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The Wave, In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey
Casey looks at the huge waves (100 feet or more) that occasionally develop on the oceans, and the brave (or foolhardy) people who pursue them. Scientists and surfers alike are challenged by their need to understand or conquer them. Climate change is likely the culprit behind the development of some the biggest monster waves. Casey informs the reader about the science and suspense behind these powerful forces of nature. NYT reviewed the book favorably when it was published.
Drama: An Actor's Education by John Lithgow
Lithgow has written an absorbing memoir about his childhood and his years as a struggling actor, both on stage and screen. Memoirs are difficult to write completely honestly since most authors self-censor their stories; Lithgow's account reveals a good deal but probably masks some parts of his life which he doesn't examine too closely. While the book reads in some ways like a love letter to his family and his chosen profession, one gets the sense that there was more tension in his life which he doesn't impart to the reader. He writes of his life with a sardonic sense of humor and doesn't flinch from taking responsibility for his mistakes. His book provides a very detailed description of the entire acting profession, from the travails of unemployment to the euphoria of landing a significant role that can make or break a career. It is actually a very detailed CV of his entire acting career. Acting aside, I found his introductory chapter to be the most moving passage in the entire book. He writes very touchingly and openly about caring for his elderly parents, especially his father, in their later declining years. In this chapter, Lithgow reminisces about his childhood growing up with siblings who were close to him, as well as two parents who provided a loving if peripatetic existence for them. Mostly, it's the story of a man who chose a profession he loves and followed a path leading to fulfillment. His book received a warm review in the Times.