Top Ten 2013 Most Impressive Books!

--- Deeply unique books leave indelible impressions on us. We don’t forget them.

--- The premises are superlative. Generally the title contains the premise.

--- The composing is musical. Sentence to sentence sort of like holds hands.

--- The word choice rocks. A writing artisan uses words like musical chairs.

--- The dialogue is all uptown. “I’ve done come up off all my knees to make it abundantly clear; rockin’ phenomenal stories are handled by off the chart storytellers!”

It gives me great joy and pleasure to highlight, serenade, and share some very fine work; The Best Books Read this Year!

from ashes to africa by Josh and Amy Bottomly.  “I’ll admit it, I cried and cried reading from ashes to africa. The story is incredibly inspirational, supported by Frederick Buechner's inserted quote: "Writing is really quite simple; all you have to do is sit down at your typewriter and open a vein."”

Between You & Me by Mike Wallace. “A wonderfully genuine and affecting memoir, and quite humorous too, particularly the first five chapters. I think Streisand had a point, which surprised me that her point touched Mike the way it did.”

The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov. “This non-fiction autobiographical work is a cherishable absolute must. Aside from Frederick’s awe-inspiring business acumen built on intelligence, charm, and courage, this account teems with historical references of multifaceted affairs taking place all over the world, and is weaved into an unforgettable account.”

Don’t Block the Blessings by Patti LaBelle. “Can I scream her name! No wonder where she gets that big, beautiful voice. Yes, there’s the pain, the tears, and hardships, but not without a fight, straddling deep reflective anecdotes, and many, many laughs to wade through the tough spots.”

To the Moon and Timbuktu by Nina Sovich. “The vivid 'Motherland' landscapes and tapestry described in this memoir; its rich history explored, and the colorful people Nina encountered and befriended, along with the inclusion of explorations written in other travel journals, were most riveting. Those scents, sounds, tastes, and soul-filled climates and experiences will likely be with me forever.”

Kicking and Dreaming by Ann and Nancy Wilson. “My favorite, the most fascinating part about this memoir was reading its serene tone often describing what I'm going to call very noisy events. I mean, TV's in hotels found at the bottom of pools (during some of these touring engagements) flowed across pages as if a morning zephyr was being described blowing through an open window. I loved this vibe, to the very harmonious end.”

Farewell, My Beijing by Chi Newman. “This was an especially delicious memoir. I honestly couldn't get enough of the writing voice. It's so distinct I believe I could pick it out among a crowd of strangers. I would've loved to read more Chi stories. She's a very charismatic storyteller.”

I Shall Not Want by Terri Lyons. I was empowered and uplifted by this memoir, although questioned if it was the author’s job to do this. This is a challenging feat for most writers, balancing our personal trials and tribulations with passionate enlightenment, which is what renders I Shall Not Want evocatively beautiful in its resilience to evoke emotion.”

The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem. “I was levitated by the versatile suitability each of the ‘Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster’ project. Having read many business books, this is one of the very few where the case-examples are not only succinct and currently relevant, but quite captivating on top of it. Very valuable lessons applicable for everyone.”

How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston. “And this one here… I need another square of paper and more elbow-room to elucidate how ‘How to Be Black’ made my list. In short, I remembered a lot more of the content over the others. My mental eraser just wasn’t strident enough to erase… the swimming lesson, and the chapter on ‘How to Be The Black Employee’; particularly the company photo and that dancing skit, along with the chapters on ‘How to Be The Angry Negro’ and the next black president. Distractions were all over the place, except for Thurston’s mother, whose prose really impressed me.”

I thank each of the authors for writing books that have not only touched me deeply, but for mentoring me both professionally and personally. My Best Gifts this Year!