Holiday Reading and Wine List

The holiday season is in full swing, which can usually mean two things; you have more down time for yourself, and more social gatherings on the calendar.

If it’s the former or the later, or a combination of both—CWA Founding Partner Darrell Cain stepped away from his annuity tables to share two of his other passions, good books and delicious wine. If you are looking for a compelling book to read on your time off, or the perfect wine to bring to a dinner or party, Darrell has suggestions to share.

Literary history

Darrell’s passion for reading started in an unconventional way—through his struggle to overcome dyslexia. In the 1950s, educators were not as familiar with dyslexia, so like many other children who struggled during that time with illiteracy, he was told he had a low IQ and was unlikely to surmount to anything noteworthy. His mother refused to let him fall through the cracks, and with appropriate remediation and phonics, coached him until he was finally able to read in third grade.

“The act of me not being able to read led me to be very passionate about reading,” Darrell said.

From there it was all he wanted to do. In grade school Darrell would skip recess to stay in the library to read. By middle school he was a library assistant which allowed him to select and order the books for the library.

Fast-forward 40 years and Darrell still escapes to the library, this time in the 3,000 book collection in his home. In fact, his love of reading is one of the most important gifts he has shared with his eight children.

His favorite genre both then and today? Science fiction. In adolescence it helped him expand his mind to new and creative ideas and today it allows him to unwind and escape from the pressures of the world.

The books influential to him are Isaac Asimov’s 1950s series the Foundation Trilogy. First read when he was 12, and then again many times after, this book was inspired by the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and raises profound questions on if one can change society and history whilst living it. Other genres he gravitates to are autobiographies, American history, world history, military, American and English literature.

Reading List:

Darrell reads daily, especially in the evening. He’s currently reading four selections from American history to science fiction, and will typically read multiple books at one time.

– “How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education” by Arne Duncan

“War”, by Sebastian Junger. Junger followed a single platoon through a tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan. This book is about what being a soldier means in today’s world.

“The Judge Hunter” by Christopher Buckley. A comedic novel based in 1664 London, where an Englishman embarks on a dangerous mission to the New World in pursuit of two judges who helped murder a king.

“Cotton Malone Series”, by Steve Berry. A thrilling series about a former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, on missions fraught with trouble across the globe.

Wine for the social side

Darrell’s book collection is personal, but his wine and scotch whisky selections are gifts he loves to share. Although he is not a big drinker, Darrell says his collection of 150 bottles of whiskey and 1,000 bottles of wine stems from his love of entertaining.

Whether entertaining family or friends in your home, or bringing a gift as a guest, he loves gifting wine to others. Here are some of his top choices to keep you in good spirits this season:

House wines:

Cakebread White Wine selections
Duckhorn Merlot
Prisoner Red Blend

To bring to a cocktail party:

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cellars
Casalino Brunello (Italy)

For the dinner table:

Stags Leap Artemis
Stags Leap Fay
Karl Lawrence Cellars (St. Helena or Napa)

Be it stories or spirits, whatever your preference, CWA would like to wish you a holiday season filled with good books, great tastes and close friends. Happy Holidays.