Mega-Readers Collide: More Super Groups

Poet and writer Gwendolyn Brooks succinctly wrote that, “Books feed and cure and chortle and collide…” Her brilliant short poem (see below) titled, Book Power gets right to the heart of the necessity of reading and the basic sustenance literature can provide in our lives. While I believe in the nourishment factor, it’s the colliding that gets me lately.

Reading is so much fun.  Super-Grouping titles is a great way to get so much more out of reading. One great book can lead to another and another and soon you have learned SO MUCH about the original subject (plus, any of these groupings wrapped-up together would be a formidable gift for someone you really, really like).

Reading on the beach? Sure thing! Best time of day for beach reading is late afternoon when the bright sun is not directly overhead. I always try to avoid high sun hours when I can. However, whenever you hit the sand, bring a good sunhat and your prescription reader-sunglasses – or else double up (sunglasses over readers), like I do. It’s a little nerdy, but I like to think I pull it off.

Some of the Super Groups below take on some big topics (ie: WW2, Hitler, Slavery), so the groupings will not even come close to covering what is necessary to read. The titles I have chosen, however, are great books on (or around) the subject and each has some sort of connection to the other. For some books, the association is obvious. Others, you will discover the relationship upon reading. There is something that links them together, thus making them interesting to read in proximation.

Some books below also cross-over into other groups, spanning subject matter once again in an interesting way. For example, “The Boys in the Boat” is a great action-filled sports story which also accidentally provides an eerie advance-look at Hitler in the early years of his rise and well-before WWII. What does Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” have to do with WWII? Read “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr to find out – !

1. Action, adventure and the masculine mind:
20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne
Moby Dick by Herman Melville. *Note: It is great fun to compare and contrast Captain Ahab and Captain Nemo! Speaking of, look for a well-crafted literary comparison by Ray Bradbury, titled “The Ardent Blasphemers.” It is the introduction to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” found in only one edition I know of by Bantam Classics. I have also listened to it on Audible*, narrated by James Frain.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
2. on Hitler/WWII: Art, Sports and Culture:
In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson
The Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
*See the Documentary films: “Facing Arthur” and “Rape of Europa

3. on Brooklyn and turn of the century immigration, emigration:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Color of Water by James McBride
Wait till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Great Bridge by David McCullough

“Reading is important – read between the lines. Don’t swallow everything.”   – Gwendolyn Brooks

4. on slavery, racial inequality and life in the deep south:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

5. on NYC, 911 and the beauty of the twin towers:
Time and Again by Jack Finney
Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
To Reach the Clouds by Philippe Petit
*Also see DVD Documentary film: “Man on Wire”


by Gwendolyn Brooks


In all this willful world
of thud and thump and thunder
man’s relevance to books
continues to declare.

Books are meat and medicine
and flame and flight and flower,
steel, stitch, and cloud and clout,
and drumbeats in the air.

Happy Reading, all ~ !


Audible is a subscription-based audio book service. See,

The above-listed books are all in my personal library. I recommend these groupings for fellow cruisers, moms, dads – any mega-readers who want to read some truly great titles this summer. Some of the books are probably not great for kids.  If you have any questions about the appropriateness any of the books I listed, please write to me.

I first heard of Gwendolyn Brooks via Maria Popover’s delicious literary website,

Gwendolyn Brooks’ quote on reading between the lines, found on:

“Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1917, and raised in Chicago. She was the author of more than twenty books of poetry, including  Annie Allen (Harper, 1949), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1968 she was named poet laureate for the state of Illinois and in 1985, she was the first black woman appointed as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress – a post now known as Poet Laureate. She also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000.”

Biographical information above was found on

Lynne Rey in the studio(!) image taken by Maaike Bernstrom in 2014.

Top photo of Cortado was taken in Biscayne Bay by the great professionals at Vineyard Vines, 2016.  See more of Cortado at:

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