Category Archives: From My Bookshelf

999 Books? 999 Books!

Acorrding to GoodReads I just read my 999th book. 999. That’s pretty cool!

Book 999 was A Hat For Mrs Golden by Michelle Edwards and G Brian Karas. It was amazing. A really touching story about knitting and love that brought a tear to my eye. Cute illustrations and great storytelling combine in one book. This one is well worth your time!

999 books read. I know this doesn’t count rereads, and also I’m sure I’ve forgot to add all the books I read as a child to the list; but still 999 books read is pretty cool!

I’m currently reading 8 books right now. Whichever one I finish first will be my 1,000th book read. I’m just shaking my head and thinking how cool that is. I’m also thankful for something like GoodReads that has helped me count up and keep track of initial reads of books and helped me remember my thoughts on those books. 

We’ll see which book becomes the 1,000th book read and then excitedly see which is book 1,001 and then 1,002 and then 1,003 and so on! Because the joy of reading should never end! Looking forward to my next 999 books! Happy reading everyone! 

Ship Of Fools Discussion Part One Insurrection *SPOILER ALERT*

Ok so let’s talk Ship Of Fools by Richard Paul Russo! If you haven’t read the first part of the book (pages 1-95) please don’t read this so you won’t have anything spoiled for you! 
Part One is aptly named Insurrection. We have a Generational Ship that’s been lost for generations without destination or purpose. You have a rigid class structure designed to benefit those in power, dissatisfaction from the lower classes that know they deserve freedom, and vicious infighting amongst the leadership. Then throw in an abandoned colony that appears to have not been abandoned but rather brutally wiped out! This ship is ready for a mutiny!

However in the midst of this is thrown a terrible mystery. Who destroyed the colony? Who set up that beacon? Why did they do it? To warn others away or to draw them in? 

Then have you noticed that the main character isn’t the most likable of characters? He’s got a few rough edges. But I like him. He’s a thinker, and he’s willing to change. However he is hated by those above and below him, and that’s a difficult burden to carry. How much can you change when people aren’t willing to let you change and just want to use you? 

What are your thoughts on all of this? Any early emotions towards the characters? Did the scene where Bartolomeo thought he saw something in the building give you chills? What did you think when they found the colonists? 

Next Saturday I’ll cover Part Two: The Dead Ship   

Comfort Reads!

Comfort Reads: Authors/Series you turn to in stressful/busy times to relax and unwind OR Authors/Series that you find to be easy to turn to again and again. 

My main Comfort Reads would be L.E. Modesitt Jr and Warhammer40K. I know, Modesitt really makes you think and WH40K is quite GrimDark. Maybe not what everyone would turn to, but both are very comfortable for me to turn to. 

Modesitt has a method of creating characters I can easily identify with and enjoy and he makes me think. You feel that he respects the intellegence of his reader. I know that no matter how many times I pick up one of his books I will learn something new and appreciate his work more. I find that very comforting. 

Warhammer40K isn’t relaxing reading, but it is in a way. The universe of WH40K and The Horus Heresy is a very bleak, dark, and dangerous universe. It’s one that doesn’t paint a bright future and it doesn’t offer hopes of ever improving after. Yet it is comforting to read of the heroic acts of those that keep the Imperium Of Man alive. Reading about the superhuman Space Marines or the very human Imperial Army fighting bravely against the darkness that is about to overwhelm humanity is interesting and I find it to be a universe I can always turn to for distraction. 

What authors or book series are your Comfort Reads? 

November Reading Plans!

I’m not the most organized reader. However this year I’ve worked towards setting monthly goals and I’ve had fun with this! It’s helped me read a few books I would have missed out on while still allowing me to be distracted by something shiney when distraction is needed!

This month my goals are these five books, a few others on my kindle, of course some comic books, and then whatever shiney books come my way and demand attention!

Ship Of Fools by Richard Paul Russo is absolutely amazing! Yes I’ve already read it. This will be my first reread and I’ve got a few friends joining in for fun! I loved this Horror SciFi! It captures the anxiety terror of the original Alien film. It is about a generational ship that’s been lost in space for generations, but the passengers are about to learn they aren’t as alone as they’ve believed….

I started House Of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski in October with the goal of reading it all alongside some friends who were hosting a group read of it. I fell short of the goal but there’s no way I’m giving up on this amazingly creepy story!

How do you finish a never ending book series? By never stopping! Rolling on to Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden to continue seeing where The Horus Heresy takes me. I mean I already know where it goes, that’s not the surprise of this series, the surprise is in the journey! 

Time to finish Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley which I started back in 2014! So y’all have already heard me describe this awesome book. 200 pages left to read!

And introducing to my bookshelf and currently reading pile: Awakenings by Edward Lazellari! An Urban Fantasy with characters who have forgotten their pasts having to recover who they were to save not only their own lives but also the world! This book not only caught my eye but also the author’s twitter account did! This copy is a signed copy that was mailed to me for a read and review and I’m excited to tear into it. More on that in a future post!

There you have it! November’s reading goals! Feel free to join me in reading any of these or discuss them! Book talks are the best talks. Do you have any November reading goals? 

Might I Suggest A Good Military SciFi Book For You?

When asked for suggestions in Military SciFi I’m always happy to share! A friend just finished reading Forever War and Armor and asked for a few more books in the Military SciFi genre that they might enjoy! So naturally I had a few lined up!

Of course Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein is amazing and one of my personal favorites in the genre. A true classic that remains applicable in some fashion through the years. It is a standalone and while it is short it is packed with meaning. 

