A compelling read from the start, you are immediately drawn into the story when nineteen-year-old Augustus (Augie) Sweetwater wakes up tethered by chains and shoeless in a dark and dank locale. Enraged by his circumstance he struggles with remembering just how he got there. As the story changes perspectives you meet his Great Uncle Charlie Sweetwater. He’s a 68 year old, impetuous type of free spirit, with an assortment of boats, former owner of a semi-successful business and a small assortment of likable, colorful friends. Raul, Augie’s father, contacts Charlie when Augie, although known to hold the family trait of being “free wheeling”, remains unaccounted for, after two days of failing to make contact while on a business trip along the Mexican gulf. While Raul worries that his son is really a missing person, Charlie believes that he may have made a pit stop along the way and merely forgot to call anyone. However, the mystery and adventure takes on momentum when the feeling that something is amiss hounds Charlie as well as Raul, subsequently leading them to initiating an intense search for Augie. As a result, each man embarks on separate missions to find Augustus, with their excursions bringing them into contact with, friends, danger, corruption and oddball acquaintances.
1. The Feel
There is just something about holding an entire book in your hands and feeling the pages as you turn it. There’s a connection to the material that doesn’t seem to happen when you read on a mobile device. As books age, they also sort of pick up a book-y smell that is quite comforting. The whole process of reading becomes an immersive experience.
2. They’re Better For Your Health
We’ve all heard it so many time before. The eerie glow from our electronic devices is slowly killing us. Sure, that’s probably a little extreme. I mean, just about everything is “killing us” these days, but it really does affect your health. Especially if you’re reading at bedtime with all other lights off. Your body responds to the light your electronic reading device and it can dramatically affect your ability to fall asleep and also how you sleep throughout the night. In fact, the best recommendation for bedtime is to read a traditional book until you get tired. If you’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, just take a week to read an actually physical book instead of looking at an electronic device thirty minutes before you fall asleep. I guarantee you’ll start to sleep much more soundly.
3. The Feeling of Accomplishment
Each books you finish is sort of like a trophy that you can keep forever. You can proudly display it for guests as a conversation started. You can do this with three or four books or you can have an entire room devoted to it. Personal libraries are quite impressive and there is an air of intelligence and sophistication that comes with a room like that. Build it up, take pride, share your favorites with your guests. Good luck doing that with an eReader. Or, if you don’t care to build your collection, you get to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it.
From the story’s outset, readers will find they are immediately engrossed in the life of protagonist Dr. Hiram McDowell. He lives a dual existence in his world which teems, with wealth, opportunity and privilege. To the outside world he wears the facade of an ambitious humanitarian and expert in his field, but to those who know him more intimately he is morally flawed with only his own interests and needs at heart.
Altogether, McDowell severely lacks in common human decency; he is crude to his family, ignores and openly cheats on his wife, looks only to serve his goals within his profession, revels in deceptiveness, steps on the toes of colleagues and misappropriated charitable funds. Moreover, the focus of the story is not just mainly on McDowell; it also brings into focus his family dynamic and the effects that his behavior therefore has on his family, particularly his two closest children.
Ultimately, he makes enemies out of those that once trusted him and perpetuates conflicts of self- esteem within those that attempt to love him. An almost seemingly hopeless cause, it piques the curiosity to see where things go for him. Eventually McDowell’s moral deficiencies become his complete downfall and he is consequently forced to live a life of poverty and solitude with his wealth, fame and power far removed from his life. Forced to live as an itinerant fugitive, and meanwhile, surviving by his wits, he gradually learns, to humble himself and become a more humane human for his survival among everyday folk.
If you want to know more about a person, ask what books they read? That is one of the best ways to find out what makes a person tick, how they think, what is in their head. If I see someone who is very successful, meaning happy and healthy, I want to know what books they read. I met a person once who looked much younger than his age. He told me he practices yoga and eats good food. He recommended a book to me, The China Study. I bought the book and read it and I am so glad I did. It confirmed many things I knew, and now I know for sure and why. It is always a treat when I can get a recommendation for a book to read.
I will now state the obvious. If you want to be healthy, read a book about nutrition, and exercise. If you want to be financially independent, read books about finances and how others became that way. If you want to be better at sports, read books about sports. If you want to know more about what is going on in the world or about the lives of the famous and not so famous, there are many books to choose from. Some books you can read over and over again. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill comes to mind.
The Bible says you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2. We have the power each day to shape our thoughts, if we choose to. What is on your best books list? What books have you read in the past year, and how have they affected you. Would you recommend any of these books to others? Are they keepers to read again one day, or do you give them away? Is there a skill or knowledge that you would like to have or learn about? What books would you like to read in this coming year? Do you read all of the same types of books or do you read books on a variety of subjects? Is there anyone who you would like to learn more about? Believe it or not, you can learn more about Donald Trump by reading some of the many biographies about him. I have read many books about him, and that is why I know he will make an outstanding president. I wonder what is on his best books list.