Certainly not life-altering, but a pleasant read from an affable, amusing narrator.

THREE WAYS TO CAPSIZE A BOAT

AN OPTIMIST AFLOAT

A modern-day Pollyanna takes to the high seas, cheerfully navigating obstacles on a somewhat random but ultimately moving voyage.

After a “brief brush with fame and fortune” as the original drummer for Genesis, Stewart “plunged into a life of well-deserved obscurity, but…great contentment.” Moving from job to job in London, the author caught a break when a friend’s wealthy relatives hired him to captain a sailboat for them. He accepted immediately, ignoring the pertinent detail that he had never actually sailed before. Clearly hijinks were in order, beginning with his arrival in Greece to find that the boat was being held by a curmudgeonly handyman. A crash course at a London sailing school turned out to be just that—on Stewart’s first journey, he careened into a dock. The author eventually grew accustomed to the nautical life, and the winter after his gig in Greece ended, he took another unexpected opportunity—a longer journey across the Atlantic tracing Leif Eriksson’s route to Newfoundland. The crew was larger on this voyage, allowing Stewart to share the responsibilities, but the challenges of the five-month-long trip were considerable nonetheless. Daily life on the sea was difficult, with temperatures that made it almost impossible to bathe, and endless meals of salted meats. There were moments of profound beauty—starlit skies and a team of new friends that managed, for the most part, to work together in harmony despite trying conditions—but this was hardly a pleasure cruise, with plenty of intense seasickness, hypothermia, life-threatening storms and aching boredom. Meanwhile, a romance back home was proving to be serious, and Stewart had to confront the fact that his years of wanderlust might not be as boundless as he had thought.

Certainly not life-altering, but a pleasant read from an affable, amusing narrator.

Pub Date: May 25, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-307-59237-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.

WHEN THE GAME WAS OURS

NBA legends Bird and Johnson, fierce rivals during their playing days, team up on a mutual career retrospective.

With megastars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and international superstars like China’s Yao Ming pushing it to ever-greater heights of popularity today, it’s difficult to imagine the NBA in 1979, when financial problems, drug scandals and racial issues threatened to destroy the fledgling league. Fortunately, that year marked the coming of two young saviors—one a flashy, charismatic African-American and the other a cocky, blond, self-described “hick.” Arriving fresh off a showdown in the NCAA championship game in which Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans defeated Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores—still the highest-rated college basketball game ever—the duo changed the course of history not just for the league, but the sport itself. While the pair’s on-court accomplishments have been exhaustively chronicled, the narrative hook here is unprecedented insight and commentary from the stars themselves on their unique relationship, a compelling mixture of bitter rivalry and mutual admiration. This snapshot of their respective careers delves with varying degrees of depth into the lives of each man and their on- and off-court achievements, including the historic championship games between Johnson’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics, their trailblazing endorsement deals and Johnson’s stunning announcement in 1991 that he had tested positive for HIV. Ironically, this nostalgic chronicle about the two men who, along with Michael Jordan, turned more fans onto NBA basketball than any other players, will likely appeal primarily to a narrow cross-section of readers: Bird/Magic fans and hardcore hoop-heads.

Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-547-22547-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more