Some philosopher named Cicero said something to that affect. I am a true believer in reading. To learn, to stretch the imagination, to boldly go where no man has gone before (oops, that's Star Trek). So, I am going to be so bold as to suggest to you some writers that you have not heard of, may have heard of and not yet tried or also love as an author, as I do.
So, here goes:
Mark Bowden: I got hooked on his writing after I read Black Hawk Down. I then read Killing Pablo, about the US's involvement in trying to track and kill the infamous drug dealer, Pablo Escobar. It is a fascinating read, very much a true life thriller. Then, to learn more about our hostilities with Iran, I read Guests of the Ayatollah about the hostages taken during the Carter administration. Yep, there's old Ahmadinejad right in the middle of the fracas. Read more...
Jon Krakauer: He wrote Into Thin Air and also penned the book that Sean Penn turned into a movie, Into the Wild. The book that is not so well known is non-fiction, Under the Banner of Heaven. It delves into the world of the Mormons. So I don't give away too much of the story
let me say that Krakauer reads an account of two Mormon brothers that kill their sister in law and her daughter because she won't let her husband, a third brother, become a polygamist. Krakauer follows this story and then every other chapter, gives the history of the Mormon religion. It's a fascinating read.
J. Maarten Troost: Mr. Troost is one of those writers who goes out and lives an adventure and then writes about it. The first two books of his I've read have whacked out titles,The Sex Lives Of Cannibals: Adrift in Equatorial Pacific and Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu (yes, the Survivor place). They are very funny travelogues worth a take to the beach. His last book, Lost on Planet China, I read before the Olympics. He is not very kind to the Chinese but the book certainly will take you on a journey you may never yourself take.
Vince Flynn: Put away the "24" DVD's and take up with Flynn's main character, Mitch Rapp, who makes Jack Bauer look like a liberal. I don't know how many books Flynn has published but every one of them is good. My book club read Memorial Day and the book discussion was very lively. Introduce Mitch into your life to vicariously live out your inner aggression. (Update...1/28/14...Unfortunately Mr. Flynn passed away from advanced cancer in 2013.)
Now for the wacky and the weird:
Carl Hiaasen: Carl is a columnist for the Miami Herald alongside his good buddy, Dave Barry. Carl writes about southern Florida, rich with weird and wacky people. I guess his most heralded book is Strip Tease. To give you a better idea of his writing, read this review by Publisher's weekly:
From Publishers Weekly: Inventive blackmail schemes, grisly murders, power politics, greed, revenge and sex all figure in Hiaasen's ( Native Tongue ) latest comic crime novel. At the Eager Beaver, a topless bar in Fort Lauderdale, former FBI clerk Erin Grant dances nightly to pay for legal fees in her custody fight for her young daughter. There David Dilbeck, a poorly disguised, somewhat kinky and imbecilic U.S. Congressman owned by the state's sugar interests, is recognized by a sharp-eyed regular who, infatuated with Erin, initiates a blackmail plan meant to influence her court case. The resulting mayhem, occurring in an election year, involves machinations up to the highest state level, most of which are orchestrated by Dilbeck's arrogant, sleazy lawyer, and leads to an escalating body count that ends in a frenzied revenge caper arranged by the resourceful Erin deep in some sugarcane fields. Dead-on dialogue ("My boots are full of Vaseline," says Dilbeck one night, his only other clothing a black cowboy hat) and clearly limned characters from society's fringes--notably the taciturn, inventive Eager Beaver bouncer; a Cuban cop who works the case off hours; Erin's psychopathic ex, and his sister who raises hybrid wolves outside her double-wide trailer--round out this somewhat coincidence-ridden but consistently entertaining, warm-blooded tale. 60,000 first printing; Literary Guild alternate; author tour. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For the brave only!
Christopher Moore: I've written about Moore before. Remember the "heinous f**kery" post? Some of his titles are; You Suck: A Love Story about vampires, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, enough said, A Dirty Job: A Novel about soul suckers, and Fool: A Novel a take off on King Lear. These are irreverent, totally not politically correct, in your face, laugh out loud funny books. Feeling down? Read one of these. But don't call me and tell me you were offended!
Skeletons On The Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King:
Since we just blew the heads off of some Somali pirates, read about some of the first US sailors held by Muslim captors. It was in the early 1800's when the US was just getting it's shipping fleet to ply the waters of the Atlantic. Many of these ships, as they rounded the Canary Islands, became ship wrecked. Here they were taken captive by hostile native tribesman and were reduced to lives of torture, enslavement and death. This is the tale of the crew of the US Commerce. It's not pretty but it will keep you riveted to see whether they survived.