New Feature: My Favorite Books and Authors

  • SumoMe

Here is a picture in the “nerve center” of Dom Giordano Radio Headquarters. My work desk at WPHT 1210 Radio show just a small portion of the books I get from publishers, publicists and authors seeking media coverage or a radio interview.

Dombooks

Just a small portion of the books at the “DomTown Library,” otherwise known as my workspace at WPHT Radio. There’s lots more out of the picture.

I have to admit that the idea of being bombarded with books was one of the great perks I quickly discovered when I started my talk radio career at WWDB Radio. Coming from education, books were a big part of my teaching profession. I loved reading from my childhood years. I devoured books at an early age and my folks worked hard to make sure I had a steady supply of reading material- books, newspapers, magazines…you name it. I was a voracious reader.

I took that passion into my teaching career. I went to second-hand book stores, yard sales, flea markets and library book sales to fill my classrooms with books. I always believed (and still do) that if you can hook a child into reading, they can and will excel in any subject. In my years teaching at Triton High School in Runnemede, New Jersey, I had the biggest challenge of all: getting disinterested teenagers to read.

I did what any properly-trained teacher would do: I bribed them. Yep, good old-fashioned bribes. They could pick any book they wanted- if they would read it and get engaged in the topic, my bribes would range from gum and candy to gift certificates (I went door-to-door and visited local businesses to ask them to donate gift certificates for my crazy little scheme).

I got one young man to read two books (one was a football biography and the other was on World War II) and all it took was a gift certificate for a free oil change. I can tell you unequivicably that the kid read those books strictly because he just got his first car and he wanted that oil change (he had admitted that he had gone through high school and had never before read an entire book cover to cover, let alone two).

Years later when I told that story on the radio, several teachers phoned in tell me that they frowned upon such an unorthodox teaching method. I did not care. He graduated high school having read two books, and I was responsible for that. Who knows, maybe that oil change hooked him into reading…I certainly hope so.

So if you can’t tell by now, I love reading. And I love having a job where authors, publishers and publicists practically trip over themselves to send me FREE books. I get about 10 to 15 books pitched to me every week, and I often have to do some intensive reading in order to feel somewhat prepared for a scheduled interview. (And so you know, I try to get those books to local libraries, schools and organizations that can get them into the hands of people who might enjoy them.

But when I’m away from my radio show, I am still addicted to books. Whether I’m at the beach or just relaxing at home, a good book is never far away. And when I am on the radio, invariably a caller will share a favorite book. Then it occurred to me: why not use this blog to promote great books and interesting authors? I know that topics on my radio show can get quite passionate at times, so a discussion about favorite books and authors is a soothing salve!

In the coming weeks and months, I am going to share some of my favorite books and authors. I have interviewed probably in excess of a couple thousand authors in my radio career, and many have been interesting and inspirational (a few have been downright quirky…a couple were rude and eccentric, but I’ll leave those out). But I don’t want this to be a one-sided thing: I want my “fellow residents of DomTown, USA” to be book reviewers as well. If you’re interested in writing a guest review, e-mail me at: askdomg@aol.com and give me a 3-4 sentence pitch about your favorite book and why you want to write a guest review. If your pitch “hooks me,” I’ll contact you and give you the details/requirements.

FULL DISCLOSURE: In the interest of being totally transparent and completely honest with you, I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon. Many of the books I will list will connect to Amazon and if you click on that link and purchase the book through that link, I receive a small commission. I do not care where you buy your books, just have a passion for reading good books and authors.

7 Responses to New Feature: My Favorite Books and Authors

  1. Jane Rubino January 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Hey, Dom –
    I don’t generally follow radio book clubs because they all pretty much political books and Clancy/Flynn/Klavan, or the novel “written” by some political or media person who wants to expand the brand by adding “author” to his or her resume.
    However, I will recommend two that I consider unputdownable, a novel and a non-fiction book.
    The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson – The Wall Street Journal called it “the single best work of fiction published in 2012”. It’s the only novel I have read that is set in North Korea – the protagonist is an NK loyalist who is part of a failed mission to the US, is sent to a labor camp where the life expectancy is 6 months, and emerges with a different identity. His narrative alternates with that of his disillusioned government interrogator (torturer). The plot, which on the surface seems highly improbable works because of the author’s understanding of how the underlying principle of totalitarian states is that the official narrative supersedes the truth.
    The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalinist Russia, by Tim Tzoiliadis. During the Depression, many Americans were lured to Russia by the promise of jobs and economic security. What began as part of the “great Soviet experiment” ended with these people becoming prisoners of Stalinist Russia – their passports were confiscated, they could not return to the US and many were imprisoned and executed. The episodes involving FDR’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Paul Robeson, were shocking. A little known episode in American history. The most complimentary thing that is usually said about non-fiction is that “it reads like fiction”. The Forsaken reads like really great fiction.
    My last blog post was a round up of the books we exchanged over Christmas; it included Voegeli’s “Never Enough” that I heard about on your show. DH will get to it as soon as he finishes his current “Game of Thrones” book – he loves that series.

    • Don In Bucks January 28, 2013 at 4:34 am #

      The Foresaken was absolutely awesome… and chilling! Good pick, Jane!

  2. Sylvia February 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Oh I didn’t know you got a commission from Amazon. I have sold many, many books on there.

    It’s also cool and funny to me that your office looks like your classroom did. My house looks like that now too. I only have 4 actual bookshelves. No room for any more but that doesn’t stop me from getting more and more books. My library in Woodbury even has free books that are available to anyone who walks in.

  3. bob February 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    My 22 year old, son, Matthew, who had you as a student at CCP, called me the other day and told me that he bought a book. He emphasized a paper, hold in your hands, turn the page, put a book mark inside, book. So many of today’s kids have their heads down, only looking at some electronic device. He grew with me having books, I still have six full bookcases remaining in my house. I hope that this action of my son means that the future of “real” books still has a chance.

    • Dom February 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      There IS hope for the future of printed books! Great to hear, Bob. And give my best to your son.

  4. Marjorie November 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    The fact that the written book will most likely be extinct makes me sad. I have a library of all the books that I have read and most of the time enjoyed. Where will the books written and read in the future be stored?

    • Dom November 26, 2013 at 3:35 am #

      I hope books, newspapers and magazines do not go the “all-digital” route. There is a unique reading experience when it is physically in your hands, not on a tablet.

Leave a Reply