Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s recommendation is: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book already, get on it. Even after 60 years, it’s as relevant and thought provoking as ever. Fun fact: most dystopian novels mention a perpetual war happening somewhere outside of the story being told.


 

This was my second book recommendation after I started doing recommendations. It was originally only posted on my Patreon page and decided it needed to be posted here also. This book is great. HBO released a movie based on it this past weekend (May 19th) and I hope it lives up to the book. I’m sure they will change a lot, but we will see.

It was a pleasure to burn. Such a great first line. My original recommendation does state that you need to read this if you haven’t, and of course I stand by that 100%. I know it is often required reading in many schools. If you originally read it in school, read it again because it gets better the older you get (as most books do). This book is fairly short at around 150 pages. You can probably read it in a weekend if not a day. Go to your library and read it.

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I know, it seems a little like cheating recommending the most popular book series of the last 20 years (21 actually, it came out in 1997) that also became hugely successful movies. However, it did occur to me that there may be a few people on this planet who have not heard of this series (they were probably all born in the last few years and have names like Hermione, Severus, Cedric, Sirius, etc.). I recently saw someone who was older than me admit they hadn’t read the series and was going to check it out. As with most things that become famous throughout the world, many people will be grouped into two mindsets about the work. Either it is the best thing ever, or they won’t read it and think it’s overrated. I’ll admit I’m stuck in the middle because I like so many things (I may be leaning toward the first group though). If you are being stubborn and don’t want to read it because you’re tired of your friends talking about it or think you know the story just from hearsay, stop being stubborn enough to give the books a chance. Maybe you haven’t read them because you’ve seen the movies. Try the books (books are often better than the movies, with few exceptions). If you’ve read the books, then let’s face it, you didn’t even bother to read this recommendation which means I wrote this sentence for no reason.

I grew up with these books. I was only six years old in 1997 and remember reading the books as they were released. I couldn’t just dive into the whole series at once (as you can now). I had to wait until a pallet full of books were delivered to bookstores before I could get one, go home, and devour the whole thing in a day or two. I remember waiting in line for the first movie, which came out in 2001. I grew up with Harry. We were close to the same age as I followed him on his adventures.

Another reason I’m recommending this book now is because I’m actually in London today on vacation. J.K. Rowling was born in the United Kingdom and wrote these books on this island. The original title of this first book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The “sorcerer” switch happened when the books came to the United States (because we have to be different, also because we do speak differently).

If you’ve read these books, check out a previous recommendation. If you haven’t, this book is about a young boy who finds out he is a wizard and goes off to a wizarding school. That’s all I’ll give you about the book because I’d hate to accidentally give away a spoiler. This book is about magic. That might be all you need to know. I look forward to reading this series to my kids one day.

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. Somewhat subject related to last week’s recommendation, this book is about Star Wars but not in the way you may think. This is Carrie Fisher’s memoir about her time working on the original Star Wars movie that released in 1977. She has several other memoirs, which I would like to read. I picked up this one shortly after she passed away in December 2016.

This book is centered around Star Wars but really doesn’t talk about it as a subject at all. It is a great insight into what celebrity life can be like and goes into detail about the events of her life before and after the movies created one of the largest fandoms in history (probably the largest ever). It begins with her discussing how she never planned to go into show-business. One reason was because she grew up seeing the other side of the business being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds. I never realized how young she was when the first Star Wars trilogy was made. She was only 19 during the first movie. Another main topic of the book is her affair with Harrison Ford, which probably doesn’t go into enough detail for some but I thought it was well composed. Nearly a third of this book are actual pages of her diaries from the late 70’s. Diaries she re-discovered which prompted the book.

I think this book provides great details about who she was. She was often conflicted and always combating low self-esteem despite being an outwardly strong, independent role-model who seemingly never gave a shit. She definitely grew into that role. The later half details interactions with fans. You can imagine how some of the interactions go, but a few she details are something else. Though I can be really compassionate about things, I always think that if I were to meet an idol, I would keep my interaction brief and courteous (because I understand they have better things to do than talk to me). Though some fans go beyond the comfort levels, it was great to read that she had many great interactions and that she enjoyed every minute of meeting most of her fans.

