THE 2022 BOPPYs
Fake awards for books we love!
Best BOOK TO HELP YOU BECOME A MASTER DEBATER
Society has forgotten how to have disagreeable conversations, with social media (especially Twitter) fueling this problem over the past decade-plus. One of the many important principles for regaining this ability is by learning how to do disarmingly. Enter Bo Seo, a Harvard-educated, two-time world debating champion and coach. His book provides a blueprint for courteously and creatively expressing your viewpoints. The foundation of Seo’s philosophy on debating, and something that’s present with any good communication, is listening. And, yes, this can even help with the trolls. ESPECIALLY the trolls.
Best Book On why that csi episode is likely bs
Blood splatter. Bite marks. Arson burns. Even finger prints. All are common examples of forensic ‘science’ whose actual science falls well short of the ‘iron clad evidence’ threshold but has still led to many wrongful criminal convictions over decades. With this book, The Innocent Project’s M. Chris Fabricant explains these scientific shortcomings, while detailing stories of several people whose convictions were overturned as a result of the organization’s efforts. The Innocence Project works to free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions in creating a fair justice system for all.
worst book to read on a nook
In a world that’s more digitized by the day, some may scoff at the notion expressed in David Sax’s title. But with a pandemic’s worth of humans-staring-at-screens experimentation to draw from, David has more than enough evidence to prove his point. Whether you’re talking about school, work, concerts, festivals, church service, city life, and pretty much every other aspect of our existence…we’re mostly better off in-person. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. And that means looking less at our computers, phones, and televisions in embracing the idea of being present with one another.
Best Book on how quitters do, in fact, win
You never fail until you stop trying. A winner is a dreamer who never gives up. Pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever. Our culture is littered with slogans urging us to never give up. Yet sometimes giving up is the smart move. Annie Duke quit life as a professional poker player to return to a passion studying and writing about cognitive neuroscience. With her third book on the science of sound decision-making, Annie presents research and real-world examples on the ins and outs of quitting–why it’s so hard for us to do, and how to improve on the art of walking away.
BEST EXPLANATION FOR OSCAR THE GROUCH’S VODKA PROBLEM
When Sesame Street asks for your help, you say ‘yes’. Even if they’re asking you to adapt the popular US children’s show for Russian television, shortly after the fall of the USSR. This was the assignment Natasha Lance Rogoff accepted in 1992. In the years that followed, she and her team overcame mobsters, sausage kings, political killings, military office raids, and cultural creative differences to produce and air Ulitza Sezam for the first time in the fall of 1996, in primetime on Russia’s top two TV stations. This book tells that tale, which coincided with an unexpected love connection.
Best Book To maybe quote this award in its paperback edition
The likelihood of this award getting its wish is if you take ‘blurb’ for it’s common American meaning–the praise offered by other authors and respected figures for a book that are cited on its book jacket or within its first few pages. But Louise Wilder is well-versed in the other meaning for ‘blurb’–the handful of paragraphs on or in a book that tries to entice a perspective reader to delve deeper. Louise, who has written over 5,000 blurbs in her publishing career, shares some secrets on how titles, quotes, covers, and blurbs have made books more enticing throughout literary history.
Best HUMBLE PIE FOR STUPID HUMAN PRICKS
Pigeons can detect breast cancer that our machines don’t. Crows hold funeral-like rituals for their dead. Elephants get drunk and run amok. And cuttlefish will deceive potential mates for the sake of sex. The jig is up for us humans…we aren’t more intelligent than other animals. We simply express our intelligence differently. Justin Gregg’s sharp book highlights examples of other species matching, or even exceeding, our smarts. And he points out a unique nefariousness in human intellect that’s often destructive to other people, living organisms, and even the planet at large.
