Help me Name a Character

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?

Mickey Haller is Coming to Netflix!

Yes! I hate when characters get caught up in the abyss of adaptations and rights are purchased and then nothing happens. For any fellow Michael Connelly fans, you probably know this is what happened in the early days of Harry Bosch. Then Michael Connelly spent years fighting to get the rights back. Ultimately, Amazon’s Bosch was created and so well done.

Something similar almost happened with Mickey Haller, Harry Bosch’s half-brother who works out of his Lincoln. The defense attorney who rarely comes across a case he won’t take. Most have probably seen The Lincoln Lawyer adaptation. It was okay. Nothing great, and not surprising that it didn’t spawn a series of movies. Later, CBS bought the rights to pursue a series, which went nowhere. Seems unlikely Netflix won’t finally adapt the smart talking defense attorney into a worthy series.

Mickey Haller isn’t my favorite character created, but he’s rather enjoyable. Have you read any of his books by Michael Connelly?

Slowing Down

If you read this blog you probably know I read quite a bit to finish off 2020. Mostly because I was set on reaching my reading goal for the first time. In December I was reading 3-4 hours on some nights to keep my momentum going.

Now it seems I’m still in that mode to read as much as possible. These last few days I’ve found myself debating whether to read another hour before bed. Often this is between 1:00-2:00AM. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, but there are 52 weeks this year. Plenty of time to continue a solid reading pace without falling asleep with my current book.

I may start to take a day off here and there. In 8 months if I’m behind schedule, then I’ll shift into high gear.

Scheduled Reading

I’m trying something for the first time this year. Because I’ve still been bad about reading books I already own, I’ve decided to schedule which books I’m going to be reading throughout this year.

What I’ve done is I’ve examined my TBR shelf. Even after the 50 books I read last year I still have nearly 70 unread books. I learned the most common reason for me to constantly skip over a book is length. It’s the only reason, quite frankly. So I’m stuck with dozens of books 500-700 pages in length I can never bring myself to read. Until now.

I came up with a system. For every book I read over 450 pages, I’ll read two that are less than that. Because the alternative is leaving these on the TBR shelf in perpetuity. No one has time for that.

Is this something you’ve done before?

Number 50 – Mexican Gothic

I did it! 50 books in a single calendar year for the first time! I know I’ve been mentioning this quite a bit, but it really makes me happy to have finally accomplished an annual goal I’ve been setting for over a decade. I decided I’m going to start posting every review I write on Goodreads on here too. Tomorrow I’ll have a thorough reflection on 2020 and thoughts on what’s to come in 2021, but today I leave you with my review of one of the most talked about books of the year. Hope you reached your goal!

Noemí Taboada receives a strange letter from her cousin, Catalina and sets off to see she’s okay. What she finds is right out of a horror novel.

This was the first time I’ve ever read a book during it’s original publication year. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge I bought this because of the hype. I am not familiar with the author or any of her previous work. But this book seemed to be everywhere after its release.

What I wanted when starting this book was to read a Mexican story for the first time. Immediately Noemí leaves Mexico City and where does she go? To an English family. It doesn’t come across as any different than a story set in NY.

While reading there were two stories I found myself comparing this to. Dracula and The Strain, but much more heavily toward The Strain. Howard Doyle is a copy of The Master. The major difference is he isn’t building an army to take over the world.

The most enjoyable part of the story is no doubt Noemí. She takes no shit. She stands up for herself and her cousin, and even Francis for some reason.

The author has an enjoyable writing style with vivid descriptions that create stunning images as you read. But the story is incredibly slow to start. If it could have moved along at a quicker pace, it could have been a great book. 2 stars.

2020 Sucked, but These Books Didn’t

Today’s the day. No, the year isn’t quite over just yet. But today’s the day I reveal the best books I read this year. Obviously, I’d like you to take a look at the video to hear what I have to say, but because we’re talking about the year’s best I’m also writing about them here.

Every one of these books was a five star read for me. In order read:

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

As you can see, Robert Crais wrote HALF of my five star reads for the entire year. Insanity. If you can believe it, there were other books of his I didn’t rate as highly. But he really set the bar this year. He’s been one of my favorite authors for some time, but he dominated my reading this year. I read him nine times. He’s cemented himself as the best crime novelist writing today and I have too many reasons to hit on right now.

It would be pointless to write this and not mention the top of the top. The best book I read this year was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I previously wrote a review on here for it, so no point in reviewing it again.

Most surprising, the number two book of the year was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I went in with limited expectations and page after page, chapter after chapter was impressed. I’m limited in my exposure to memoirs, but this an excellent read and I imagine on par with any other.

Lastly, I feel obligated to mention Rick Riordan. I read four of the five Percy Jackson books this year. He seemingly improved with every single one, with his best coming with the final in the series. It was full of heart-wrenching, heart-stopping moments that made me happy to have taken a chance on the books. A phenomenal finale to a rather enjoyable series.

What were some of your top reads this year?

2020’s Worst Reads

We made it! It’s the final week of this trainwreck of a year. To celebrate I’m going to talk about lots of books I read this year throughout the final days of 2020. First, I’m talking about the books that don’t deserve a second reading. Ever.

What were some of the worst reads for you this year?