Good Reason for Humility

Currently Reading: The Road to Gandolfo

Michael Shepherd is actually…

Good morning all. I hope your holidays went well and you’ve fully Recovered from the NYE Celebration Libations. It’s now time to stop procrastinating and read some books. I’m actually following thru on my 2020 plans to read my parents books, starting with this uncharacteristically comical romp from a pseudonymous Michael Shepherd from 1975. Shhh… Don’t tell, but it’s really Robert Ludlum in disguise.

My mom always wanted me to read both this book and his follow up The Road to Omaha, written in ’92 under his own name. You may know the author and his writing better as the original creator or Jason Bourne thru his trilogy The Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum. These have been classic for me and my bookshelf since high school and when my parents first encouraged me to read them.

Since then, they have been recently made into several films and his character has been expanded on and adapted in a series of books by Eric VanLustbader, authorized of course by the family trust. I’ve read a couple of these and they have a lot of the original flair and feel of Ludlum’s books, but I keep coming back to the originals.

So… back to Gandolfo.

The story is a comical one with a war decorated hero general getting in trouble for desecrating, or being accused of desecrating, a statue in Beijing China. He’s unfairly dismissed from an illustrious and iconic career as an appeasement to the Chinese government during a post Vietnam war trade negotiations. The book jacket says the general, Mackenzie Hawkins… or just Hawk… then lends his considerable experience, expertise and talents to help in a caper to kidnap the Pope for ransom… (what??)

Looking forward to digging in further to the book and enjoying Ludlum’s writing again. Why not read along with me.

What are you reading? Have you read this book? Have you read any Robert Ludlum? In the bucket down below. You know what to do.

-mike

Happy New Year 2020: Reading Plans

Happy 2020 New Year WordPress family!!!

Good morning all. It’s a new month, a new year and a new decade. I thought I’d share a brief outline of my reading plans for this coming month and year.

My parents are one big reason that I love reading. They had hundreds of books, both hardcover and softback as we grew up. When they both passed, dad 10yrs ago this June and mom 7yrs ago this coming April, we had our job cut out for us in sorting thru and sadly needing to get rid of most of them. We just didn’t have the room for all of them on our shelves.

I managed to keep a small handful though of books that I thought reflected their favorite series, authors and genres. Some I have already read as favorites of my own over the years, others I still have yet to fully explore. I’ve decided that 2020 will be the year to give it a go. This year will be primarily dedicated to reading my mom and dad’s books, starting with Robert Ludlum then moving on to John LeCarre and into James Clavell.

My first two in January will be these two by Ludlum, The Road to Gandolfo and The Road to Omaha. Both written about 20yrs apart, but both with more of a comical flavor than most of his more spy thriller novels.

So happy New Year, happy reading and I hope this coming year brings you and yours all the best that you deserve while showing Grace and mercy and redemption for the mistakes and errors of last year.

-mike

Watch “The Rise of Skywalker Review | Disney Star Wars’ Failure is Complete” on YouTube

My wife and I saw this “movie” yesterday. As a stand alone, it was ok. Very fun to watch and be a part of. But as a finale of the Skywalker storyline… I hated it. It was a big FU to the original trilogy I grew up on and to the fans who hold that trilogy as the embodiment of the story. Political Agenda and Money grubbing corporate greed with no imagination past using other people’s ideas and success to further their own goals.

Hated it. Save your Time and Money. Pass on this one.

-mike

Finished Reading: Christmas Books Round up

Well, doesn’t that beat all?

I’ve just finished reading the last Christmas book I’ll be able to finish this December, An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. That makes 5 books that I was able to read in the month of the Holiday Season. My goal was to read only Christmas books this month and I succeeded:

  • The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
  • The Autobiography of Santa Claus
  • and How Mrs Claus saved Christmas, both by Jeff Guinn
  • And finally the wonderful and heart-warming An Irish Country Christmas by one of my favorite novelists Patrick Taylor.

I hope all you have enjoyed the Season as much as I have. There’s not much left of it besides after Christmas sales and finishing off the eggnog in the fridge. That is, if you can free yourself from the sugar and tryptophan induced coma.

Best holiday wishes to you and yours from us and ours. I’m looking forward to more reading and posting in 2020. Thanks for following along with The Bookish Recovering Know It All.

-mike

A-Santa-ist: Yup, That’s Me.

When do you first suspect or start to doubt Santa’s existence?

Should we still believe until Santa’s nonexistence can be conclusively proven?

Or should we disbelieve until such evidence for his existence in reality be demonstrated?

How in Santa’s North Pole would you even go about “conclusively proving” the nonexistence of something or someone anyway?

Would you be safe and sane living your life, making real life affecting decisions, and treating others accordingly… Voting in Public elections… as if Santa actually exists?

Would you feel justified mocking and deriding others who don’t believe and treating them harshly because of it?

Or rather… do you eventually grow up and safely assume Santa to be a useful and happy family myth, with no real world application past treating others with kindness and trying to live as Santa might want you to… if he were really real?

Do you still believe in the actual existence of Santa Claus even though you haven’t any real evidence or demonstration of his existence in the real world?

Or do you expect others to “prove” Santa doesn’t exist before you’ll “not believe” anymore?

I’m an A-Santa-ist. How about you?

-mike

Merry Christmas: My Favorite Poem and Poet

Christmas Trees

(A Christmas Circular Letter)

The city had withdrawn into itself

And left at last the country to the country;

When between whirls of snow not come to lie

And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,

Yet did in country fashion in that there

He sat and waited till he drew us out

A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.

He proved to be the city come again

To look for something it had left behind

And could not do without and keep its Christmas.

He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;

My woods—the young fir balsams like a place

Where houses all are churches and have spires.

I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.

I doubt if I was tempted for a moment

To sell them off their feet to go in cars

And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.

I’d hate to have them know it if I was.

Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except

As others hold theirs or refuse for them,

Beyond the time of profitable growth,

The trial by market everything must come to.

I dallied so much with the thought of selling.

Then whether from mistaken courtesy

And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether

From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,

“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”

“I could soon tell how many they would cut,

You let me look them over.”
“You could look.

But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close

That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs

All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,

Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”

I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.

We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”
“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”
He felt some need of softening that to me:

“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”
Then I was certain I had never meant

To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside

The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),

Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour

Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools

Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!

Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.

Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,

In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

****

And also from me, the Bookish Recovering Know It All, Merry Christmas and happiest of Holliday Seasons.

-mike