As in several previous installments in this series, I disclose for the record that I have some connection with the authors of these books. But as in the previous cases, these are all books I’d recommend whether or not I’d known their authors. I’m mentioning them with deliberate brevity, both to encourage you to find out more yourself and because if I waited to do "real" write-ups I'd take longer to get around to it.
Seriously, these are books you will be glad to have read.
1) Skyfaring, by Mark Vanhoenacker.
Like many readers, I was sorry to hear last week of the death of James Salter. His books Light Years and Burning the Days are among those I remember most clearly for their grace of expression and power in conveying particular moods.
But Salter was also interesting to me because of his career as a Korean War-era military pilot and his ongoing interest in aviation. The one time I met him, at a conference in Austin 15 years ago, we spent most of the time talking about flying. First he grilled me on how much experience I had. When I told him, he said, “Well, if you’ve made it this far, you’ll probably live.” Then we talked about why it was that flight, and the ability to see the world from a perspective humanity had only dreamed of until the past century, had lost its sense of magic and the literary fascination it held in the days of Beryl Markham (West With the Night) and Antoine de St. Exupéry (Vol de Nuit).