 A contemporary book that also stands the test of time is Gordon R Dickson’s Dorsai! Ok sooooo maybe it doesn’t stand the test of time as well as it should… GRD really loved the concept of human evolution into the superman, and his books contain some offbeat philosophies at times BUT they are so good! Dorsai! Is the start to his masterpiece series The Childe Cycle and I am slowly working through the overall series. I personally love it, and think Dorsai! can be read alone or as a part of the overall series. (Perfect read for #VintageSciFiMonth in January and so a few of us will be reading it then and you should join in) 

The Cobra Trilogy by Timothy Zahn probably won’t top anyone’s best of lists but this little tale of Jonny Moreau exploded in my imagination when I was younger and stayed with me for ages. Zahn is an under appreciated master of Military SciFi and this trilogy has a little bit of everything the genre needs to be great. From the young man idealistically signing up to defend the innocent and put his life on the line for others, to his excelling in the art of war, to his desire for peace, to his struggles with PTSD and attempting to fit back into society, to his moving into political circles. This book is worthwhile. 

Glen Cook’s passage of arms is best described by Jeff Vandermeer as “…the Das Boot of SciFi.” This. Book. Is. Amazing. So dense and intense it is the sort you find yourself mentally chewing on for a while after each time you set it down. SciFi warfare in spaceships in a realistic style that leaves you feeling as if you are experiencing the mental breakdown that the crew of the ship faces themselves. This is a work of art and should be on everyone’s list.

Fifteen Hours by Mitchel Scanlon is an excellent introduction to the GrimDark galaxy of Warhammer40K as it portrays a young grunt’s First and quite possibly last combat experience in the far flung future of war and death! A story that makes you pause and consider the human in the story and the high cost of war. 

Reviewing IT

Stephen King is an incredible author. Wether you like his style or favored genre or stories or not it doesn’t change the fact that he captures magic within the pages of his stories. IT is a good example of this. 

IT has been sitting on my bookshelf for ages waiting to be read. Since the book is arm breaker length I kept putting IT off, reading other books that were also waiting, but knowing one day I wanted to tackle IT. This month I announced I would be reading IT for the first time and encouraged other readers to join me in reading IT or any other Stephen King book to welcome in the Fall. My logic is that Fall or Winter suit his style more in my mind than do Summer or Spring. Many readers joined in and we all discovered (or rediscovered) the magic that King has!

I was very much impressed by how King captured the whimsy and seriousness of childhood. I think he might be able to capture this better than most authors I’ve encountered. The children in IT aren’t just little adults, they’re children and they view the world through the eyes of children. I also was impressed by how IT wasn’t really just one story or two stories interwoven, it was six stories blended together into one. Any one of these stories could have been a complete story on its own, but wouldn’t have been as strong a story without the other five. 

As far as the story being scary or not, I honestly didn’t find IT to be scary. I found IT to be intense and there were several places that I was concerned for the characters, but not as frightening as other King books I’ve read. The aspects that worried me the most were the parts where we saw humanity at its worst. Sadly you could take the monster out of IT and still have most of the tragedy remain as we are our own monsters. But you also see the good and nobility that can be found in humanity too!

Overall I really enjoyed IT and felt that King did a great job. I know many are still reading their King book for #FallOfTheKing and I’m so glad y’all joined me this and for #ImReadingIt and I hope you’ve enjoyed your time spent with King as much as I have! Maybe next Fall I’ll tackle another of his books! 

Halfway Through IT, Announcing October Reading Plans! (Here Be Unicorns)

So I am halfway through Stephen King’s masterpiece IT and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the first half of IT and announce my October Group Read as well! This way all who want to join have time to get ahold of a book for October! 

The first half of IT is not particularly scary to me as much as it is tragically sad to me! Why sad? Because if you were to eliminate the supernatural monster from IT you would still have the monsters of humanity rearing their ugly heads: racism, sexism, child abuse, bullying, spousal abuse, homophobia, hatred of the other, antisemitism, manipulation, so many ugly aspects of humanity that need to be changed. 

Also it is worth noting that the main reason IT seems so long is not due to SK’s over descriptiveness as much as IT really is six separate stories masterfully woven into one story. I think SK has a way of capturing the magical combination of whimsy and seriousness of childhood that is greater than any I’ve encountered. I’m looking forward to the rest of the book and hope all who joined me in #FallOfTheKing and #ImReadingIT have enjoyed their journey so far!

Announcing my October Reading Plan! Many of you already know and follow my friend MillieBotReads and if you don’t you should click that link and get to know her! She is a fan of Tanith Lee, so much so that I associate TL’s books with her! I’ve seen a lot of Tanith Lee’s works through my reading life but I haven’t ever read anything of hers that I know of. So MillieBotReads and I are going to host a #TanithLeeRead group read this October! 

To join in you simply need to get ahold of a Tanith Lee book and join us in reading it on October first! MillieBotReads and I will be specifically reading the first book of her Unicorn Trilogy: Black Unicorn, and using the hashtag #HereBeUnicorns for that trilogy in particular. However the #TanithLeeRead is open to ANY Tanith Lee book you choose to read. We think Black Unicorn is a good entry point into her work and if you can’t find it at a store or a library you can get it for your kindle HERE.

After reading an armbreaker like IT it will be nice to read a short 138 page fantasy novel. After seeing how I enjoy Black Unicorn I might continue on in the trilogy! I’m excited to start #TanithLeeReads and #HereBeUnicorns as this will also be a #FirstAuthorContact read for me! In looking at Tanith Lee’s BIOGRAPHY I find her to be an interesting person who refused to let adversity stop her from pursuing her dreams. I hope you’ll join in with us and pick up Black Unicorn or any other Tanith Lee book this October! 

I’ll post more about this again soon to remind everyone about this! I’m excited! Feel free to share this post and spread the word!