Buddy John Myers and his wife Liza Weinstein are moving to Boston.
It’s one of a series of major changes in their lives.
On Friday she received her doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
On Saturday they finish packing up and celebrating with both sets of parents.
And on Sunday they drive to Boston, where Liza will soon start working for Northeastern University.
She also will have their first child in a few short months.
John and Liza are both Michiganders who have never lived in Boston, so I’m putting together this list of Boston resources for them.
Debate and amendment are welcome.
I. Best Boston Dictionary: The Boston Dictionary, by John Powers. While just a tad dated-the book has an image of Michael Dukakis reading an article about Swedish land management technique under the term “furma govna”-this illustrated work is a perfect introduction to the much imitated Boston accent.
II. Best Book about Boston Busing: Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lukas. One of my all-time favorite books, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book tells the story of three families during the decade that started with Dr. King’s assassinations, with individual chapters about Boston’s then-Mayor Kevin White, Boston Globe Editor Tom Winship, activist and mayoral candidate Louise Day Hicks, Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, and Judge W. Arthur Garrity.
III. Best Boston Memoir: All Souls, A Family Story From Southie, by Michael Patrick MacDonald. Friend MacDonald brings it in this coming of age story that has vivid scenes of a community’s member going to funeral after funeral for its murdered youth, all the while saying that drugs and violence are the exclusive province of black neighborhoods. The busing chapter is particularly memorable.
IV. Best Boston Sports Memoir: Drive: The Story of My Life, by Larry Bird. The self-proclaimed “Hick from French Lick” restored Celtics glory in the 80s after an embarrassing downturn in the late 70s, leading the team to three titles and helping, along with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, the league reach unprecedented heights. This straightforward book, written toward the end of his glorious care, tells the story of his hardscrabble youth.
V. Best Local Historian: Anthony Sammarco. This well known local historian has published a series of beautiful books, many about specific Boston neighborhoods, that combine well-written text with attractive pictures that effectively convey the feel of each area.
VI. Best Bookstore/Record Cafe: Rhythm and Muse. Got to give the love to dear friend and former roommate David Doyle, who’s been operating in Jamaica Plain for more than a decade now.
VII. Best Medical Thriller Set in Boston: Coma, by Robin Cook. Ultimately turned into a film by a pre-Jurassic Park Michael Crichton, this chilling novel of death in a hospital may not be the best choice for John and Liza as I imagine her pregnancy will require her to take quite a few hospital trips.
VIII. Best Children’s Book Set in Boston: Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey, and The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White. It’s too hard to distinguish between these two classics, which are geared toward slightly different audiences. Both are wonderful, though.
IX. Best Legal Book Set in the Boston Area: A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr. This book takes place in Woburn, which is just outside Boston, and the story of the fast-driving Jan Schlichtmann’s efforts to hold polluter W.R. Grace to account makes for gripping reading in Harr’s capable hands.
X. Category and book determined by readers: I’m leaving this one open for suggestions.