I read an article this morning that the right wing government of Hungary has ordered books with LGBT characters/themes to have disclaimers on them so that “consumers aren’t misled” about books that don’t depict traditional gender roles. The books in question are fairy tales written to encourage respecting everyone with different backgrounds.
As someone born in 1991 I’ve never once understood the animosity so many people seem to have toward groups of people different from them. I understand that my worldview isn’t going to be shared by everyone. I also understand that different areas of the world progress at different speeds. But just reading this made me think of some of the actions of Nazi Germany regarding books. Books were banned that didn’t fit their narrative. Books were burned and destroyed. That doesn’t appear to be happening now, but what’s the actual point of these disclaimers? If a consumer decides to buy a product (such as a book) they have every opportunity to decide if it matches their values. If if doesn’t, then they won’t buy it. There is no misleading going on.
I don’t see this as anything more than a shameful attempt to alienate a group of people who have done nothing wrong but try to live honestly.
This is the story of D-Day, the beginning of the end of WWII, from different accounts throughout that momentous day.
There are a great many books (many still being written today) about WWII and especially D-Day. I’m glad this is the one I picked up. As it says in the title this is a minute by minute account of that fateful day. It is not an historical narrative. Though a unique format, it works very well.
The story follows quite a few participants, organizers, civilians, and even quotes from Anne Frank’s diary. One might think this different format may force the reader to struggle to experience the horror and dreadfulness of the day. But that would be wrong. There are several perspectives shared that have you taking deep breaths to continue reading.
What makes this book so good is the German perspectives throughout. Because at the end of it all their perspectives are also worthy of being known and shared. The chaos, the confusion, the desperation, and even the realization that the war could not be won. The author gives all of that from the Germans.
After reading this I may look into a more traditionally written account of D-Day, but I don’t feel it’s at all necessary if I decide not to.
A unique and gripping account of mankind’s greatest day. 5 stars.
On this day in 2020 – 0 books On this day in 2021 – 3 books
Back in October when I first returned to the blog I wrote about wanting to write again. I’ve been thinking about it these last 3 months, but still no planning or outlining. There’s no rush. More recently I’ve been thinking much more about the character I want to create.
I know no one has been here since the beginning, but when I first decided to start this blog it was called “Write me a Book, John!”. I still love that name. I created it to document my writing. It was a new, fun experience I’m glad I had. Then the blog went through multiple years of rather exponential growth. I couldn’t keep up with the comments and likes and notifications. But then things fell back to earth because I’ve had several periods of not posting. But now I’m back into the swing of things and let’s get back to the origins.
I’ve been brainstorming character names. I know everyone has their own process and some may search for specific meaning in a name. I don’t. When coming up with a name I mostly go off the sound of it. Which is how I landed on Andrew Banks nearly 8 years ago. Right now I know 2 things for sure. I want the name to be Hispanic and male. The one I keep circling back to is Joe Alvarez. But I’m not convinced. What do you think? What’s your process for coming up with a name?
I wrote previously about taking my time with my reading going forward. For several months now it had been read, read, read all the time. But that’s a recipe for burnout and not reading for six months. No interest in that. So for the last week I’ve been taking it easy. Not reading.
Normally this would likely be the start of a dry period. Sometimes it can last a few weeks and others it can ruin the whole year. But not this time. I felt it was time for a mini break. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
On my birthday last month I ventured into my local BN store for the first time. This was the first time I’d been into any BN store in nearly 4 years. Suffice it to say I was not impressed. Watch and tell me your thoughts!
As we turn the page on 2020 hopefully this is the last recap post you read. This is my 2020 in books.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I finally reached my annual goal to read 50 books. As happy as I am to have done it, the actual books were a mixed bag.
Best – 5 stars
The Forgotten Man – Robert Crais PS I Still Love You – Jenny Han Chasing Darkness – Robert Crais The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz Flash Boys – Michael Lewis Suspect – Robert Crais The Sentry – Robert Crais Taken – Robert Crais The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
Good – 4 stars
The Late Show – Michael Connelly Let it Burn – Steve Hamilton Dark Sacred Night – Michael Connelly Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi Demolition Angel – Robert Crais The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan The First Rule – Robert Crais The Fall – Guillermo del Toro The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Average – 3 stars
The Watchman – Robert Crais Die a Stranger – Steve Hamilton The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins Anthem – Ayn Rand Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling World War Z – Max Brooks Brave New World – Aldous Huxley A Long Way Gone – Ishmael Beah The Room of White Fire – T. Jefferson Parker The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan American Sniper – Chris Kyle
Meh – 2 stars
The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan G is for Gumshoe – Sue Grafton The Border Lords – T. Jefferson Parker Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut Dead Man Running – Steve Hamilton Killing the Blues – Michael Brandman H is for Homicide – Sue Grafton The Jaguar – T. Jefferson Parker Trinkets – Kirsten Smith You – Caroline Kepnes The Last Straw – Jeff Kinney The Night Fire – Michael Connelly The Promise – Robert Crais Cop Town – Karin Slaughter Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Bad – 1 star
The Girls – Emma Cline The Road – Cormac McCarthy Cross Country – James Patterson I is for Innocent – Sue Grafton A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
Look at all those 2 star ratings! Just a little surprising. It’s hard to explain the difference between a 1 star rating and a 2 star. Typically there is no aspect of a 1 star book I enjoyed. Those are usually close to becoming a DNF. I only had one this year.
