Books on my nightstand 


The Nightengale | Image courtesy:

 Being a book lover I love talking about what I’m reading. Usually people are surprised by the number of books that I have in progress at any one time. Typically I can have as many as half-a-dozen books going at one time. The usual response is; how do you keep track of so many books? I usually respond with, how many different TV shows do you watch? This usually helps put things into perspective for people. 

Right now I have quite a few books in progress and I’m really enjoying a few of them. So here we go:

  1. The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah is a WWII period piece about a woman fighting with the French Resistance. It’s a little softer than most war novels but I’ve enjoyed reading a book about war from a woman’s perspective. 
  2. David Copperfield by Chrarles Dickens is Victorian Literarure at its best. Right now Dickens is my favorite author and I plan to read another of his novels next month too. 
  3. The Toaster Oven Mocks Me by Steven Margolis is a memoir I just started yesterday and if you’re a fan of sarcastic humor, check this one out. 
  4. Young Blood by Matt Gallagher is a novel about the War in Iraq written by an Army veteran. Gallagher writes with a gritty, tell it like it is style that soldiers use. He switches up occasionally and shows that he’s a tremendous young writer. 
  5. Clarence Olgibee by Alan Kessler is waiting to have its spine cracked as I haven’t opened it yet. This novel is a racially charged murder-mystery that I’m eagerly awaiting. 

So there’s my current list. I also have a bookshelf with a few books that I’ll be digging into next and several on my Kindle awaiting me as well. Feel free to drop a line or comment if you’d like to discuss any I’m reading. You can also check me out at Goodreads for my complete reading list. 

    What I’ve Read

      Last year (2015) was my best year of reading thus far. I always start the year with a goal of reading a book per week. In 2014, I finally beat my goal, finishing fifty-two books but last year I knocked it out of the park, completing seventy books.

    This year is off to a great start and I’ve read some tremendous books already:

    1. Starting out in the Evening by Brian Morton 
    2. The Ghost of Democracy by Dustin Lawson (Indie Novel)
    3. A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
    4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
    5. The Black Chronicle by Oldrich Stibor (Indie Novel)
    6. Hostages by Terrance Crimmins (Indie Novel)
    7. The Iliad by Homer
    8. Courage Resurrected by R. Scott Mackey (Indie Novel)
    9. Kyrie Irving by Clayton Geoffreys (Indie Sports)
    10. The Orlov Diamond by Benjamin Kuttner (Indie Novel)
    11. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    12. A Long Walk with Sally by David Clark Jr. (Indie Sports)
    13. Pimp your Profile by Patrick Gallagher (Indie)
    14. Waterkill by Mark Donovan (Indie Novel)

    Alright, let’s start with the indie authors. If you like hoops, check out the work Clayton Geoffreys is putting out. He’s written a number of well researched books about the best players in the game. A Long Walk with Sally is a memoir about a grieving father (David Clark Jr.) who found solace on the golf course. As the book progresses he plays some of the best courses in the United Kingdom while he works through the loss of his daughter Sally.

    As for the indie novels there are several of these that are worth a read. I highly recommend Waterkill by Mark Donovan for those that are fans of techno-thrillers. I hope Mark is able to find a publisher because while his book needs a little polish, the plot and the science behind it are outstanding.

    The Orlov Diamond by Benjamin Kuttner is also a good read if you like thrillers. His book is in the mold of Clive Cussler and is also a very good indie novel.

    I doubt there’s anything I can say that hasn’t already been said about The Iliad and A Tale of Two Cities. This was the first time I have read Dickens and I was so enamored with his work I’m halfway David Copperfield. Strangely I had never read the Iliad but have read the Odyssey twice so I wanted to finally read Homer’s first masterpiece. 

    A Week in December is a British techno-thriller that I LOVED! I am a bit of an Anglophile truth be told but Sebastian Faulks has written an excellent novel that centers around seven protagonists as their lives intersect during the course of a week in London and a terrorist plot. 

    Finally Starting out in the Evening by Brian Morton is a tremendous literary novel. I’ve actually had the privilege of trading a few emails with this brilliant author and can’t say enough about his book. The book follows a young college student who is writing her thesis about her favorite author who has agreed to an interview. If you enjoy books about books and writers you’ll enjoy Morton’s book (the movie is pretty good too). 

    Stay tuned for an update on my current reading list…

    Tech Nostalgia 


    An early model Kindle next to an iPad mini.

     Today I received a reminder email that my original Kindle needed a software update by the end of the month or it would no longer work. I haven’t used it to read in well over ten-years but for some reason I keep it on the bookshelf in our bedroom. Yes I know I’m mixing my pronouns but my spousal equivalent gets upset when I forget we’re a we but I digress. 

    Like most people I upgraded from the first-generation Kindle to the Kindle Fire. From there I began using the Kindle App on my iPhone while struggling with where to go from there. 

    I thought long and hard about a Kindle Paperwhite but eventually went with an iPad mini. I do keep my Kindle Fire up to date and my wife uses it when she travels. 

    So I thought I’d go old school and read on my original Kindle this weekend just to get a feel for how far the technology has come. 

    Death is Everywhere

    Last night I got a little bored with a book I was reading so I decided to flip through a book I just purchased which is a compilation of Walt Whitman’s poetry. I was immediately attracted to the poems that had to do with the Civil War.

    It wasn’t long before I began reminiscing about the Gulf War. One of the more poignant moments of the war for me, strangely doesn’t have anything to do with combat action but of one of my best friends and I sitting atop my tank listening to Depeche Mode. We were listening to the Black Celebration album when Flies on the Windscreen came on and the reality of what we were facing really set in.

    The first two verses set the stage for a very surreal song when you’re in the middle of a combat zone:

    Death is everywhere
    There are flies on the windscreen
    For a start
    Reminding us
    We could be torn apart

    Death is everywhere
    There are lambs for the slaughter
    Waiting to die
    And I can sense
    The hours slipping by

    London Calling

    When it comes to music, I am hopelessly stuck in the 80’s. In my opinion both punk and alternative (New Wave) music were at their peak at this epoch. As such, there are about a dozen songs that kind of rotate as my favorites.

    One of them is London Calling by The Clash. Few bands in history had better frontmen than Joe Strummer. His song writing is politically charged, like most good punk music, and has a simple eloquence that resonates with the listener. My favorite line in this song is “phony Beatle mania has bitten the dust.” That simple, seven-word line is so full of angst and says so much about how the hippy 60’s turned into the decade of despair; the 1970’s…