July Reading List

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss


Welcome to my July Reading List. I am late with the blog post this month, but I have an excellent reason—work was crazy with a new fiscal year and spent time with my family. Reading and writing time has taken the back seat during this period, but I am back on track now. We all deserve a break right.

As we move into mid-summer, this is where we usually take a family vacation, often traveling back to my mom’s place in Michigan where the kids have so much to do on the ranch. This summer we find ourselves amid a pandemic that is getting worse. No news to you, I am sure. I don’t want to complain about having to stay at home, because I recognize we are in a good situation compared to many others in our country. I feel for these people and I hope we, as a country, can help our fellow citizens through these hard times. We as a family have been shopping more at the local farmer’s market and trying our best to shop local establishments instead of the big chain stores. We’ve tried to find elderly people in our neighborhood who may need help, but that isn’t easy without violating their privacy. Or Postal Carrier Bill has been a good liaison, but he has to be careful of violating people’s privacy as well. I wish this would bring our country together, as it has when we faced challenges in the past. Unfortunately, like most things these days, opportunities to bring us closer as a nation are brushed aside in favor of dividing us further. This isn’t what this post is about, so let’s wrap this side trip up by saying, instead of looking for villains, look for opportunities to be kind.

The kids and I have been home basically since mid-March, with only the occasional running of errands around town. This gave my wife and I the incentive to pull the trigger on something we have wanted to do for sometime. We bought a 22 foot Forest River Travel Trailer. With the pandemic rearing its ugly head again, and the possibility of going away anytime soon, we figured now is as good a time to as any to join the ranks of the RV weekend warriors. It gives us a safe way to get away for a trip and to make memories with our kids before they leave the nest.

Being newbies to the RV’ing lifestyle, and because of how my brain works, I have spent a ton of time researching and watching RV videos. So much so that I drive my wife crazy with it all. Not to mention when you buy a travel trailer, there are many accessories you need to get to get started. Who would have known? You got to have a ‘stinky slinky’ among other necessities.

Anyhow, our first two overnight trips went great and we are looking forward to many more trips. You can see more photos of our excursions on my Instagram. It was great to sit by the campfire and get some reading and writing done under the stars. I didn’t get as much of either done, but I am hoping with future trips, as we get settled into the normality of RV camping, that I’ll get more time to write and read when we are getting away from the bustle of life.

How’s that for a transition?


Before I get to the reading list, I want to share a format change for these blogs posts. I will share what I am reading or planning to read during the month, and share the published blurb for the book. If you would like to see what I thought of the book and my review, please consider following me on Goodreads. Going forward, I will post reviews there.


JULY READING LIST (non-RV related)

NON-FICTION

“DARK TERRITORY: THE SECRET HISTORY OF CYBER WAR” BY FRED KAPLAN

The never-before-told story of the computer scientists and the NSA, Pentagon, and White House policymakers who invented and employ the wars of the present and future – the cyber wars where every country can be a major power player and every hacker a mass destroyer, as reported by a Pulitzer Prize-winning security and defense journalist.

I choose this book for research for my current work in progress, a dystopian thriller trilogy. What are government is doing with cyber warfare almost writes itself as a dystopian setting, but more so, I can’t imagine writing a dystopian story set in the near future that doesn’t include a cyber componet.

FICTION

“THE PASSAGE” BY JUSTIN CRONIN

IT HAPPENED FAST.
THIRTY-TWO MINUTES FOR ONE WORLD TO DIE, ANOTHER TO BE BORN.

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. Wolgast is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors, but for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—toward the time a place where she must finish what should never have begun.

I don’t remember who recommended this trilogy, but I looked interesting and worthy of a read. I am listening to it on audio book and this one is about 36 hours long. Plenty of listening time to fill the day as I plug along filling out spreadsheets to keep my part of the world running during a pandemic.

“ESCaLATON” (MAELSTROM RISING BOOK 1) BY PETER NEALEN

A Storm is About to Break… 

The mission was straightforward enough. Infiltrate civil-war-torn Slovakia, rescue the hostage, then get out undetected. 

Except that it’s not Matt Bowen’s first rodeo. He and his teammates know well just how badly things can go once the metal meets the meat. 

But even these hardened combat veterans aren’t ready for what’s about to go down… 

A coordinated surprise attack. Massacres in the countryside. The next world war might have just kicked off, in a storm of blood, fire, and betrayal. 

This one has been on my list for a while and I thought it was about time to get to reading it. It has a good rating on Goodreads, so I am sure it will be an excellent read.

“THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM 1” BY ROBERT KIRKMAN

Introducing the first eight volumes of the fan-favorite, New York Times Best Seller series collected into one massive paperback collection.

In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living. With The Walking Dead #1-48, this compendium features more than one thousand pages chronicling the start of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-winning story of zombie horror, from Rick Grimes waking up alone in a hospital, his band of survivors seeking refuge on an isolated farm and the controversial introduction of Woodbury despot, The Governor.

I bought this on kindle for my son to read on our recent camping trips. I didn’t realize they packed so much of the story into this first volume. Since we had it, and I like the television series, I read it myself. It is a cool read in graphic novel format, and I like the way how you can scroll by each box (I am sure I am not using the right terminology for that—please share in the comments what you call the boxes in a graphic novel so I know for next time) of the graphic novel. I am enjoying it more than the television series. I wish it was in color, but the black and white graphic novel is cool as well. It is pricy for a kindle purchase, but you get so much for the price, it is worth it.


What are you reading? What are your suggestions? Share in the comments.


In 2038, the civil war had stalled. Fighting contained to border skirmishes between what remained of the United States of America and the Union of Reformed States. Corporal Caleb Thompson, 111th Mortuary Affairs, URSA, faced the hardest decision of his young life. Searching for deceased soldiers after a recent battle, he found himself in a situation he never expected. Would he help his lifelong friend or follow the orders of God and Country?

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