With seemingly every website this time of year supplying gift ideas, I figured I’d suggest some books, only with a twist: two of them are by friends of mine, the other features pictures of my brother. (And I reckon there isn’t another site that recommends books about such disparate subjects.)
- Anytime, Baby! Hail and Farewell to the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat by Erik Hildebrandt, Dale Snodgrass (foreword), and Dave Parsons (commentary). My younger brother, a former F-14 pilot who now flies the F-18 Super Hornet, is in a few of the photos. Hence I’ve seen a lot of pictures of Navy planes. Hildebrandt’s photography is the best I’ve encountered. He does a great job of capturing the grace and beauty of the Tomcat, while still showing it as an agent of warfare. A review on Amazon mentioned some editing concerns. The critique is accurate, but the great photographs make the text almost extraneous (this review is probably the first time I’ve called the text of a book irrelevant).
- Class Dismissed: 75 Outrageous, Mind-Expanding College Exploits (and Lessons That Won’t Be on the Final) by Ben Applebaum, Derrick Pittman, and Ryan McNally. Ben, Derrick, and Ryan went to Wake Forest when I was there and they run the website CollegeStories.com. This book is the follow-up to Ben and Derrick’s Turd Ferguson & the Sausage Party: An Uncensored Guide to College Slang (they were kind enough to mention me in both books’ acknowledgements). Class Dismissed features the best of the thousands of stories their site has received (my favorite is Canty’s Obituary Revenge).
- Project 20/20: The Experiment by Karen Adler Feeley. I’ve worked with Karen for over a year on the Department of Defense’s National Security Personal System (NSPS) project. Just a few weeks ago she told me that she’d published this book (one of the negatives about freelancing is that it’s harder to know your co-workers’ other interests). It’s about four teenagers who are “offered the chance to journey forward through time in search of their dream lives.”