A catastrophic car accident in 2006 leaves members of rock band The Terms fragmented emotionally and physically. The band, once successful, is shattered by the traumatic brain injury suffered by Brandon Young, the bass player and the author's son's friend. Through emails to family and friends, Jacques Lasseigne archives the events that transpire over the course of Brandon's healing process. His updates to friends and family are a way for him to heal and aid others in following Brandon's recovery process. He also reflects, in between email updates, on the band's successes and chronicles their journey in the music industry from changing the band's name, signing a recording contract, making a record, and their countless shows.
Deemed the "Best New Band of 2006," The Terms enjoyed success all over the country. Their music was played on radio stations, and they even made the Billboard charts. All of that ended when someone ran a stop sign and changed the course of their lives. Jacques pulls at your heartstrings with the realization that the band's dream was short-lived. The redemption, however, lies in Brandon's recovery and his quick advancements in physical therapy. Will they perform again? No matter what transpires, I can tell you that the lives of these men will be forever changed.
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JFK will likely keep hitting the bestsellers lists until well after next year when the 50th anniversary of his assassination will probably produce dozens of new Kennedy books. In the book world, JFK is on the same level as Lincoln, and to a degree also FDR. There's always another angle to write about, and there are always readers for such books.
It's of course no coincidence that all three died while in office. Dead presidents that shouldn't have been dead at the time remain forever popular. On my desk are three books about James Garfield, assassinated 131 years ago, all recent. Or make that four, because PublishAmerica also released a Garfield book, by John McArthur. In my Nook is a recent book about president McKinley, assassinated 111 years ago.
But none of those books about untimely-dead presidents add something stunningly new this year. They're on the market today, but essentially only because they're, well, here. Somebody decided to write them. Like Robert Caro who wrote yet again a very big book about LBJ, simply because thirty years ago he decided to write four LBJ tomes, meanwhile amended to five. Unlike Updegrove, Caro doesn't like Johnson very much.
An interesting presidents book this year is actually about the life they lived after they left office. It's The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs, I'm reading it in my Kindle and enjoying it. But again, there's nothing that makes you think, "Wow, really?". It says something when the most remarkable books about a president in the past few years were three separate books about James Polk (James who?) who lived in the White House between 1845-1849 and was far more consequential than you learned in school – if you learned anything about him at all.
But what else does it say, this absence of glorious books about our presidents in an election year? It says that the presidency is less of a hot item than it was four years ago, or twelve, or twenty years ago. After Clinton became president, there was a surge of movies about fictional presidents (The American President, Independence Day, Wag The Dog, Primary Colors). When George W Bush became president, there was The West Wing on TV. There's no such popular demand now, and it is reflected by the absence of serious, history re-writing books about former presidents.
You decide whether that's good news for the incumbent, or for the challenger.
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