Currently Reading: Snow in August

Hello all you wonderful readers. I’ve started a wonderful book that I’m certain ive read before but not so sure when. Snow in August is by novelist and newspaper writer Pete Hamill. I was introduced to him by his book Forever, about a man “cursed” to live forever until he found the One who could set him free. Great book by the way. If you can find it please consider reading it. Its amazing.

But this one is from the perspective of a child in 1947 post war NYC. It deals with issues of racial and religious bigotry and one young person’s coming of age in a world of differences and realizing that what makes us the same is more important than what divides us. Important message for these crazy times we find ourselves in today.

Let’s see how I do, but I’m thinking it may take me all of August to read Snow in August. So… what are you reading?

-mike

DNF: Dune Messiah. Sorry. I have to. Ughh!!


I had expected this to be a worthy sequel, but alas… no go. Just boring and tedious. The dialogue is pedantic and pedestrian. The plot is for a book much larger than the 336pgs it’s given. And due to its much shorter form than the original award winning book Dune in 1965, this one is in a strange place of having too much plot and not enough space or development. (Some more back story for the intervening 12yrs of Dune history, please. But over all… not worth my finishing. “Life is too short to read crap.” – Better than Food booktube channel.
I’m out. -mike

Finished Reading: Killing Floor. Back to Arakis

Now THAT was quick…

Exactly. It seems that working from home and having a temp internet outage really is conducive to reading. Whoda thunk it? I didn’t intend to finish Killing Floor by Lee Child by the end of the day (evening), but once I started I just couldn’t put it down. I found myself at 830p with a decision. Knowing that 345a was just a few hours away and I’d have to once again drag my a$$ out of bed to start work… Did I want to do the responsible thing with only 100pgs left and go to bed, picking up the next afternoon where I left off? Nah… I pushed forward and finished around 11pm. And I’m glad I did. Very good book. I’ll have to borrow the next in the series from the library. But not yet.

Next up? Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. So… what are you reading these days?

-mike

Finished Reading: The Novel by James Michener

Surprisingly enjoyable read

I just finished this book in a marathon Sunday reading sprint. Actually, it’s only the second Michener that I’ve read, the other was Space in 1985 about the origins and history of the Space Program in the United States. As I remember, that one took me a very long time and I felt it was a bit sloggy. Although my recollection may be tainted by my memory from 35yrs ago. This one, The Novel about the process of writing, publishing and the distribution of stories and fine literature, was easier to stick with and finish as it drew me in to the narrative.

I was afraid that this Michener would be too detailed and dense with facts and figures, history and minutia as I remembered Space to be. And although the beginning of the book, from the perspective of the older Mennonite writer coming to what he received as the end of a long and successful career, was a bit rough and slow… the rest of the story and the people and the places and situations were more than enough to grab and hold my attention and whisk me into the story and increase my interest with every turned page. Overall, I enjoyed this book, the characters and the landscape of the Pennsylvania Dutch which centered and lent it’s charm and deep traditional values to the story. Well worth the time taken, even if you take more than I did to finish it. I can definitely see why my mom and dad’s bookshelves were filled with James Michener’s thick but substantial volumes.

Next Up??

My Next reads will be Killing Floor by Lee Child, the first of the Jack Reacher novels, and Dune Messiah the 1969 follow up book by Herbert to his classic and award winning book Dune.

So… what are you reading these days?

-mike

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