August/September Reading List

I have been a slacker with getting August’s Reading List out, but hey, we are coming to the end of COVID summer. It has been strange, but we have found ways to enjoy it. Now is a time to enjoy the weather and outdoors while we can. This is especially important in the PNW, where we will head into cloud cover and the rainy season for about six months.

Not only have I been slow to publish the August Reading List—I have not done much reading, nor listened to audio books like I normally do. Sometimes we need to change things up a bit. I rarely watch television, but I have been catching up on some shows, writing, spending time outdoors, and working around the house. We are still camping frequently, going every other weekend. This Friday we are off to Waldport, OR, which is on the coast, so I am sure there will be postings on Instagram of our trip.

As for writing, I am getting very close to finishing up my outline, and I am hoping to get started on the first draft in September. This has been a long process which I’ll post about in the next week or two. I have learned so much, and I am excited to move on to the next step in my journey to write this book. It seems like I have been working on this book for so long. Truthfully, at times it is discouraging. Then today I heard someone on one of my regular podcasts, say that it is common for the first book to be a long process, and that it gets better with time and experience. They also said that it is common for an author’s first book to not be good. I am hoping I can buck that, but if it is not what I hope for—it is a stepping stone on the path to becoming an author. I won’t let that deter me.

I am going to combine this post with the September Reading List and keep it short.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER READING LIST

“ESCALATION (MAELSTROM RISING BOOK 1)” by PETER NEALEN

This book kept showing up in online suggestions from other books I have read, and it sounded interesting, but I kept pushing it off for one reason or another. Finally, I got around to reading it, and truthfully it took me a bit to get into it, which is surprising since it is action from the get go. Written in first person, which suits this book well, we follow Matt Bowen, a military contractor, through an action-packed adventure of survival at the outbreak of war and their situation rapidly deteriorates. This book fits solidly into military fiction and plot driven. I would have liked to have more depth to the characters. I wasn’t that invested in them. The story is heavy on action, and filled with in-depth knowledge of gear, weapons and tactics. I don’t see myself carrying on with the series, not that the book is bad—it’s not. It’s just not my thing. I want to care about the characters. I like military fiction, especially when you learn more about the principal character and those in their life; besides how they fare in combat. Not everyone can be W.E.B Griffin or Tom Clancy.

Here is the book blurb:

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. 

Read the visceral, hard-hitting action thriller that will leave your ears ringing! 

“THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM, VOL. 2” BY ROBERT KIRKMAN

You can read about my thoughts on volume 1 (July Reading List/Goodreads, and I feel much the same about volume 2.

I haven’t read many graphic novels, but I am loving this series. I like TWD graphic novels more than the television series. I can’t recommend this series enough. Check it out.

“THE MOUNTAIN (RYAN DECKER #3)” BY STEVEN KONKOLY

I came across Steven’s “Alex Fletcher” series and I couldn’t get enough. After reading that, I burned through his back catalog and any recent work he has written. He has become one of my preferred author’s. I am late to get to “The Mountain” as I had other books in the reading queue, but the anticipation of getting to read it has not diminished in the slightest. As I write this now, I know tomorrow I am starting in on “The Mountain” and I am looking forward to it. With a 3 day camping trip coming up this weekend, this will be my go to book for the trip.

“The Mountain” book blurb:

Investigating a missing persons case on Murder Mountain means looking for trouble in a propulsive thriller by the author of The Raid.

When someone disappears on Northern California’s lawless Murder Mountain, it isn’t news. The vast terrain for illegal marijuana harvests is also a notorious black hole for outsiders. But when that someone is the family friend of the persuasive and righteous Senator Steele, finding him becomes covert investigator Ryan Decker’s mission.

For Decker, the risks of infiltrating a multibillion-dollar outlaw industry are greater than he could possibly understand. Especially when that industry has flourished into the profitable backbone of a secretive and influential DC-based think tank. And protecting its untraceable revenue in the Emerald Triangle is a band of ruthless white nationalists.

What begins as a seemingly straightforward favor soon pulls Decker and his partner, Harlow Mackenzie, into a high-stakes conspiracy linked to the most cold-blooded puppet masters and power brokers in the country. The harder Decker and Harlow work to expose the insidious faction, the harder it’ll be to make it out of Murder Mountain alive.

“LION IN THE WHITE HOUSE: A LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT” BY AIDA D. DONALD

I am intrigued with Theodore Roosevelt because of the tidbit of information I have heard about him, but in reality I know very little about him. From what I know, he sounds like a person with whom I can relate. I could be wrong, but this is why we read about historical figures. My impression is that he is into firearms, which I am to a point (in a practical sense). I am not into collecting guns or gun culture, but I see them for practical/utilitarian purposes and that has guided my purchases (sorry I got side-tracked). I understand that he was a conservationist and environmentalist, and I can appreciate that. Who can’t appreciate all the public lands he has designated for public use over private consumption? He was an explorer and an adventurer which I envy, as I have little to no experience. He was a veteran who led by example by the accounts of those who he lead into battle. All this from a child who was asthmatic and frail. We’ll see how my assumptions and understanding match up with the man himself.

The book blurb is:

New York State Assemblyman, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, New York City Police Commissioner, Governor of New York, Vice President and, at forty-two, the youngest President ever-in his own words, Theodore Roosevelt “rose like a rocket.” He was also a cowboy, a soldier, a historian, an intrepid explorer, and an unsurpassed environmentalist-all in all, perhaps the most accomplished Chief Executive in our nation’s history. In Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt, historian Aida Donald masterfully chronicles the life of this first modern president. TR’s accomplishments in office were immense. As President, Roosevelt redesigned the office of Chief Executive and the workings of the Republican Party to meet the challenges of the new industrial economy. Believing that the emerging aristocracy of wealth represented a genuine threat to democracy, TR broke trusts to curb the rapacity of big business. He improved economic and social conditions for the average American. Roosevelt built the Panama Canal and engaged the country in world affairs, putting a temporary end to American isolationism. And he won the Nobel Peace Prize-the only sitting president ever so honored. Throughout his public career, TR fought valiantly to steer the GOP back to its noblest ideals as embodied by Abraham Lincoln. Alas, his hopes for his party were quashed by the GOP’s strong rightward turn in the years after he left office. But his vision for America lives on. In lapidary prose, this concise biography recounts the courageous life of one of the greatest leaders our nation has ever known.

“THE BOURNE IDENTITY (JASON BOURNE #1)” BY ROBERT LUDLUM

This is one of my favorite movie series and I am ashamed to say I have not read the novels. I plan to right that wrong now. This movie is one of the defining reasons that has inspired me to write thriller stories. I can not tell you how excited I am to read this series, and I am hoping the books are far better than the movies.

The book blurb:

Who is Jason Bourne? Is he an assassin, a terrorist, a thief? Why has he got four million dollars in a Swiss bank account? Why has someone tried to murder him?…

Jason Bourne does not know the answer to any of these questions. Suffering from amnesia, he does not even know that he is Jason Bourne. What manner of man is he? What are his secrets? Who has he killed? 

“A FAREWELL TO ARMS” BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

I read this book in school, oh probably some 30+ years ago. I want to incorporate some classics into my reading queue. I don’t remember what my thoughts were of this book. But I feel it has been long enough since I read it, that it will be mostly fresh. I hope I can pull some influence from this book, but time will tell how well it holds up to an advancing society.

The book blurb:

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield – the weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote his ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right.


What are you reading as we come to the end of Summer 2020?


If you haven’t read “We Were Like Brothers” – A Dystopian Short Story, if you subscribe to my email updates and news, I’ll send you a gift copy.

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