded sash on my dress—the only adornment on the otherwise plain frock. But that’s another story…) Some of the suggestions in this book are a bit much for me, but I certainly appreciate Stallings offering up an alternative to the 2-years-in-the-making, $40,000, matching-custom-printed-everything sideshows that all of the bridal magazines push. Bottom line: a good read for brides who just want to have a fun day with the people they love.

“Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free,” by Hector Tobar

Hey, I told you this was random. Remember when those miners were trapped in a mine? Yeah, I vaguely did, too. Tobar’s tome delves into this surreal story, with loads of insights from the men who were actually trapped underground. From their accounts, you really start to feel how incredibly terrifying and hopeless their ordeal was—and how they somehow still managed to keep hope, even when weeks passed with no contact with the outside world. Tobar addresses not only the rescue from the mine, but the ensuing changes in the miners’ lives—from simple existences of hard, manual labor to international celebrity, complete with instant wealth. Some handled it; some didn’t. When the miners were brought up out of the mine, the world stopped watching—the saga seemingly over. For the men who’d spent more time underground than any human was ever meant to do, that was far from the end.

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