2004 Twain Book Awards

2004 Twain Book Awards


1)    The Big Horse (Joe McGinniss)

2)    God on the Starting Line (Marc Bloom)

3)    Drop City (T.C. Boyle)

4)    The Darling (Russell Banks)

5)    The Doctor’s Wife (Elizabeth Brundage)


The Big Horse -  What a fun book to read during the racing season at Saratoga.  McGinniss spent a month following famous horse trainer P.G. Johnson at Saratoga during the summer of 2003.  Johnson is a real original, a working class trainer who finally got his big horse Volponi during the last few year’s of his illustrious career.  The book is really about overcoming loss, and it’s as much about the comeback of the author as it is about the trainer.  I also loved reading about Saratoga.


God on the Starting Line – Journalist and runner Marc Bloom takes a job coaching cross country at a small Catholic High School in New Jersey.  Bloom, who is Jewish, learns a little bit about what it means to be Catholic, and his runners learn a little bit about what it means to be Jewish.  I read this book during my wonderfully exciting cross country season of 2004, and I loved all the drama of the races.   It captures some of the reasons why I love to coach.


Drop City – During our jaded times of today it was fun to read a book about the 1960’s when a group of young people really felt like they could change the world.  I also loved the characterization, and the experiences they encountered up in Alaska.  T.C. Boyle is always a fun writer.


The Darling – Russell Banks does an excellent job at combining the activism of the 1960’s and life in Liberia.  The story follows Hannah Musgrave as she transforms herself from loving affluent daughter to counter culture revolutionary then to ex-patriot American and mother and finally to Adirondack farmer.  The story combines excellent characterization with a strong adventure story.


The Doctor’s Wife – Elizabeth Brundage has written a first novel that really shook me up.  It’s a tale of infidelity, prejudice, and also a psychological thriller.  The story takes place in and around Albany, and it follows two couples who struggle to do what is right.  This is a book you won’t forget after you read it.




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