Oh, the Humanity!

It might not have been a good idea to watch Avengers: Endgame on Sunday morning and this season’s Episode 3 of Game of Thrones on Monday evening. I’m an emotional wreck.

No spoilers, but in both cases some favorite characters died. I know exactly which ones left us in Endgame, but thanks to the overly dark ambience in Game of Thrones, I’m not completely sure who was killed and who is still among the living. There may be tears shed after next week’s episode when we learn their fates.

On a slightly, but not really, related note, this floater in my right eye is bumming me out. My understanding is that it might be my new normal. I’m thinking of naming it “Splot” because it’s more than a “Spot,” but less than a “Blot.” Out, damned Splot!

I teared up as I told Studly Doright that there’s a possibility I’ll never get to ride a roller coaster again for fear of ending up with a detached retina. Roller coasters are my thing, and I’d hoped for a few more good years of riding with my grandkids. Studly, who doesn’t want anything to do with roller coasters had trouble empathizing with me.

“It’s like when you had to give up racquetball after your knee replacement surgeries,” I told him.

“Yep, and I did it,” he gloated. Studly isn’t exactly known for his willpower, so that carried some weight.

“As long as I can still read, I guess I’ll be okay,” I sighed.

“Look on the bright side,” Studly said. “Reading has never sent you to the chiropractor. Roller coaster riding always does.”

He’s right, dammit. Here’s to many more years of reading.

Peace, people.

Beetles and Spiders and Wasps. Oh My!

Studly Doright is tired of hearing me talk about the series of books I just finished reading, but I’m not through talking about them. That’s bad news for my readers, so feel free to tune out any time. If you enjoy the sci-fi/fantasy genres, though, you might want to stick around for just a minute or two.

The series in question is Adrian Tchaikovsky’s epic “Shadows of the Apt” told in ten novels and followed up in three, soon to be four, companion books of short stories.

The first book in the series, Empire in Black and Gold, introduces readers to a world in which humans have evolved not from apes, but from various insects, arachnids, mollusks, and other species. Their evolutionary process is relatively young, and some species are more evolved than others. Indeed, some humans, such as those evolved from beetles and wasps, are apt, in this case meaning that they understand mechanical processes and have developed machines similar to our automobiles and airplanes.

Other humans, or kinden, in this world cannot operate a simple doorknob. These species are inapt. Spider-kinden, moth-kinden, and butterfly-kinden fall into this category.

Individual members of each kinden develop arts inherited from their species. For example, wasp, bee, fly, and moth kinden can all fly. Some kinden have excellent night vision. Spider-kinden are adept at deception, and scorpion-kinden are fierce warriors.

I must admit that at the beginning I was somewhat put off by the kinden tag, but soon it seemed natural as the story and characters developed. And Tchaikovsky is a master at developing a universe of characters and juggling multiple story lines.

Without giving too much away, the wasp-kinden have grand plans to dominate the world, and it falls to a loose coalition of other kinden to attempt to prevent this from happening with varying degrees of success and failure. As one might imagine there are barriers to peaceful coexistence between the varied kinden. Prejudices against, and preconceived notions about different kinden make for delicate negotiations. There are traitors and spies, turncoats and heroes among all the kinden.

Tchaikovsky writes battle scenes that make one feel as if they are right there in the middle of the action, too. I’m not a particularly violence-prone person, but the author made me believe that I might be able to go toe to toe with a wasp, as long as I stayed beyond the range of his vicious sting.

I came to care about so many of these characters: Cheerwell Maker, a young beetle-kinden, and her uncle Stenwold,; Thalric, a conflicted wasp-kinden; and Taki, an amazing fly-kinden. My only complaint is that there aren’t more books in the series.

As I read “Shadows of the Apt” I couldn’t help but wonder which kinden I’d be. A purposeful beetle? Maybe. A sensual spider? Hardly. A graceful butterfly? Hahaha! A war-like wasp? Could be. Chances are, I’d be a slug; although, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll have to read the series to discover why.

