Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Spring Reading 2018

I read approximately 50 books a year and my reading list is even longer. Below are a few of the books I’m reading or have already read this spring, along with their official synopses.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

A Major Production by Thomas B. Sawyer

Manhattan P.I. Barney Moon doesn’t drive, and is stuck once again on the to-him alien planet known as Los Angeles. To Barney’s relief, it’s only one or two nights in Nutsville, a total no-brainer quickie. A simple fraud matter. Except – wouldn’tcha know? Barney quickly finds himself in the middle of several serious, whacko, very dangerous cases of WEBIT? (Where Else But In Tinseltown?).

In A MAJOR PRODUCTION!, New York Private-eye Barney Moon’s latest reluctant-but-thankfully-very brief journey to his least-favorite city in the World quickly becomes complicated – and terrifyingly, uniquely extended. For starters, there’s the pair of massively, desperately bored Homeland Security Agents who see a way out via Hollywood Success (almost their only areas of agreement), plus a crooked talent agent, an obsessed/ambitious ADA, an ineptly-planned, fake-terrorist plot – based on a stolen screenplay – to attack Los Angeles, harried LAPD Homicide Detectives, their already overflowing plates made maddeningly worse by Barney’s latest intrusion(s) onto their turf – until he unexpectedly and weirdly makes them look like heroes, the murder on Sunset Boulevard of a mob boss’s actress-wife, wannabes with outsized Movieland Dreams – and for Barney, a ticking clock – its deadline: his life.

With smart, gorgeous Melodie Seaver at the wheel – and on his case – Barney Moon, with his customary wit, tenacity, ingenuity, and hilarious attitudes about-and-reactions-to LA, manages to clean up all of it – in ways not possible or even thinkable anywhere else – barely in time to rescue himself from execution by the mob – before making his narrow escape back to Civilization (aka New York City). Well-l-l, Almost…Murder, She Wrote: A Date With Murder by Donald Bain and Jon Land

Jessica Fletcher takes up the case of her good friend Barbara “Babs” Wirth after Babs’ husband Hal suffers a fatal heart attack that Jessica has reason to believe was actually murder. At the heart of her suspicions lies a sinister dating site Hal had used while he and Babs were having marital issues, a site that may be complicit in somehow swindling him out of millions.
 
Jessica’s investigation reveals that Hal was far from the only victim and when his former business partner is also killed, a deadly pattern emerges. Jessica teams up with a brilliant young computer hacker to follow the trail but as she gets closer to the truth, two near misses force her to realize that she may very well be the next victim.

The stakes have never been this high as Jessica finds herself being stalked by the killer she is trying to catch. She must now set the perfect trap to avoid her very own date with murder.Slobberknocker: My Life In Wrestling by Jim Ross

Slobberknocker is the story of how an Oklahoman farm kid, with a vivid imagination and seemingly unattainable dreams, became “The Voice of Wrestling” to record TV audiences and millions of fans around the world.

Jim opens up about his life as an only child on a working farm, who became obsessed with professional wrestling having first saw it on his grandparent’s TV. Even though the wrestling business was notoriously secretive and wary of “outsiders,” he somehow got a foot in the door to start a historic career, one where he held almost every job in the business―from putting up the ring to calling matches, from driving his blind, drunk boss towards revenge, to consoling two naked 600 pound brothers in the shower room after a rough match.

With all those adventures and responsibilities, he’s also recognized as the man who built and nurtured a once-in-a-generation talent roster that took the WWE to new heights, including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar, and The Rock to name a few. Readers will finally get the opportunity to hear never-before-told stories about the politics, wackiness, and personalities of all the biggest stars.

But this isn’t just a wrestling story. It’s a story about overcoming adversity and achieving your dreams, as success did not come without significant costs and unforeseen challenges to JR, including multiple bouts of severe facial paralysis called Bell’s Palsy.

61 Hours by Lee Child

A bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses.
 
Reacher’s original plan was to keep on moving. But the next 61 hours will change everything. The secrets are deadlier and his enemies are stronger than he could have guessed—but so is the woman he’ll risk his life to save.Don’t Stop Believin’: The Man, The Band, And The Song That Inspired Generations by Jonathan Cain

From One of the Greatest Bands in History Comes a Reminder to Never Give Up Hope. In this long-awaited memoir, complete with color photographs, songwriter and keyboardist Jonathan Cain takes us on an odyssey from center stage with Journey when all America was listening to songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms,” to his hope and faith today. He tells of the thrilling moments when the music came together and offers an inside look at why Steve Perry left and the extraordinary story of their gifted new vocalist, Arnel Pineda.

When Jonathan Cain and the iconic band Journey were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cain could say he had finally arrived. But Cain’s journey wasn’t always easy – and his true arrival in life had more to do with faith than fame.

As a child, Cain survived a horrific school fire that killed nearly 100 of his classmates. His experience formed a resilience that would carry him through both tragedy and success. Moving from Chicago to Sunset Boulevard, Cain never let go of his dreams, eventually getting his big break with Journey – and writing the songs that would become the soundtrack of a generation.

Don’t Stop Believin’ is an epic story of one man’s dream that takes you from playing old-country songs at an Italian Deli in Chicago and his experiences with a warm, encouraging father who died too soon, to suddenly writing mega-bestselling songs with some of the most talented musicians and performers ever to take the stage of some of the world’s largest arenas. The song “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the most downloaded song of all time, and is one that has been covered by major televisions shows and adopted by a whole new generation.

Through a wonderful retrospective of music that takes us right to the present, Jonathan Cain reminds us of the melodies and lyrics that serve as milestones for our biggest dreams as they call us to never stop believing.

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2 thoughts on “Spring Reading 2018

  1. Joy Taylor on said:

    I have officially added 61 hours and After Anna to my summer reading list. Thank you Michael for the suggestions.

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