Though I did read 26 mysteries, I’m happy with the different genres and authors I read. I read 15 authors for the first time. On the other hand I read Robert Crais a whopping 9 times. The beauty of that trade off is now Robert Crais only has 2 books I haven’t read, so I’ll be looking for new authors to read in 2021.
2020 was rough for so many people. But I managed to accomplish a reading goal I’ve had for more than a decade, reach new financial goals I set months ago, and put myself in a great position to start 2021.
Now let’s get back to some semblance of normalcy sometime this year.
When I wrote recently about a book that somehow managed to become one of my personal top 5 reads ever, I came up with the idea to create a page here to keep an up-to-the-minute list of the best books I’ve ever read. It took me a bit longer to figure out exactly how I wanted to do it, but I ultimately settled on a list of the top 15 books I’ve started and finished. When I look at my list there are a couple of things that surprise me. 1) How far down Harper Lee’s masterpiece is (she’s barely hanging on for a spot!) and 2) Michael Connelly DOES NOT WRITE METIOCRE BOOKS.
I thought of just sharing the list in this post, but the page has links to everything I said about some of those books immediately after I read them. Now go and take a look for yourself and tell me what you think! Or, tell me some of the best books you’ve read? Maybe we have some in common!
Guys, early this morning I finished my sixth book of the year. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I have so many thoughts on it I’m making it my next video. But that’ll be for later. I have to talk about something else.
This was my sixth book of 2019, yes. But it was really my sixth in less than three weeks. I’ve already surpassed my entire 2018 of reading. In three weeks. I’m proud of that. Very much so. But there’s more.
I wrote just a few weeks ago about some of my personal struggles I haven’t been able to get over. Some of the feelings I just can’t quite kick. And guess what? Now that I’m reading a bit I’m feeling so much better and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I’m foolish for not realizing it sooner.
I have two literary tattoos. I own something like 250 books. I have this. My YouTube channel. My IG. All about books. And I know y’all know about all of these things, but what I’ve somehow forgotten is just how happy books make me. Not going out on the weekends or any of the “typical” things people my age are supposed to do, but books. Sure I love traveling and playing Xbox and even hanging out with friends, but books make me, me. And I absolutely love that.
It's the early morning hours of February 5, and I've already surpassed all of my 2018 reading. I'm so stupid. Nothing makes me happier than reading. And I haven't been doing it.
Earlier this year I made it clear how disappointed I was in my reading last year. 5 books. Just saying that makes me want to hit my head on my desk. But 2019 is off to a better start! So I decided to do a little roundup of my January reading.
Two Kinds of Truth
Harry Bosch ages in real time. In this book he’s into his 60s, but I DON’T CARE. Never stop writing him, Michael Connelly. Or we’re fighting.
I hate to say it, but this was rather unremarkable. I love Spenser. And this won’t discourage me from continuing the series, but I finished the book wanting more.
I wrote about this earlier in the week here. This book was the best crime novel I’ve read! There’s no exaggeration. I gave my reasoning in my previous post. I’m still considering it, but it’s likely a top five all-time read for me. And I have the next four in the series awaiting my curious eyes.
I said I’d stay with crime novels for a bit, and I mostly did. But this was the lone exception last month. It didn’t have hardly any laugh out loud moments, whereas the first in the series was full of them.
The Second Life of Nick Mason
This was the first in a new series written by Steve Hamilton. He’s also one of my favorite authors and it was my first time reading one of his books in several years. It’s well below 300 pages and I felt it. It went way too fast and lacked much depth throughout. But still had a number of exciting moments, which kept it at the above rating.
I count 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 books for the month! It was really in the last two weeks, but shh. I matched my entire 2018 in the first month of 2019 and I’m still going! I know there will be some down months ahead, but I’m happy with and encouraged by my start to the year.