Best Book by someone named ‘mary lynn’
Because an award with the title, ‘Best Book to Show Some of You 24 Fans She’s Funnier Than You Realize and Some of You Mr Show Fans Her Serious Depth of Character’ is too long for the trophy. Mary Lynn has become one of my favorite people to speak with over the years, and her memoir still exceeded my lofty expectations. Working at Denny’s. Falling in love with performing. Making out with Tom Cruise for a scene that got cut. Accidentally financing a deadbeat-women’s commune. And, yes, even some 24 memories. She openly and creatively recounts her life, regardless of whether cameras were rolling.
Best Book exercise history book that reads like “the da vinci code”
It started innocently enough…Bill Hayes’ curiosity about exercise–his own preferences, the activities of others, and the evolution and origins of modern physical fitness–led to him being shown a book called De arte gymnastica (The Art of Gymnastics) by Girolamo Mercuriale. The book and author were foreign to Bill, as was the language it was written in 1573. What followed is an adventure that takes Bill and the reader around the globe in gaining an understanding of one of an early influence on exercise ideology and his own workout proclivities. Not to mention Bill running buck naked in the country in homage to our fit forefathers.
Best BOOK TO EXPAND ON A LIFETIME OF SAVVY T-SHIRT SLOGANS
This podcast will always be drawn to unique thinkers and leaders. Joe is both. How else could someone manage the Chicago Cubs to break a 108-year World Series title drought? At the foundation of Joe’s superhero powers is the ability to connect with individuals on a team, while also knowing how to get each of those players on the same page for the greater good. One of the keys for the latter is simple messaging, cited frequently. In his memoir, Joe explains his origins in life, baseball, and an evolution as a student of the game that led to him becoming one of the most celebrated skippers in the modern game.
BEST MEMOIRS BY BRITISH ACTORS
Brian Cox has wowed audiences for 60 years on stage and screen, including roles in the latter as Hannibal Lector, Winston Churshill, and (currently) Logan Roy in Succession. But where did this drive and acting ability come from? Scotland, where he tragically lost his father at a young age and received his first taste of acting by avoiding a potential school yard fight. Brian recounts those days, the evolution of his career in the United States, and even offers philosophical musings on life, death, and the numerous questions that come between.
BEST MEMOIRS BY BRITISH ACTORS
Jim Piddock tells you early in Caught With My Pants Down…you may not know his name, you probably know his face, and you most certainly know many of the films he’s acted in. After growing up and getting his start with the craft in England, his pursuit took him to the US and brushes with past, present, and future greatness in the NYC theatre scene. He eventually took a chance and moved to LA. As his film credits show decades later, the risk paid off. Jim recounts crucial moments from his life, stories from the set, as well as run-ins with Larry David, Bill Murray, and more.
Best BOOK BOOK ON HOW GOTTI GOT GOT
John Gleeson provides a firsthand account of how the feds finally caught up to John Gotti. How firsthand? He served as lead prosecutor in the 1992 federal trial that ultimately sent Gotti to jail for life, after being found guilty of multiple murders, racketeering, and more. Gleeson, who also assisted prosecution in an earlier federal trial involving similar charges, shares his detailed perspective from both cases. This includes learning that the first jury was bought and paid for, and the most damning element for Gotti the second time around–how Sammy “The Bull” Gravano flipped to help the prosecution.
Best ODE TO THE CHICKEN
If only we could all love something like Jaques Pépin loves the chicken. While this book provides a number of ways to cook chicken, it’s also a unique version of a cookbook, of which Jacques has published dozens. Recipes are provided in an inexact, narrative style, which falls in line with Jacques telling the story of how his inspired life has intertwined with this chickens going back to his childhood, both in and out of the kitchen. And while the recipes may require more experimenting than some readers are used to, that process and the stories told in-between are well worth it in the end.
