Men’s Book Group Chooses 2011 Book(s) of the Year

  • Posted on: 11 December 2011
  • By: TedG
Though an observer standing at the corner of Kavanaugh Street and County M on November 11th might have thought it another quiet evening in Cable, a peek inside the warmly-lighted interior of the Ideal Market would have found high-minded and insightful discussion swirling at the first Men’s Book Group “Book of the Year” event.


The red carpet event hosted by Redbery Books and The Rivers Eatery was attended by local literary luminaries Barry Blakeborough, Adrian Wydeven, Ron Caple, and Ted Gostomski. Fellow luminary John Sill, a Town of Namakagon firefighter, was participating in a live-fire training event and so sent his votes by email.


There were nine candidates:


  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen
  • A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto by Jorge Ramos
  • The Devil's Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • From Microsoft to Malawi by Michael Buckler
  • The Overton Window by Glenn Beck
  • Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille


The group had only recently begun reading the year’s final book: Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, so to give it a fair review and consideration for Book of the Year, it will be considered for the 2012 Book of the Year.


The competition was fierce, the debate lively, the arguments deeply impassioned and well reasoned. In the end, two winners emerged – one each of non-fiction and fiction. They are………. (drum roll) ……. The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea and The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille.


Of The Devil’s Highway, the group felt “it wove a good [story] into a nonfiction tale”, and it brought to light the very real peril of illegal immigration and just how far it reaches into people’s lives. The Lion’s Game was noted as being well-written and a “purely enjoyable read.”


When it was all over, the table around which the men sat was littered with books and paper, empty plates and glasses. The conversation had taken its toll. The group was sated. One by one, they shuffled out the door and into the quiet November evening. No paparazzi crowded around and no reporters sought interviews, but we knew we had fought the good fight. And we will do it again next year.