As a high school English teacher for 25+ years, Cary was exposed to a wide variety of genres, from classics to YA to modern novels to children’s books, and everything in between. Mostly a reader of Sci-Fi when he was younger, he now considers himself a more eclectic reader, diving into romance, historical fiction/non-fiction, mystery, and fiction. But through it all, nothing beats a good war story.
Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives In World War II
Hardcover/February 19, 2019
Cary’s Thoughts: A riveting story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of Germany during WWII, Spearhead shows us up close some of the horrors of warfare, and the price soldiers have to pay. Part fact, part history, and part memoir, Makos once again chronicles the intense human drama that is war
From the author of the international bestseller A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.
When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter.
At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit.
After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater.
But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany.
Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.
As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.
The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham
Hardcover/July 5, 2022
Knopf Publishing Group
Cary’s Thoughts: Arguably the best baseball movie ever made, The Church of Baseball is a study of how movies get made – and sometimes, almost not made. Shelton takes the reader back to his days as a professional ballplayer and how he turned that experience into his movie.
From the award-winning screenwriter and director of cult classic Bull Durham, the extremely entertaining behind-the-scenes story of the making of the film, and an insightful primer on the art and business of moviemaking.
Bull Durham, the breakthrough 1988 film about a minor league baseball team, is widely revered as the best sports movie of all time. But back in 1987, Ron Shelton was a first-time director and no one was willing to finance a movie about baseball–especially a story set in the minors. The jury was still out on Kevin Costner’s leading-man potential, while Susan Sarandon was already a has-been. There were doubts. But something miraculous happened, and The Church of Baseball attempts to capture why.
From organizing a baseball camp for the actors and rewriting key scenes while on set, to dealing with a short production schedule and overcoming the challenge of filming the sport, Shelton brings to life the making of this beloved American movie. Shelton explains the rarely revealed ins and outs of moviemaking, from a film’s inception and financing, screenwriting, casting, the nuts and bolts of directing, the postproduction process, and even through its release. But this is also a book about baseball and its singular romance in the world of sports. Shelton spent six years in the minor leagues before making this film, and his experiences resonate throughout this book.
Full of wry humor and insight, The Church of Baseball tells the remarkable story behind an iconic film.
Hardcover/October 18, 2022
William Morrow & Company
Cary’s Thoughts: ‘What’s Right Is Right.’ Or is it? In this dystopian world, where technology is everywhere – and not always your friend – Sonya Kantor is torn between two worlds. One world is the Aperture, where enemies of the current regime are sentenced to a life within it’s walls. The other is a chance to escape those walls by finding a young girl who was ripped away from her family as a child. As she skirts the issues between what she wants to do and what she needs to do, Sonya finds her own past isn’t what it seemed. “Poster Girl” is a powerful read that keeps the reader on their proverbial toes, not knowing who to trust and watching as Sonya learns a deeper understanding of both her past and her present.
A fallen regime. A missing child. A chance at freedom.
By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, Poster Girl is a haunting adult dystopian mystery that explores the expanding role of surveillance on society – an inescapable reality that we welcome all too easily.
WHAT’S RIGHT IS RIGHT. Sonya Kantor knows this slogan – she lived by it for most of her life. For decades, everyone in the Seattle-Portland megalopolis lived under it, as well as constant surveillance in the form of the Insight, an ocular implant that tracked every word and every action, rewarding or punishing by a rigid moral code set forth by the Delegation.
Then there was a revolution. The Delegation fell. Its most valuable members were locked in the Aperture, a prison on the outskirts of the city. And everyone else, now free from the Insight’s monitoring, went on with their lives.
Sonya, former poster girl for the Delegation, has been imprisoned for ten years when an old enemy comes to her with a deal: find a missing girl who was stolen from her parents by the old regime, and earn her freedom. The path Sonya takes to find the child will lead her through an unfamiliar, crooked post-Delegation world where she finds herself digging deeper into the past – and her family’s dark secrets – than she ever wanted to.