On Words For Fun

April 23, 2024 09:09 AM By Paul Boucher

I wanted to lighten up after yesterday’s legit rant at a client using AI to clone my voice without payment or permission.

Last week was National Librarian’s Day, but today is “Look Ahead to Next Book Club” day. 😁

One of the reasons I genuinely enjoy almost everything I read from clients in my voice acting career is that I love to read. I love to learn. 

One of the cherries on my life cake is this: I’ve been part of a men’s book club called Liquor and Letters for over twenty years. On the first Tuesday of every month, the guys get together—all seven of us, when we’re lucky—and enjoy a craft beer or two with pizza. Then, we share a new bottle of whisky while we talk about the book, the various things in our lives that the book brings up, and whatever conversational road presents itself.

When we met earlier in April, we figured that we’d enjoyed over 250 books and the same number of whiskies together.
Today, I thought I’d share some of that literary bounty.

First, let me say this I don’t think you could come up with such a strangely, organically complimentary group of guys from a book standpoint if you tried.

Every one of these guys has a diverse range of interests, and yes, there are “types”, but even when we run against type, there have been such terrific surprises that we *never* would have sought out on our own – and that’s the point isn’t it? To metaphorically go down every road less travelled that we wouldn’t choose ourselves?

I loved every one of these books for different reasons. Sometimes it was just the writing. Sentences so beautiful you want to frame and preserve them. Amor Towles, Niall Williams and Ray Bradbury are three of the authors in this short list that did that for me. 

This is Happiness - Niall Williams

In Niall Williams’s This Is Happiness, the ¾ of a page revelation of the title phrase’s meaning was so powerfully arrived at and told that I cried. I left that book for my librarian mom. You know you love a book when you can’t wait to share it and hope that person loves it as much as you do.

Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury

Dandelion Wine is a Bradbury classic that perfectly crystallizes “boy”, “boyhood,” and nostalgia. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Its sequel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, is rated one of the best books of the 20th century, but it would be a toss-up which of those two I’d rank higher.

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow is a beautifully told story of a man you’ll wish you knew. And so eloquently laid out that your world is left just a bit more beautiful by the telling.

Caddyshack: The Making of... - Chris Nashawaty

Sometimes it’s the absurdity of something so messed up, you can’t believe anything good came out of it. That’d be the Caddyshack story. 

A History of Canada in Ten Maps - Adam Shoalts

History told like it *should* be, with life-or-death stakes, villains, antiheroes, and every shade of person in between. And that’s Canadian history as told by Adam Shoalts in A History of Canada In Ten Maps. Among other nuggets in that one is the cartographer who mapped the Pacific Northwest before Lewis and Clark and who *almost* succeeded in Canada having a border south of the 49th! 

The Wager - David Grann

History again, this time in The Wager. It’s the incredible true story of a British shipwreck in the 1700’s that had amazing adventure, the utter futility of war, incredible courage, close calls, tragedy, cannibalism, and the origin of the British Navy that would go on to be the backbone of the world’s biggest ever empire, the British empire. And there’s more!  I mean you can’t believe what happens page after page!

American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt is a book that makes a mockery of the pampered, orange-tinged life of a certain racist US politician, and tells the harrowing story of true courage facing life and death daily to make it to America from deep inside Mexico.

The Anomaly - Hervé Le Tellier

The Anomaly (not the same story as the mediocre TV show) makes you really wonder about free will. It’s a brilliant blend of crime, fantasy, sci-fi and thriller. I never summarize this one well, so I’ll borrow phrases from the publisher: “In June 2021, a senseless event upends the lives of hundreds of men and women, all passengers on a flight from Paris to New York. Among them: Blake, a respectable family man, though he works as a contract killer; Slimboy, a Nigerian pop star tired of living a lie; Joanna, a formidable lawyer whose flaws have caught up with her; and Victor Miesel, a critically acclaimed yet commercially unsuccessful writer who suddenly becomes a cult hit.

All of them believed they had double lives. None imagined just how true that was.”

There are so many more, but I quickly cherry-picked from the most recent couple of pages of our book database (of course, we have a book database. Ditto one for the whiskies!).


I hope one of these books piques your interest. If it does, and you enjoy it, then Pay It Forward.


Thank you for reading. As you can tell, it’s a passion and pleasure of mine to share books and stories. 😃