Best SEQUEL TO A CLASSIC FILM WE DIDN’T KNOW WE NEEDED
Michael Mann’s vision for the story told in the 1995 crime thriller, Heat, didn’t begin or end with the classic film. Based loosely on a real life cop and robber, Mann wrote the first script in 1979, which fueled a tv-pilot-turned-tv-movie in 1989. That story turned to gold soon after, with a film that stands the test of time decades later, including an ensemble cast, and Pacino/De Niro sharing a scene for the first time in their careers. Heat 2 takes place before AND after those tense moments in LA. Meg Gardiner joined the podcast to discuss the process of partnering with Mann to continue a story that pays proper tribute while telling its own story.
Best BOOK TO REALLY KNOW BO
‘Transcendent’ is defined as surpassing others or supreme. Separately, it means lying beyond the ordinary range of perception. Bo Jackson fits both descriptions. Those who witnessed his greatness on football and baseball fields can attest to the former. Those who didn’t may fall in the latter, especially if merely looking at the stats of first two-sport star in modern athletics, whose concurrent time in the NFL and MLB ended with a horrific hip injury on the gridiron. Luckily we have Jeff Pearlman, one of sports’ best profilers, to explain Bo’s greatness to both groups by debunking and confirming the legendary tales from his life.
BALLSIEST BOOK TITLE
The key to this book cover isn’t a title that will leave our most sensitive souls aghast. It’s the illustration. The girl standing over cartoon Bryan on a stack of books is his young daughter. “Don’t Be a Feminist” is a love letter to her, the title writing from a series of essays, in which the George Mason economist examines a slew of topics from a statistical perspective. The title essay doesn’t discourage a desire to see equal rights among sexes. Rather, it tests the histrionic way in which feminism is often framed. His evidence suggest that ‘equality’ is subjective to time, place, and even sex. But not always in the ways we may assume.
Best BOOK TO DEBUNK THAT CRAZY ‘LONE SHOOTER’ THEORY
Oliver Stone’s two-hour documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, debuted on Showtime in late 2021. In February of this year, his expanded version was made available for purchase on Apple TV and Amazon, as four, hour-long episodes. Either is worth your time, the results of the efforts of Stone and several JFK assassination experts pouring over the recently declassified archive. James DiEugenio was among those experts. He penned the book that was the basis for Stone’s 1991 film and co-wrote the scripts for both docs. This book provides annotated transcripts for each version, as well as additional materials.
Best BOOK ON HOW CHINA WEINSTEIN’D HOLLYWOOD
China’s influence over Hollywood and pillaging of its intellectual property has been evident since American films re-entered that market in the mid-1990s. Because the major studios saw the revenue potential of Chinese audiences, they played along. But at some point, the US film business no longer had the choice of whether to kowtow–their present and future were tied to the Middle Kingdom. Casting decisions, scenes, even entire plot lines were made with the beliefs and input of the Chinese government in mind. Erich Schwartzel provides a superb account of how Hollywood was (and is) coerced and exploited by China.
Best RETELLING OF A CONCENTRATION CAMP BUS TOUR
We love Jerry’s storytelling…he’s like a goth Larry David. Does he seem to find himself in more awkward situations than most? Yes. But that’s the result of Jerry’s keen observational skills and ability to find wit where others might recoil in horror or embarrassment. So it didn’t take much convincing to buy his newest memoir upon learning it was the result of his attempt to escape the mental anguish of a failed marriage and screenwriting pressures by taking a two-week bus tour through Poland and Germany to visit several WWII concentration camps. Jerry’s recap of the food court at Auschwitz, alone, is worth the price of admission.
Best serious look at a sophomoric subject
Heather Radke’s interest in the human backside began with her own. It was a cause for major insecurity during her adolescence but blossomed into a feature of infatuation as an adult. Butts takes a specific look at the evolution of the female derriere–why the glutes are so pronounced compared to our primate ancestors, how it became (and remains) an object of infatuation for potential suitors, why there’s no ‘one size fits all’ standard with regards to what qualifies as an attractive female fanny, and the lasting psychological harm foisted on women by a popular culture that continually peddles a specific ideal of the perfect ass.