This book is about how Carrie Fisher became Princess Leia and embodied that character nearly her entire life. She became an icon and had to live with the rewards and consequences of that. If you like memoirs or want to know more about Carrie or even just a little insight behind the scenes of Star Wars, give this book a read.

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss. This is a Star Wars book, so this may only be of interest to a few million (maybe few hundred million) people on the planet. I believe this book can also interest many people who are not fans of Star Wars. If you’ve never heard of Star Wars, please tell me which planet you hail from as I am interested in interstellar travel. I am recommending this book because: 1) I like it (surprise), and 2) this Friday is May 4th, which has been deemed Star Wars day.

Now, onto the details. This book follows the missions of a elite four-man squad of commandos during the Clone Wars era of this franchise. What makes it great, besides the spec ops side of the story, is the special look into the lives of these soldiers. They are clones bred for one purpose and trained excruciatingly to be the best. They are not considered human but rather government/army property. The names they are given are tied to their number designations or a reference to their specialty (i.e. the name of one demolitions expert is Scorch). When grown (they were grown not born), their genes were manipulated so they aged twice as fast as a normal human. This was done so the soldiers would be ready in half the time it would have normally taken. Because of this, almost all of these soldiers are literally ten-year-olds in twenty year old bodies. This accelerated aging becomes a point of interest later on in the series. Yes, it is a series of five books that starts during the Clone Wars and ends after the formation of the Empire.

This first book focuses on one squad of commandos, a Jedi, and the squad’s original Mandalorian trainer who is one of a handful who believes these men/boys deserve much better than what they were given and will fight to help them. I won’t go into the specifics of their mission in this book to stay away from spoilers. The second book brings in another four-man squad of commandos. This squad is actually the one you get to play as/with in the Republic Commando video game that came out in 2005 and was incredible. I still play it from time to time.

What I think is most interesting about this series are the conflicts that occur because these elite soldiers are clones. The way they are treated/viewed by the citizens of the galaxy they are fighting for is saddening and, I hate to say, realistic. The psychological and physical issues are staggering and can mirror many problems we face in our own, real world.

Karen Traviss (who has written books from several franchises) does a great job portraying this squad. She is an excellent writer of action/military/science fiction. If you don’t like Star Wars, try another one of her books.

I know even the fans of Star Wars are split on several issues including how the newest movies are altering the fictional world they know and not meeting some expectations (which happens). This franchise has changed the world several times over the last 40+ years. I was even a little upset when I found out that all of the books that take place after episode six were unceremoniously thrown aside and we are supposed to act like they never existed. Of course I hate that. There were many awesome stories in those books and I’m sure those authors worked hard to make those stories not only compelling but fit into the overall story of the franchise/universe. All that elaborate work seemingly no longer relevant or included. I haven’t read all of them (not even close, there are so many). I’ve only read a few. This series is by far my favorite of this franchise. Luckily it is still part of the Star Wars canon.

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd. Fair warning, there will be a few caveats in the recommendation, but know I am recommending this book because I like it. The story follows Isak who is a white-eye. White-eyes are born bigger, more charismatic, and more powerful than normal men. Basically chosen by the gods to be leaders and, theoretically, guide humanity to create a good world (because we have a hard time of doing this for ourselves). White-eyes are still technically human though, and they have their faults. Bad tempers being one of them, which makes it hard going when they are often outcasts. Isak is an outcast, but is given an opportunity when he is chosen as heir-elect by Lord Bahl, Lord of the Farlan. From here the adventure ramps up. Full of magic and epic fights, this book and its sequels are a great read, especially for fans of fantasy.

Now, the few limitations I have to reveal about this recommendation are: It has been some time since I’ve read this book, and I have only read the first three books of this series. I found this book as most people find books, in the bookstore (you can find it in libraries too of course). I read it, then the next, and the next….and then I found out the fourth book was not yet published. Of course it was a bummer because that meant waiting for the story to continue (damn authors not finishing their work to fit my schedule, I say hypocritically (and in jest) while still working on my first novel). I went on reading other books and didn’t know that the next two books came out, but I will be returning to this series. I’ll probably start over and read them all the way through, especially since the series is now completed.

If you’ve beaten me to finishing this series, please let me know how you liked it (spoiler free please). If I end up beating you to finishing the series, I’ll update this recommendation

Happy Reading.