Currently Reading: The Novel by James Michener

Hello all you wonderful readers. I’ve finished The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl. And now I’ll take a quick detour back to my parent’s bookshelf with James Michener’s 1992 novel The Novel.

I grew up with these books on the shelf at home and now im working my way thru them. Michener always occupied a large section of their shelves because my mother and father loved reading his well researched and descriptive books. When in the army in the 80s I read his historical fiction of the history and development of the space program. Space, written in 1982 and which I read in 84 or 85. It was a good read because it took you all the way from the beginning up to the Space Shuttle which was still active at the time. It was my first introduction to actually reading Michener. This will be my second book by him.

The plan is still to read fiction thru the end of September at which time I’ll be switching to non fiction historical stuff. Dune Messiah, the 1969 Frank Herbert follow-up to his Dune is next and then I’m planning to read the first in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child titled The Killing Floor.

Let’s see how I do, but I’m thinking The Novel may take me all of August. So… what are you reading?

-mike

Currently Reading: The Last Bookaneer

Hello all you wonderful readers. I’ve finished Dubliners by James Joyce and The Archivist by Martha Cooley. I now turn my attention to another one of the Literary Historical fiction novels of Matthew Pearl, The Last Bookaneer about the practice of pirating manuscripts from authors in other countries for publishing before the advent of International Copyright laws at the turn of the last century.

I’ve read three of his others novels, The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow and The Last Dickens, all thriller novels set in the times and situations of the famous authors. They are all very well written and exciting reads by a very well read and literary educated writer. Amazing. Check them out today if your interested in historical fiction with a mystery twist.

I’m still deciding if I’ll do an actual review of The Archivist. But suffice to say, it was a sad book. The synopsis is that its a novel about a chief Archivist of the Emily Hale Letters sent to her by T.S. Eliot. Matthew’s story of his marriage and wife’s death coincides in interesting ways with Eliot’s and his wife’s mental issues and passing, as does the story of the young grad student Roberta and her personal and religious reasons for wanting to see the letters before their timed release. The book was published in 1998, set in 1988 or so, while the letters were still sequestered by request of Hale. They were just released for public and literary perusal and evaluation in January of 2020.

I enjoyed this book so much. Very well written as a debut novel by Cooley who has since published only one other novel. She currently teaches in a couple of different colleges. Lucky students they are. So… what are you reading?

-mike

Currently Reading: Dubliners and The Archivist

Hello all you wonderful readers. I’ve finished The Ballad of Songbirds by Suzanne Collins, the prequel/origin story of President Snow of the Hunger Games Trilogy. I’ve even had time since our last installment post of this blog to to finish Fingal O’Reilly Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor.

But now I turn my attention to a true classic, Dubliners by James Joyce. It’s a selection of short stories written in the early 1900s when the Classic Irish writer was younger. Then I will be reading The Archivist, a debut novel of Martha Cooley. I may even try to read them at the same time, one or two of the short stories in between chapters of The Archivist. I’m not sure at this time. But I’ll let you know how both work out.

What are you reading?

-mike

Currently Reading: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The book was great, but brought disappointment as a bonus

Good morning all you readers out there. I’ve finished Dune. I gotta say that now having read the book, it’s ruined the 1984 movie for me. All the changes, all the deletions, all the half assed and hamfisted “adaptations” for the movie done by Lynch and company in trying to get the movie made before the rights expired… it really tells when you realize what i found, out only after, that Lynch never read the book, never heard the story of the book, and was wholly uninterested in science fiction before writing the screen play, which turned out to be only 135 pgs for a 500 pg book.

But this post is neither a review of the 1984 movie, its differences with the book, or sadly… not even a review of the book. I’ll have to take some time to chew on it and see if I can do the masterpiece justice at a later time. I’m just glad to be done with Dune because of the mindbending differences and how upset I got at a film I was for decades a huge fan of.

But… on to the Future, or maybe a Prequel?

My next reads will be a newly released prequel to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. I remember reading the other three books the year before last and really enjoying them. Pretty typical YA Fiction themes and writing, but again… as is the case with most books… much better than the movies that gave us Jennifer Lawrence as a household name. (I’m SO knot a JL fan).

Per the dust jacket, this one is set in the past in relation to the original trilogy. Specifically President Snow’s past, the 10th Annual Hunger Games. I’m hoping to see a bit more how he developed into the monster that he became and how the Games developed as well.

