These are personal favorites and I'm just starting to put it together. I love reading history, so let's start with a few of the great ones. Lots more non-fiction and fiction coming.
If you like...let me know. If not...recommend something.
The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown: My wife suggested this book when I started rowing for exercise in January (indoor water rower---think "House of Cards"). She knows I love personal stories with historical context, and Brown's book does this beautifully. I had no idea about these nine young men and their coach overcoming incredible odds to compete in the 1936 Nazi Berlin Olympics. The story itself is heroic and inspiring. I would have enjoyed a bit more depth of character, but it's an epic and relatively unknown story well worth reading. If you enjoy stories about overcoming adversity and what it means to become a part of something larger than yourself, you'll love this.
April 1865 by Jay Winik: Where was this book when I was a kid? If books about American history were this compelling when I was in high school...it may have changed my life. Winik's focus on the last month of the Civil War offers insights to character and context that will forever change the way you think about this pivotal time in our history.
(April 1865 was made in to a pretty good documentary, but it's a brilliant foundation for a movie)
Hamilton by Ron Chernow: I bought it when published, but didn't read it until I saw the Broadway musical by Lin Manuel Miranda (thank you Dean Devlin!). The musical is so extraordinary that I had to read the book that inspired it. Chernow is a Pulitzer Prize winner and you can't go wrong diving into any of his books. But, this may be his greatest to date. "How does the bastard, orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a Forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence Impoverished, in squalor Grow up to he a hero and a scholar?" Read Chernow's book to answer this opening line from "Hamilton" on Broadway.
The Path Between The Seas by David McCullough: How did the Panama Canal get built? McCullough is always a gift, but this one is my personal favorite. The vision, tenacity, politics and heroism behind this epic accomplishment are inspiring and humbling.
(Confession: I always wanted to get this made as a mini or limited series for TV. It spans a tremendous amount of time with many characters over many years. One day...)
Hamilton by and starring Lin Manuel-Miranda: You gotta go. Pay the scalper, sign up months in advance, but go see it before Lin Manuel-Miranda leaves the show. Chernow's book which inspired the musical is great, but the leap from book to musical is one of the most brilliant inspirations I've ever experienced. I can't stop listening to the soundtrack...which just won a Grammy. And again, thank you Dean Devlin for inviting me to be his date that night! Impossible ticket!
Maradentro: If you love Mercado on 4th in Santa Monica, you will love Maradentro. Owner Jesse Gomez and his partners are redefining Mexican food. And moving manager Glen Hoiby to Maradentro (from Mercado SM) will only make it even better. The guacamole with lobster and bacon is beyond mouth watering. And if you drink...you'll love their inspired creations. So worth a try! It's at the corner of Barrington and Wilshire in the space formerly occupied by Rockenwagner. Parking in the building....perfect.