Author: Souad Mekhennet
Title: I Was Told to Come Alone
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Publication Info: Tantor Audio (2017)
Note: I received a free copy of the audiobook for this work through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.
This is the memoir of Souad Mekhennet, a journalist raised in Germany but whose parents are from Turkey and Morocco. Inspired by All the President’s Men, Mekhennet goes to journalism school and enters into the business just as the September 11th attacks change the way a woman of Islamic heritage will be received in Europe and the United States. She covers the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the rise of Al Qaeda and Isis, and the major terrorist attacks in Germany, France, and England. She gains unique access to meet jihadists face to face for interviews, goes into war-torn Iraq, visits the Islamic communities in European cities where the attacks on Paris were planned, and helps people mistakenly captured by the CIA. It’s an interesting life story and offers a unique perspective of the past 20 years from someone is both western and Muslim.
Recommended books: Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz
Author: Tim Forbes
Title: It’s Game Time Somewhere: How One Year, 100 Events, and 50 Different Sports Changed My Life
Publication Info: Bascom Hill Publishing Group (2013)
I received this as an e-book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.
In a long preamble to this book, Forbes discusses his lifelong love of sports and his realization as he turned 40 that he could go into sports management as a career. Fast forward ten years of working on golf tournaments and Forbes discovers that he’s losing his passion for the games. To address this, he decides to tour the United States for a year attending 100 sporting events in 50 different sports. Forbes likes golf and works in golf, so the first 40% of this book is very focused on golf. I don’t like golf, so this was a bear to read, although there were interesting details about golf personalities and courses here and there.
Forbes comes to the realization that the big-time sports with athletes living large and the control of ESPN over big events are draining his love of watching sports. Interestingly, he says he finds the behavior of crowds at big events more drunken and violent than a decade earlier. In my own experience, going to a game was scarier in the 70s and 80s but since the 90s there has been more effort to control crowds, manage alcohol consumption, and create a family friendly environment to the point that the game experience is almost too sanitized. Nevertheless, Forbes and I can agree that the real thrill of spectator sports is going to be found in lower-level divisions or in sports that are not in the eye of the big sports media complex.
Forbes makes his discovery when the same player helps win a minor league baseball game that he saw in a college baseball game earlier in the year. His journey changes as begins to embrace minor sports like synchronized swimming, paddling, and high school volleyball. He discovers communities of families, friends, athletes, and dedicated fans around the many different sports. Finally, whether it be adult kickball, curling, or lawn bowl, Forbes finds that the best sports experience come from participation.