Then after that, which should take me a mere triffle of days by what I experienced reading Collins’ first three, I’ll take a swing back thru Ballybucklebo in Ireland to continue the series of stories surrounding the inimitable, sagacious, and dedicated Doctor Fingal O’Reilly, the Irish Country Doctor.

What are you all reaing? Have you read Dune, seen the movie, any strong opinions that you’d like to share? Put a comment in the bukcket. And Good reading all. -mike

Currently Reading: Dune

Good morning all you readers out there. I’ve finished Sapiens and The Secret of Santa Vittoria. Now I’m off to “Arrakis, Dune, Desert Planet…”. The classic book of science fiction first published in 1965 by Frank Herbert is my next major task in reading. I remember watching the movie they made for it in 1984 with a very young Kyle McLaughlin. Saw it in the theater when I was in language school in the army at the Presideo. I’ve always wanted to read the book that won both major book awards for science fiction and in 1975 was voted the best science fiction book ever written. Here’s my chance. And so far, only two or three chapters in, it’s much better writing than the movie. Looking forward to finishing before the end of june.

Good reading all. -mike

Finished Reading: Sapiens

Again, it took awhile

But I finally finished this book. It’s very comprehensive and deals with biology, history, with a lot of politics and economic thrown in for good measure. I recommend the read, but there’s too muchnin there to actually do a review.

I’m still reading The Secret of Santa Vittoria and will be reading Frank Herbert’s Dune after that. So… what are you reading these days?

-mike

Midnight Reminder

Believing is not the same as Knowing.

Being Convinced is not necessarily the same as coming to Agreement with the Evidence.

Arguments are not Evidence in themselves. They can be Arguments for particular Explanations of the Evidence, but don’t necessarily have to be backed by such. People make Arguments whether they have Evidence or not because they still want to Convince you to Believe what rhey do, and Convince themselves that they are Reasonable and Rational for believing what they do… EVEN when they aren’t or have no actual Evidence to back their Arguments.

Apologists are like Lawyers. It doesn’t matter whether what they are saying is True or Not, it’s their job to Convince you that it is. That’s why they take the Adversarial position of questioning your Sincerity, Morality or Intelligence in not believing what they are promoting vs the Cooperative Stance of Working Together to find what is actually True, and only Believing what we can actually Demonstate and Show to be such.

Rational and Reasonable people care what is actually True.

Apologists only care about what they can Convince you to Believe is True ™.

Finished Reading: A Dublin Student Doctor

Again, it took awhile

Good Sunday morning to all you patient and longsuffering readers out there. It seems again, for the third time in a row, for I’ve now only read three whole books this year so far, that I’ve taken a very long time to finish a book. This one from a series that I’ve taken a liking to for last several years, Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country Villiage series, The Dublin Student Doctor about the beginnings and origin story of the redoubtable Fingal Flagherty O’Reilly, everyone’s favorite GP of Ballybuckelbo.

I’ve now read seven of the series and the people, places and feel of the country of Ireland in the 1960s, and in this book the 1930s and early 1940s, is very much grown on me. Even to the point of having a pint of The Black Stuff and pulling out my Peterson on occasion… as the feeling of commaraderie may strike me. The Wiley O’Reilly definitely has a way of making his point to you thru Taylor’s writing skill, and the country folk of the Village feel more like family with every page.

This one turns from the old doctors past, back from the present predicament of Donal Donnelly, who having crashed his motorbike coming home from the races where he won a ton of betting money, now needs surgery to relieve brain swelling from a fractured skull. Don’t worry, if you’re a betting man too then you’ll know how it ends. O’Reilly takes the opportunity of waiting to see how it turns out with Donal to turn back the pages of time to when he was still studying for medical practice.

We get to meet his mates, his future love Kitty and learn a good bit of the backstory that made him both the doctor and the man he became. I enjoyed the story and the reading as I always do with Patrick Taylor and this series. I’m looking forward to the next trip to the Irish Country Villiage I’ll take, Fingal O’Reilly Irish Doctor, having finished An Irish Country Wedding earlier.

However… mom’s books await as well.

My next books with be Robert Crichton’s 1966 novel The Secret of Santa Vittoria. He only wrote two novels and this was his first. Mom always wanted me to read it and it’ll be the next on the list. From what she said and what I’ve read so far, it seems like a Caper kind of book set in WW2 Italy. Kind of Peter Mayle meets Hogan’s Heroes. A small village tucked into the mountains of Italy doing what they can to resist and keep their unique identity during the Nazi occupation.

Either way you slice it, you’re in for a wild ride and an enjoyable diversionary treat if you decide to pick these books off the shelf. So… what are you reading these days?

-mike