Here are some books I’ve read in the past few days that I’d like to recommend. As you can see, they run the gamut:
Wisdom from the Batcave: How to Live a Super, Heroic Life by Cary A. Friedman. This is Batman as mussar, ethics. A slim and lovely volume that goes to the core of why we love this crime-fighter. Rabbi Friedman does a superb job of teasing moral lessons from the darkly lit Batcave.
The Essential Writings of Abraham Isaac Kook, Edited, Translated and Introduced by Ben Zion Bokser. This fine book consists of letters, aphorisms and excerpts from larger essays and other writings selected to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the thought and writings of Rav Kook, one of the great Jewish thinkers of the Twentieth Century.
The Golden West, by Daniel Fuchs. This might be one of the best books ever written about Hollywood by a working screenwriter. Fuchs wrote three well-received novels. They did not sell. He was brought out to Hollywood in 1939, and he stayed. He was not bitter. He was not angry. He was grateful for the sunshine, for the opportunity to make a good living. Fuchs understood the business and he also understood that the men and women who made the movies were a special breed inventing a new kind of culture. If you care about the real Hollywood, do not miss this book. There’s also a fine introduction by John Updike.
On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K.A Kitchen Hey kids, guess what, the Torah is, uh, reliable. Actually, this is an extremely serious and scholarly refutation of the “minimalist school” by a Professor of Archeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England. My father has another name for the minimalists: Jew-haters.
A War Like No Other by Victor Davis Hanson. How Athens and Sparta fought on land and sea. It’s all here: tactics, torture, targeted assasinations, terrorism. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Every page drips with lessons for our war on terror. Hanson is our Clausewitz, our greatest philosopher on war.
I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown. Okay, I’ve finally learned how to crack an egg without getting eggshell in my omelette. Alton Brown is the Clausewitz of the kitchen; a warrior with a spatula.