Peace, and happy reading, people.

Almost a Review of “Children of Time”

Amazon periodically sends me suggestions for new books based on my reading history. Some of their book picks are hits; others are complete misses. My most recent purchase was a home run in the sci-fi genre.

Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky is riveting. The setting alternates between an ark ship from a dying planet earth and the green planet that the humans have targeted as their best hope for mankind’s survival.

Unbeknownst to the travelers, the planet has been seeded with a nanovirus by much earlier explorers from earth. Originally, the nanovirus was intended to mentally enhance a colony of monkeys from earth; however, the best laid plans of monkeys and men go awry and the nanovirus interacts with an entirely different species, several of them, in fact.

The trials and tribulations of the crew members on the ark ship, Gilgamesh, as they travel for thousands of years going in and out of suspension and awakening to new realities every few hundred years are fascinating. There are coups and crises, romances and disappointments among the humans trying to establish a new foothold on an alien world.

But even more intriguing is the nanovirus-triggered sentience in an unexpected alien species. I won’t give away the details, but I found myself rooting for these non-mammals in the epic, penultimate battle for survival. I want to go live on their extraordinary world.

If I had ten thumbs, I’d raise every one of them for this book. The author spins a great tale.

Peace, people!

Quick Post

Read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.

I started it yesterday and finished it early this morning. Cried like a baby and never could go back to sleep.

In these days of Americans parading around as would-be Nazis and proudly proclaiming white supremacy we need books like The Nightingale to remind us of the horrors perpetrated by those who fought for Hitler’s Germany.

Never forget the atrocities.

Read it Again, Ma’am

I read all the time. If I could no longer read for some reason I’m sure I’d wither away and die. Oh sure, I could listen to books on tape, and I suppose I could make do, but there’s something magical about the way a reader interacts with a book that a recording can’t replicate.

My taste these days runs to science fiction/fantasy, but I’m always looking for some new delicacy regardless of genre. And then there are my favorites. These are books I’ve read more than once, and for someone like me who’s always looking for the next literary thrill this repeat reading is the highest compliment I can pay a book.

So what select books are among my repeats?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is number one. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve delved into the world of Scout Finch, and I read it at least once a year in the fall.

2) Stephen King’s, The Stand, is a close second. The epic tale of good versus evil still gives me chills, and I become suspicious of any sniffle or cough, certain that Captain Trips is about to wipe out most of humanity.

3) A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, comes in third, and I can’t really say why. There’s something about this coming of age story that draws me in. My heart aches for these boys on the brink of manhood and all of the pitfalls awaiting them. If I pick up my well worn copy when I’m dusting or otherwise moving stuff around I can’t help but begin reading it again.

4) I’ve read all but one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series multiple times, having read the series from the beginning every time a new book in the series was released. So I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone seven times, while I’ve only read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows once.

I’ve recently added a new book to those deemed worthy of a rereading. This book, The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig, is the first book that comes to mind when a friend asks for a recommendation. So when I didn’t have a new book in the queue, I thought it might be time to remember why I recommend it so often.

The Whistling Season is set in Montana in 1909. A widower with three sons takes on a housekeeper whose ad, “Can’t cook, but doesn’t bite” intrigues him. The widower and his sons get much more than they bargained for when Rose and her brother, Morrie come into their lives.

This book is an homage to education and the one room school house, and to a time when life was a bit slower, but no less complicated than it is today. The language is incredible and the story so compelling I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reread it.

Those are mine. What books have you read repeatedly? I’m always looking for my next favorite. Looking forward to suggestions.

Peace, people!

A Suggested Guide for Reading in 2017

I found this reading checklist on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing. 


Wouldn’t it be fun to tackle the list in order? I’ve needed to shake up my reading pattern for awhile, and this might be the ticket. Anyone care to join me? We could discuss our choices at the end of every second week.

Peace, and good reading, people.

What to Read? What to Read?

