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

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

Finally Finished Reading: The Road to Omaha

Wow.. now THAT took a long time

Good morning all. Long time no write, I know. It seems this year has been a much slower reading year so far than 2019 or even 2018. So far, my journey has only been to finish two books in the last two and a half months. The latest being the 1992 follow up to the 1975 Road to Gandalfo.

As I said in a post before, these books are part of the collection from my mom and dad after they passed that I’m trying to read thru this year. Mom always wanted me to get thru these two in particular and since Ludlum is one of my favorite novelists, I decided they would be the introductory volumes for the reading journey this year.

Both are “Caper” kinds of books with intrigue, humor and silliness wrapped up in government, military, and spy business in a post war context. Gandolfo, the Vietnam War and Omaha the Cold War.

They’re quick paced, funny and very well written. Although I liked the original 1975 Gandalfo about the kidnapping and replacing of the Pope more than Omaha’s premise of petitioning the Supreme Court to turn over land currently “Occupied” by the Strategic Air Command to its former owners.

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

Currently Reading: Sapiens and Omaha

Good morning all you readers out there. In my continuing journey to read my mom and dad’s books, having finished The Road to Gandalfo by Robert Ludlum (pen name Matthew Sheperd) from 1975 , I turn my attention to the follow up book he published in 1992… The Road to Omaha.

But you might also notice that I’m starting to read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari as well. I mean at the same time. Not sure if I’ll get thru both by the end of February, but that will be my goal.

Good reading all. -mike

Finished Reading: The Road to Gandolfo

Robert Ludlum

Good evening all. Wow… that took way longer than I expected or planned. Just finished the last of this wonderful book this morning. Anyone who’s read anything by the Borne Triology author will probably appreciate the writing, but recognize a bit more whimsy and humor in this Caper-like story of an ousted Lt. General in the first years after the Vietnam War and the more nuanced beginning of the Cold War.

Mackenzie Hawkins doesn’t take long licking his wounds for being shunted away and out of the Army after 30+ yrs of faithful and mostly clandestine service. He’s got a business to start and run… and a Pope to kidnap and replace!!

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.

But Hawkins….

This book read like one of Peter Mayle’s Caper books that I’ve read. The Vinage Caper and the Versailles Caper both had that kind of Oceans 11 vibe that had me hooked from the first page to the very last. Gandalfo by Shepherd, Robert Ludlum’s nom de plume for a couple of his earlier books, felt the same way. Even after the final plot twist was revealed and discovered, I still wanted to see it play out and enjoy the ending that I kind of figured out was coming.

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??)

The ransom part didn’t quite work out as Hawk planned, but it did end up working out. I loved this book and can’t wait to start The Road to Omaha next.

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

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

Currently Reading: An Irish Country Christmas

Saved by the Girls of Christmas

I just finished How Mrs Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn today. I know. That was quick, but it really was an enjoyable story set in 1600s England during the English Civil War when parliament overthrew King Charles and gave power to the Puritans who eventually outlawed celebrations of Christmas. The story follows Layla, Mrs Claus, as she escapes London and becomes one of the leaders of planned peaceful protest at Canterbury. You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what happened. It’s a very fitting sequel to Guinn’s first Christmas tale The Autobiography of Santa Claus. I think I actually enjoyed this one more though. I’ll be looking forward to re-reading these two books next holiday season as well.

Now on to Ireland

But until then, next up on this Christmas reading list is An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. I’ve read this before but just started again this afternoon. It’s the third in the Irish Country Village series of, at least as of this year, fifteen books. I have them all, and all but two now in hardback which I love. I’ve not read them all yet, only five… or is it six?

A great Holiday Escape

But I’m looking forward to spending the next week reentering the world of Ballybuckelbo, the quaint and small fictional village between Kinnegar and Bangor that these books are set it. I wonder if anyone else out there has read them? If you haven’t, you really should give it a good go. You can start in any of the books and be just fine. Although they are chronologically placed within the series, they do great as stand alone stories as well. Why not pick one up today? You’ll be glad you did.

What are you reading? Will you be reading only Christmas books this month? Why not have a go and share.

-mike

Currently Reading: How Mrs Claus Saved Christmas

The Original Wonder Woman

Having just finished The Autobiography of Santa Clause by Jeff Guinn that I read last year, a fantasy trip through history and historical persons that “helped” him along the way on his mission of giving, I now start his follow up book that I picked up at the local library sale this last year, How Mrs Claus Saved Christmas. I’m really looking forward to digging into this one. I’m planning on making it a yearly read just like The Autobiography of Santa.

I’ve got a good problem to report as well. I’ve just picked up a hardcover copy of An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor at the local Half Price Books store. I already have it in softback, but I’m trying to get all the books in the series in hardcover. I have them all now, but with this edition, or should I say addition, I now have only two that are still soft. I just love the series, the writing and the escape to 1960s small village Ireland.

My problem? I’m starting to have more Christmas books on my shelf than I can “yearly read” every December. I may have to start in November next year. 🙂 After Mrs Claus, the plan is to finish this month and season out by re-reading An Irish Country Christmas.

What are you reading? Will you be reading only Christmas books this month? Why not have a go and share.

-mike

Currently Reading: “Santa!!!!”

The Autobiography and Mrs Claus

Having just finished The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson, I move to the third and fourth books on my seasonal reading list. The Autobiography of Santa Clause by Jeff Guinn that I read last year, a fantasy trip through history and historical persons that “helped” him along the way on his mission of giving, and the follow up book that I picked up at the local library sale this last year How Mrs Claus Saved Christmas. I’m really looking forward to digging into that one but first I’ll re-read the first.

By the way… Gaby picked the brother in law Marty at the end of The Christmas Wedding. Great book. It’s a bit predictable and soft on the story, but we’ll worth the read for the family and seasonal reflection. This is the second year I’ve read it and plan to make it a yearly.

What are you reading? Will you be reading only non-fiction this month? Why not have a go and share.

-mike