In 1997, Sebastian Junger wrote a great book called The Perfect Storm
. The phrase, "a perfect storm" is used when multiple things come together to create an extraordinary experience.
That thought fleeted through my mind last night as I sat reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom
, because, including Freedom
, I'm actually reading three brilliant books in three rather different genres.
I didn't want to like Freedom
, due to the hype, but it is totally worthy of all the praise it has been getting. I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction, but this is a brilliant story told brilliantly.
In the biography genre, I am reading Ron Chernow's fantastic Washington, A Life
. I have been a fan of Chernow for years, and in fact, his classic Titan
about John D. Rockefeller was included in The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
In the business genre, I am reading Steven Johnson's fascinating book about innovation called Where Good Ideas Come From
. Johnson is one of the best writers of "big idea" books, books that look at a common subject and use unpredictable stories combining history and science and the like to illuminate the subject a different way. In the process, we as readers, learn to look at business more holistically...and enjoyably.
In the many years I have been in the book business, I can't remember a time when I so looked forward to sitting and reading books from multiple genres at the same time. These three books have ignited a passion for reading that I haven't felt in a long time.
For all the talk of the decline of publishing, this embarrassment of riches reminds me that there is plenty of life left in the industry.