Here are some of the books I read in 2016. Note: I often read books meant for younger audiences. They’re some of the best stories, and it is very rewarding to start and finish a book quickly, especially after a long read by another author or in another genre.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
This was an easy read. It stirs the imagination and makes the reader wonder what it would be like to have to survive in the wild.
All Fishermen are Liars by John Gierach
Mr. Gierach writes fly fishing essays. I usually have a couple of his books on my reading list. He has a way of writing that is sometimes practical, sometimes poetic, sometimes instructive. He is always interesting.
The Longest Silence by Thomas Mcguane
Part autobiography, and part fishing essays. I loved this book. Mr. Mcguane is a very thoughtful writer.
Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Latch of Land by John Graves
Maybe my favorite book of 2016. Mr. Graves was a beloved Texas author. He passed away a few years ago. This book chronicles his home ranch in Somerville county, Texas. It seems nothing escaped his notice, and he had such a love of and connection to the land he worked, and the people who worked it with him. There are a few chapters which are not really connected with the rest of the story. One of them is simply called, “An Irrelevance”. It was my favorite chapter of the book. Highly recommended.
Endurance – Shakleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
A great book of hardship and leadership. I kept looking for a reason not to like Sir Earnest Shackleton, but never found one. He was a man who rose to the occasion, kept his men alive and persevered to the end. It’s a very inspiring story.
The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
This is one I have never read. Mr. London lets us experience the world through the eyes of Buck, half dog and half wolf. We travel with Buck as he transforms from a domestic pet, back to a wolf. A journey back to a time before leashes, sleds and angry men.
The Earth is Enough by Harry Middleton
I re-read this book in 2016. It has very strong new age leanings, but this story of a young boys being raised by his uncles is a great read. Looking past a world view I don’t really agree with, it’s wonderful to see two old men who love and respect the land, the wildlife and the trout of the family farm, and how they pass that love on to their nephew.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
This has been on my list for a long time, and I’ve had many false starts. I have to say, it was not what I was expecting. Mr. Thoreau didn’t seem to hold his neighbors in very high regard. Here’s my basic review and outline of his narrative:
- Most men are petty and waste their lives.
- I built a cabin in the woods
- The Lake is very beautiful.
- I’m surrounded by idiots.
- Don’t be petty and waste your life.
There were passages of sheer depth and beauty, but they were hard for me to appreciate sometimes because of the very high opinion Mr. Thoreau seemed to have of himself.
The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
I read this one for work. The main take away for me: You can’t be an effective leader just because of a title or position you have been granted. Real leadership must be earned from the people you are leading.
Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurtry
This is the first (chronologically) of the Lonesome Dove series. Gus and Call as young men. Their characters are starting to form into the men we see later in Lonesome Dove. This is great Texas adventure.
The 5 dysfunctions of a team by David Lancioni
Takeaway from this leadership parable: A team doesn’t have to agree on everything, but should support each other when a consensus is reached.
Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry
The second book in the Lonesome Dove series. Gus and Call are getting older. Newt, a key Character in Lonesome Dove, is born. Gus and Call’s characters and personalities are further developed in this book.
Lone Star Legacy: The Texas Rangers Then and Now by Melanie Chrismer
An interesting read about a Texas agency devoted to the public safely of it’s citizens. “One Riot, One Ranger”. I found this through an internet search, and discovered it is written for kids. It was still very informative.
Hound Dog Man by Fred Gipson
A hunting adventure in 19th century Texas, when a young boy gets his first hound dog. Written by Fred Gipson, in 1947. It was his first novel. Of course, he went on to write the calssic, Old Yeller.