Nonfiction that reads like a novel. Traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder, and a homeless teen rower. This book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together — a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism. Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, this is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times — the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There's Life After Death ~ by Annie Kagan, 2013
A few weeks after his death, William Cohen, aka Billy Fingers, woke his sister Annie at dawn. "I'm drifting weightlessly through these glorious stars and galaxies and I feel a Divine Presence, a kind, loving, beneficent presence, twinkling all around me." Billy's ongoing after-death communications take his sister on an unprecedented journey into the bliss and wonder of life beyond death. Billy's profound, detailed description of the mystical realms he traverses, the Beings of Light that await him, and the wisdom he receives take the reader beyond the near-death experience. Billy is, indeed, as Dr. Raymond Moody points out in his foreword, explaining the phenomenon we've known about since ancient times: an afterworld walker. To quote Billy: "If I could give you a gift, it would be to find the glory inside yourself, beyond the roles and the drama, so you can dance of the game of life with a little more thythm, a little more abandon, a little more shaking-those-hips."
As the book opens, Dr. Jennifer White’s best friend, Amanda, who lived down the block, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed from her hand. Dr. White is the prime suspect and she herself doesn’t know whether she did it. Told in White’s own voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between these life-long friends — two proud, forceful women who were at times each other’s most formidable adversaries. As the investigation into the murder deepens and White’s relationships with her live-in caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: Is White’s shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it? A startling portrait of a disintegrating mind clinging to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame, and unspeakable loss, this novel examines the deception and frailty of memory and how it defines our very existence.Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages us to share the names of books we checked out of the library. See what others got this week.