What Are You Reading?
© 2012 B. L. Bierley
I was having trouble having enough time to write a hub this week. With my second book’s release and the headaches that come with that task, I was hurting for what to write about in the real world. And then it hit me! Reading is my second passion, and it’s always up for discussion with me!
Getting to my point though, asking the question, “What Are You Reading?” is a dangerous venture. I only recommend asking people you know really well about their reading preferences. I found out the hard way once that it’s not a good idea to be so nosy with folks you don’t know well.
You see, I approached a random, fellow parent at one of DaVelma’s soccer practices. The guy was nose-deep in what looked like a hardback novel, and being a rabid reader I asked him what he was reading. Unfortunately the book was not a novel. Instead it was a book detailing the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Open mouth, insert size 7-1/2 sneaker, hop away.
Let’s just say that embarrassment was shared by all. I can only defend myself by saying that if he didn’t want people to know he was in AA he shouldn’t have been reading the literature out in an open, very public place. It’s definitely not anonymous if you’re sporting the philosophies sitting in a chair on a soccer sideline! Just saying.
A Quest for New Reading Material
Despite my monumental nosiness blunder, I didn’t give up asking what others are reading. In fact whenever I go out to plump up my wish list I often ask my friends what they like or are currently reading. I am an avid, rabid reader. I love to read many different genres and give my opinion to others about the work.
Naturally then, if books are the subject, take a seat because it’s going to be a long discussion. For me there are literally too many books to enjoy. I’ve found plenty that are worth the price in whatever format you currently support (paper, hardback or e-book anyone?). So for me it all boils down to the bitter tea of decision.
It’s a sure sign of maturity when you can’t let entertainment just happen, you must seek out that which best stimulates your brain’s current pleasure sensors and choose what helps you find the happy place of entertainment joy! With that in mind, the following is a list of six books I’ve read in recent years that I would recommend to others.
I will not include the mainstream favorites here, mostly because if you haven’t heard about them already I’m sure nothing I say would convince you of their worth anyway. What I will do is give you my perspective on six books that I've recently enjoyed that made me lose sleep for not being able to put them down.
"The Sentinel" by Jeremy Bishop-- a Jane Harper novel
This was a book Cap bought in our e-Book account that he recommended to me. He was sure I’d like it, and he was right! I read it in less than two days. I especially enjoyed it for its sarcastic, dark humor. It’s Sci-Fi/horror with a little political drama thrown in it for flavor. The book is also pretty graphic. So if you’re squeamish or unable to read books where things will surprise you (or frighten you so that you sleep with the lamp on all night so the vampire zombies won’t get you), skip this one. But if you can withstand the icky zombies and the bloody battle scenes, the heroine is hilarious!
"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
This book is full of late-seventies and early eighties nostalgia, but it takes place in the future world around 2045. It’s about a video game world wherein the deceased designer of said game has hidden Easter eggs that hold the keys to his fortune. The protagonist, a young gamer named Wade, is lucky enough to figure out the first one. This sets off a chain reaction of media attention and blood-thirsty competition both in the game world and the real world. Wade must decide quickly who to trust and who his real friends are. The results are astounding!
I enjoyed this book so much that it surprised me. I bought it based entirely on a review I’d read in an entertainment magazine—which I usually ignore as hype. Thankfully the reviewer’s take on the book was true for me and for Cap as well! It’s especially entertaining if you were a kid who loved early video gaming (Apple IIE, early Nintendo and the like). But current day gamers will appreciate the vivid imagery of what could be in our future. It might be a little alarming, however, if you’re one of the thousands of folks out there who equally anticipate and fear what we’re becoming as a society so technologically dependent! Again, just saying.
"A Course Called Ireland" by Tom Coyne
Okay, I read this book a couple of summers ago. But it’s one that’s stuck with me. How I found out about this book is a mystery to me at this moment. I want to say I stumbled across it while browsing my favorite book-seller’s website. That really doesn’t matter. What matters is that this book is fantastic!
A Course Called Ireland is a witty man’s first person memoir about his insane trip to walk from city to city and play every major golf course (and a few not so major ones) in Ireland. He walked (yes, on foot) with just his clubs and a backpack and wrote the most revealing and entertaining book about his trip! I am not a golf expert, in fact I play very poorly only about twice or three times a year. But I loved this book! It wasn’t just about golf. It was about travel and humor and life and golf. I’ve recommended it to everyone I know who might even be remotely interested in golf or humor!
“The Last Kingdom” by Bernard Cornwell
This is a historical novel based on known history but given a fictional characterization. It’s not entirely true, mind you. But it tells a realistic tale of how the Saxons and Danes battled for control of England. It’s only the first in a series, so I might have more to recommend later. So far this one gets an A+ from me. And I have DaVelma’s pre-AP History teacher for recommending it to me. Thanks, Mr. B!
Caution must be mentioned, however. The battle scenes and the graphic descriptions of death and destruction are difficult to stomach if you're not used to pre-medieval warfare. Mr. Cornwell does not skimp on the details, either. But if you can handle the way it really would have been, this is not to be missed.
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
Okay, sure, they made a movie with beautiful people playing the parts. And I know everyone will cringe when I say the same clichéd thing I usually say: “The book is so much more than just what a movie can portray!” But it’s true. This book is a stunning portrait of a depressed old man’s recollection of the depression era, when he was a misplaced youth of his own making.
The story begins with an old man telling his story of life in his mind to the reader. It expands on that and gives a heart wrenching drama that comes alive on the page. After the death of his parents, our hero Jacob dropped out of veterinary school on the day of his final examinations and, without knowing what might happen, hopped a freight train.
The story continues with Jacob in a whirlwind adventure, ironically dependent on his veterinary knowledge just to keep from being tossed off of a moving train on a daily basis. The traveling circus he ends up with is not Ringling Brothers, but he meets a few characters along the way that he comes to rely on as friends! But he’s got to use his wits and cunning intellect to survive the almost insane cruelty that lurks behind the curtains and the painted marquees. And yes, Rosie the elephant is an important character! There is a lurking humor as well as sadness in this work. But the story is worth your time on the page.
There's no way to ensure that my recommendations are worthy of your time or money. I make no claims to this. But if you enjoy a good story with a little humor thrown in , at least one ot these books should hit on your preferences. And in my usual discalimer, do not let the price of a book determine whether or not it's worthy of your time. I find a few gems now and then when I read a Free Friday book or a 0.99 center that I discover in the low to high priced searches I perform when I'm broke.
If you're not sure what you want to read, I recommend checking out book selling websites and Amazon.com. Usually you can organize your search to single out areas that interest you or organize your preferences by criteria that matter to you (release date, price, popularity, et cetera).
The best advice for finding a book is to trust your instincts and just read! Good luck to you all!