After weeks of dragging my feet, on Sunday evening I finally finished reading the eighth, and thus far, final book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Fittingly, my well worn Kindle Paper White e-reader bit the dust with less than 3% of the book remaining as if it knew I didn’t want the story to end. Thank goodness I have the kindle app on my iPhone, though, so I was able to cry myself to sleep with Siri comforting me.


She’s a rock, that Siri. Salt of the earth, and all that.


As soon as I was able to leave work on Monday afternoon I drove with cautious haste to Best Buy and bought a new Kindle Paper White. The relative ease with which I registered the device and downloaded my virtual library restored my sense of well being. Once again all was right with my world.

Except that now I had no idea what to read next. At random I chose a book with a catchy title. The Shelf Life of Happiness by David Machado. In contrast to the weeks, nay months, I’d spent with the Outlander books, The Shelf Life of Happiness took exactly four hours to read. It’s a good book, totally unlike the Outlander series, and I found that comforting. The last thing I needed was a poorly written replica of a cherished series. 


Currently I’m looking for my next great read, and I’m open to suggestions. My tastes are eclectic, but I greatly enjoy science fiction/fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels, (zombies are a plus), as long as they’re well written. Outlander was a bit of a departure for me because it was a historical, albeit, time-travel romance.

So what are your suggestions dear readers? I’m eager for some new perspectives. The world is my library, and this is my motto: Have Kindle; Can Download.
Note: I still purchase physical books, just in case of an apocalypse, lest anyone should fear for my reading soul.

Peace, and happy reading, people.

Outlander Angst

I started book seven of the Outlander series today. Those of you who urged me to read Diana Gabaldon’s epic tale of love, lust, war, and time travel should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Before entering the universe occupied by Jamie (sigh!) and Claire, I was relatively normal. 

And, when pressed as to why I hadn’t read the books, being the avid reader that I am, I’d smirk, “I don’t read romance novels,” in a slightly condescending voice. 

Then one day I panicked, having found myself without a book queued up on my Amazon wish list, and so to pacify my earnest Outlander loving friends I placed an order for that first book on kindle. I’ve not been the same since.

From the outset it was clear that the first book, from whence the series takes its name, was more than a simple romance novel. There was complexity here, and, well, time travel. I read science fiction and fantasy, so this was right up my alley. 

In the middle of the third book of the series, Voyager, something shifted. I began dreaming about the characters, not just as they are in the books, but as if we were interacting in real time. We’d have full-blown conversations. In addition I began thinking in a Scottish accent. Please tell me I’m not nuts. 

Now, at the beginning of book seven, I’m on the verge of a breakdown. At present, there are eight books in the series. I’m on the next to the last one. 

The books are long, and I am not a fast reader. Jamie (sigh!) and Claire will be with me for at least another month. Even so, that special heartache of knowing I’m in the final stages of a great series has set in. I can’t put the book down, thus I soon will have nothing left of Jamie (sigh!) and Claire.


And if anyone suggests I watch the televised version of the series, I will slap them. After all, I don’t watch romance!

Peace, people.

Twice as Nice

Second Time Around

Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

Generally when I’ve finished reading a book I’m done with it, regardless of how wonderful or well-written it was. There are two books, however, that I’ve read multiple times and will read again: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s The Stand.

To Kill a Mockingbird should be mandatory reading for every citizen of this country. If one ever doubted the existence of white privilege Ms. Lee spells it out in this tale of racism and heroism in a small southern town. 

King’s The Stand is the most frightening book I’ve ever read. Good and evil literally battle for dominion of the earth in this post-apocalyptic thriller. Often I joke that I read portions of it with my eyes closed. 

In both cases movies have been made from these novels, and I believe a remake of The Stand is in the works. By all means watch the films, but the books are worthy of reading and reading again. 

Note: I’ve also read all of the Harry Potter books numerous times, but I’d already broken the prompt’s rule and didn’t want to go to Daily Prompt prison.

Peace, people.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/second-time-around/”