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Summer Reading 2021: Boom Town

Why Mary picked Boom Town

I love the two-word title of this book: BOOM TOWN. But I really love the FULL title, Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis. This is one of those books that lots of people I trust for recommendations suggested to me all at once. It is narrative nonfiction that is alleged to be quite the page turner. I think there’s a lot of basketball in it, which is a major plus for a sports fan like me. I’m also excited to read about a place I know nothing about. Scanning the table of contents, I see chapters with names like “No Beard” (a James Harden reference?!), “Rainbow,” “Game 31: KD Is Not Nice,” “All Your Bad Days Will End,” and “Are Tornadoes Necessary?”

I’m so excited to read this! JOIN ME!

About Boom Town

Boom Town
by Sam Anderson


Oklahoma City was born from chaos. It was founded in a bizarre but momentous "Land Run" in 1889, when thousands of people lined up along the borders of Oklahoma Territory and rushed in at noon to stake their claims. Since then, it has been a city torn between the wild energy that drives its outsized ambitions, and the forces of order that seek sustainable progress. Nowhere was this dynamic better realized than in the drama of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team's 2012-13 season, when the Thunder's brilliant general manager, Sam Presti, ignited a firestorm by trading future superstar James Harden just days before the first game. Presti's all-in gamble on "the Process"—the patient, methodical management style that dictated the trade as the team’s best hope for long-term greatness—kicked off a pivotal year in the city's history, one that would include pitched battles over urban planning, a series of cataclysmic tornadoes, and the frenzied hope that an NBA championship might finally deliver the glory of which the city had always dreamed.

Filled with characters ranging from NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook; to Flaming Lips oddball frontman Wayne Coyne; to legendary Great Plains meteorologist Gary England; to Stanley Draper, Oklahoma City's would-be Robert Moses; to civil rights activist Clara Luper; to the citizens and public servants who survived the notorious 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, Boom Town offers a remarkable look at the urban tapestry woven from control and chaos, sports and civics. - Goodreads

About the reader

 Mary Murphy, Science

Past picks by Mary:

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler