With four days left before school starts, I thought it would be fun to engage in that time honored back-to-school assignment of reflecting upon how I spent my summer. A way to inform the teacher about what my family and I did or maybe more to the point, how well I play with crayons, can write, spell, put my thoughts together, and what is important to me. Since WordPress does not have a crayon font (hint hint), I have to type this out.
Normally Bloody Bear would be doing the book reviews, but he is preparing for hibernation-it’s cold here in case you a.) did not live here or b.) do not get our weather reports. Each summer since this school thing started I spend as much of my time reading books I want to read. This summer was no different. Where this summer was different was I picked a lot of dud books. Dud books for me, maybe not for you.
Steampunk by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer, the introduction has been way better than any of the stories in the anthology. The writing is solid, but what I want to read about steampunk wise and what the authors have written about are two different things. If you are a fan of Steampunk, you may like this anthology.
The Clone Army Attacketh by Ian Doescher, the fifth book in the Shakespeare Star Wars series is good, better than The Phantom of Menace, but not as good as the first three books. It is not the author’s fault, the book is an excellent Shakespearean version of Star Wars, the problem is the material he had to work with.
Traveling to Infinity by Jane Hawking, having watched The Theory of Everything I could not help think, when did all of this happen-the movie does not present the flow of time well-and there has to be a lot more than what is in the movie. Thus, I got the book. I have only started the book, but have not been disappointed; getting a better sense of the flow of events and the detail I desired.
The Professional Chef by the CIA, I bought this last year and I am still reading and learning.
Lucky Peach, a quarterly cooking/food magazine by David Chang. I read every issue with a notepad and stack of sticky flags. Notes and highlights are a must for every issue. Like to cook, read about food, and learn? Pick up this magazine!
Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, I needed something light and fun to read. Both of these books covered that; I read both in under a week…then I made the mistake of reading various reviews on the third book in the trilogy, including one very detailed review which laid out the third book in detail. Rather than spending the money on the third book and being disappointed, I stopped reading-yes the third book would have ruined a good summer fun read for me.
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, I really wanted to like this book; in my head the Ambrose treatment of Lewis and Clark had to be fun to read. It was not. I think the problem with the book is that he could not talk to anyone involved with the book-Lewis and Clark have been dead for a while. Thus the connection he establishes with the subject is distant. It is a good read if you really want to know about Lewis and Clark, but it is not as alive as his World War II books.
The Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose, this was a fun read. If you liked Band of Brothers or any of his other World War II books, then you will like The Wild Blue which is about people who flew B24’s.
A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer, how could the kidnapping of the most famous South Korean actress and her producer husband not be a good read? When the minutiae becomes the story. It starts out engaging, with moments of humor, and then bogs down to a slog.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, I enjoyed Maze Runner-another one of those I need something quick and lite reads. I did not enjoy the end of Maze Runner, but I enjoyed everything up to that point enough that a friend convinced me to give The Scorch Trials a try. I did not like The Scorch Trials at all. It takes what I did not like about the end of Maze Runner and tries to run with it.
Seventh Son by Joseph Delaney, another I wanted something lite and fun to read pickup. Seventh Son is the first two books of the Last Apprentice series combined. I found Seventh Son to be a solid read, lite, fun, and with some world building details that did not have me questioning the setting-like Divergent, Hunger Games, and Maze Runner did.
5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook by Wizards of the Coast, I picked this up last year and “read” it then. By “read” I mean quickly read through the book finding most of it very familiar and then school got in the way. Now I have time to read the book and I love what I am reading. A careful read illuminates many gems that take me back to blue box first edition and have me thinking about the adventures I can create. Fifth Edition is NOT Fourth Edition with new stuff. Fifth Edition is a careful and thoughtful creation that combines a lot of what people loved about previous editions of Dungeons and Dragons with new ideas to make the game approachable for players new and old.
That is the highlight of my summer reading. There are four days of summer “vacation” left, so I will get more reading done, but you get the idea. Next up games, food, or travel…guess it depends upon my mood.