Have You Read Goodell’s Zenith Rising?

November 30, 2009 at 6:30 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As most people know, I am a shelfari.com addict.  It makes sense, as shelfari is a book site for book people and I am quite certainly a book person.  In my shelfari hunting and pecking for great reads and cool recommendations, I ran across an author named Michael Goodell who has since been a fun shelfari friend to engage in the banter of book talk.  One day, a group of us decided to read his book Zenith Rising (available for purchase on amazon) and discovered quite a treat.

I found Zenith Rising to be an interesting read and great first novel for Goodell.  It was slightly reminiscent of an old classic with a mix of John Grisham’s The Rainmaker, but unique and very much an original piece full of life and art and the raw thoughts of humanity.  I also believe that its a good shelf companion to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Goodell has said about his work,

[…] one message I want people to walk away with after reading Zenith Rising, it would be the transformative effect that the pride of accomplishment and the sense of ownership can have on people who have never accomplished anything, (nor been told that they could or should), and never owned anything that wasn’t given to them. On that last point, when I was working with a nonprofit housing group, I was struck by the similarities between the lives of trust fund babies, and those of welfare babies. They both are born into lives with no demands and no expectations, and both engage in self-destructive behaviors, often culminating in wasted lives. I tried to point out that connection through some of the characters and their antics.

I think Goodell has succeeded in his goal, as most people I have talked to about the book feel a twinge of nostalgia towards the work as a whole.  I cried like a baby through chapter nine, the way I cried in Wall-E.  People should read this book before finishing school, high school or college, I don’t think it really matters which, just before they go out into the world. Inspire them to not let money go to their head, and not let their cities become pieces of crap. We’re always taught about the problems in other countries. Growing up, I always heard the glories of mission trips. Did we ever do activities in our own cities that were helpful? Not really. The closest we came was a yearly trip to Dallas four hours away. We got a lot done and it was amazing, but anything that can be done in Dallas could have certainly been done in Houston.

I truly believe that Goodell’s book has a bit of simple brilliance about it and cannot wait to read his second book which will also be set in the city of Zenith.

An excerpt from the book (pg.82-83):

One of the men stood with back to the viewer, in the lower center of the painting, where the mountain sloped down to a ridge, gazing out across a valley or vast plain stretching to the horizon. Often painted at dusk, with mist rising from the ground, or the sunset colors reflecting in the myriad streams snaking their way across the valley floor, the paintings gave the attorney an aching desire to step into that long lost world. He stood beside the adventurer at the edge of a precipice. The world unfolded at his feet, waiting for a man courageous enough to carve a life from its untamed wilds.


Information from the Zenith Rising Website:

From its stunning opening scene of a police raid gone tragically awry, to its heart-breaking conclusion, “Zenith Rising” tells the story of a dying city. Yet once that city was a world leader in manufacturing and technological innovation.

Once Zenith’s future was limited only by the size of its dreams.

Though the years stripped away its promise, the people of Zenith didn’t share equally in its decline. For some, the wealth garnered during the glory years insulated them from the city’s struggles. Others sought to suck the last bit of life, and profit, from the dying city, while a few, a lonely few, saw things as they were and vowed to change them.

Michael Goodell has given us a compelling tale ripped from today’s headlines. By means of a riveting plot and vivid characters, he presents a challenge every American must confront.

You can learn more about itat http://www.zenithrising.webs.com
The list price is $24.95.

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