Right by the Bay is proud to present our annual tradition – PRI’s 2021 holiday book list. Each year, we offer suggestions for the booklover on your holiday shopping list. This year’s selections include fiction, classics, books on history and sports, and books that will make you think.
With America’s ongoing supply chain issues wreaking havoc on holiday shoppers, books are a good gift choice this holiday season as there are millions of books in stock and ready to give as gifts at your neighborhood bookstore.
On behalf of everyone at PRI, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Tim Anaya – Letters to a Future Champion: My Time with Mr. Pulver by Dottie Pepper
If you enjoy watching golf legend Dottie Pepper’s stellar on course coverage during CBS’s PGA Tour telecasts, this book is a must read. Thumbing through the pages, you’ll read several years of hand-written letters from a young Dottie Pepper during her formative high school and college years, and the typewritten responses she received from her mentor and coach back home in New York, George Pulver. Dottie shares her recollections on how this correspondence and their relationship shaped her as a student of the game of golf, a competitor who would compete and win at the highest levels, and as a leader, teacher, mentor, and communicator in her own right. It’s a terrific read even for those who aren’t golf fanatics as you’ll learn a lot about leadership, character and life lessons – plus, it’s perhaps one of the most beautifully designed books you’ll read.
Bartlett Cleland – The Myth of Artificial Intelligence by Erik Larson
Whether one sees a dystopian future fueled by technology or is a believer in an empowered future-scape of technology driven betterment, The Myth of Artificial Intelligence is a good read. The premise is simple, that AI will not replace or even begin to equate with human intelligence. A human’s thinking, including intuition, best guesses based on how things “really” work, conjecture and emotion all create a sort of intelligence we simply do not know how to replicate. AI on the other hand is built on inductive reasoning, taking a look at data form past results to predict a most likely outcome in the future. Dystopians can relax knowing that a new artificial superintelligence will arise to destroy humanity. Techno-optimists may rejoice that increasingly powerful computing will help take on increasingly difficult tasks, becoming a powerful new tool to better humanity. He argues that for real progress science should help us better understand the true intelligence we already know, that is, our own.
Laura Dannerbeck – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Imagine “traveling” to a magical library, and perusing through an infinite selection of books detailing true versions of your life along with possible versions of your life? All aspects of a life may be infinitely different, better, worse and more (or less) meaningful based on choices we make, opinions and opportunities through the way we choose to live our lives.
Evan Harris – A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn by James Donovan
I’m slowly reading through big moments in American history. Last year, I read a lot about the American Civil War and have no worked into the American and Native American encounters in the west. I’m currently reading A Terrible Glory, which gives a more detailed account of Custer and the Little Bighorn. It’s an older book, published in 2008, but I’m learning a lot of fascinating things on both sides of the story.
Rowena Itchon – Lady Editor: Sarah Josepha Hale and the Making of the Modern American Woman by Melanie Kirkpatrick
Sarah Josepha Hale was the editor of the most popular women’s magazine in America in the nineteenth century, publishing prominent American writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Hale championed women for higher education and was responsible for popularizing Christmas trees, white wedding dresses, the polka, and penning the nursery rhyme Mary had a Little Lamb. And finally, we have Hale to thank for lobbying hard to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. A truly remarkable woman.
Lance Izumi – The Annotated Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My favorite work for the holiday season has always been Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Many people love Dickens’ story of sin and redemption and I would highly recommend The Annotated Christmas Carol, which includes the original story, plus Michael Patrick Hearn’s great introduction and annotations.
Kerry Jackson – Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child
Those of us who dive deeply into politics and public policy on a daily basis often need to escape to where the problems are defined by bright lines instead of shades of gray, and the resolutions more immediate. No one provides a better get-away than Jack Reacher, the tough-but-fair character of more than two dozen books from Lee Child. After 2020’s somewhat disappointing The Sentinel, the latest installment puts the franchise back on track.
Henry Miller – First Friends by Gary Ginsberg
In his new book, Gary Ginsberg, a lawyer, corporate executive, and former government official, writes engagingly about nine different friendships and their impact on ten different presidencies. (The reason the book looks at more presidencies than friendships is that one of the friendships—that of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—was itself between two presidents.) It serves as a reminder that presidents are also people.
Sally Pipes – American Marxism by Mark Levin
Mark Levin’s latest book American Marxism, published by Simon & Schuster, is a bestseller that has been #1 on the New York Times non-fiction list for many weeks. Over 1 million copies have been sold. This brilliant, informative book delves deep into the roots of Marxism and shows how the progressive liberals are transferring these ideals into America. It is time for Americans to wake up to what is happening to our country. American Marxism is a must read.
Ben Smithwick – The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III by Andrew Roberts
This well-researched account of the life of King George III challenges common perceptions about the monarch – who is often dismissed as a crazy tyrant. Roberts takes a balanced approach as he masterfully tells the story of George’s reign and the political environment of England and the United States at the time.