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June 2023

There are many authors who settle into a comfortable formula, and then crank out books year after year. These books are indistinguishable from one another, and only have slight variations in plot line and character names. As a reader, you may still enjoy reading books by this author, but once you’ve read one of the author’s books, you can fairly accurately predict how all the rest of his or her books will go.

John Grisham is not one of these authors. Although I haven’t always enjoyed his books (I couldn’t even finish Bleachers because it was so incredibly boring), I admire the fact that he takes a chance and writes something different from the formula that made him famous. Pelican Brief, The Firm, and A Time to Kill are some of the legal thrillers for which he is most well known. But then, he’s also written:

  • Skipping Christmas, a humorous and thoughtful look at the excesses of Christmas
  • A Painted House, which tells of a young boy’s struggle to protect his family, and yet do the right thing
  • An Innocent Man, the true story of two men who were convicted of a crime that they did not do

Playing For Pizza: A NovelGrisham’s most recent book, Playing for Pizza, takes yet another turn. Rick Dockery is a has-been NFL quarterback looking for a job. He finds one in the Italian football league (American football, not soccer.) Although there were too many detailed play-by-plays of football games for my taste, I enjoyed the book overall. Rick is a very real character, struggling to find his place in a competitive world, and Grisham’s descriptions of Italy were both charming and accurate.

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