Kevin A. Hall is a graduate of Ivy League Brown University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French literature. Despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1989, he went on to become a world-champion Olympic sailor, as well as racing navigator for Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2007 America’s Cup match. A two-time testicular cancer survivor, Hall has spent a successful 25 years as a racing navigator, speed testing manager, and sailing performance and racing instruments expert. A brief version of his story was featured in Joel and Ian Gold’s book Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness, as the only non-anonymous case study of a patient with Truman Show delusion. Hall currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife and their three children. Black Sails White Rabbits is his first book. Learn more on his website.
My bedside table is actually a chair, so I can pile clothes over the back and accidently hide the book I am looking for. The books I have by the bed often migrate around the house with my moods. I leave different piles of books here and there, depending on what is on my mind or of what I’m hoping to remind myself.
The past few days, I’ve been switching back and forth between The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller, and The Waste Lands by Stephen King (book 3 of the Dark Tower series). The first one is heavy but brings me some “damn! does that ring true” moments. The other one is so much fun. I just love young Jake’s ability to articulate what is essentially mysticism.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is on my short list to re-read very soon. I’m still reeling from it’s originality, density, and thought-provocation quotient. Wow.
Since I’m an aspiring storyteller, I keep Robert McKee’s Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting very close to hand. I’m on my fourth read-through in two years, and each time new things make more sense. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Hamlet is so rich that I’m pretty sure it will last me this lifetime and the next. It’s worth the effort to get deeper than just Shakespeare‘s big solos.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss is wisdom incarnate. When I’m feeling alone in feeling lost, or feeling lost in personal challenges and confusion, it’s my go-to.
VALIS by Philip K. Dick is an all-time favorite. He faces himself squarely, and although he cops to writing in the third person to gain “much needed objectivity,” he wrestles insanity to the mat by the end.
Herman Melville‘s Moby Dick sits by the bed because I’m pretentious. Also, it makes me feel good to know there are other sailors who get damp, drizzly Novembers in their souls. Plus, it’s a peerless book in some ways which I am not qualified to describe, but that’s my feeling.
Little, Big by John Crowley is so lyrical and wonderful and unique that I should have a hard copy, but I don’t yet. I will someday soon, and it will hang out next to Moby Dick.
Time out of Joint, the first hardcover Philip K. Dick got published, has a lot of The Truman Show (movie) about it. I let Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 keep it company in the creepy and cool dept.
Finally, the kids and I love Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches. It is so good to remember we all get confused about having the right stars upon thars from time to time.