What Have I Read Lately? Quick Book Reviews – Feb 2014 Update

 

I try to read as often as I can, and try to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. Lately it appears to have been mainly non-fiction. 
Late in the summer of 2013, I thought I had read most of Stephen King’s books but alas after some research I have missed out on quite a few. I have been making a concerted effort to read all of his books and it shows in what I have read since November. I think King also does an amazing job pricing his books for Kindle downloads. Many of the older titles can be had for less than a used paperback copy. Over the last three months I have read:

 

 Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. It is a followup to The Shining, and one of his better works. A great book about addiction, helping others and it is of course dark. As of this writing it is only $7.99 on Amazon for the Kindle Edition.

 In the tall grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill. A very quick read about a cornfield that is alive and tries to trick passersby on the highway to entering.

 

 

 

 Mile 81 by Stephen King, another quick read. Well worth the $2.99 to download on to your Kindle.

 

 

 

 

War by Sebastian Junger, by far my favorite book as of late and highly recommended. Publisher’s Weekly sums up the book perfectly in their review. “Junger spent 14 months in 2007–2008 intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, one of the bloodiest corners of the conflict. The soldiers are a scruffy, warped lot, with unkempt uniforms—they sometimes do battle in shorts and flip-flops—and a ritual of administering friendly beatings to new arrivals, but Junger finds them to be superlative soldiers. Junger experiences everything they do—nerve-racking patrols, terrifying roadside bombings and ambushes, stultifying weeks in camp when they long for a firefight to relieve the tedium. Despite the stress and the grief when buddies die, the author finds war to be something of an exalted state: soldiers experience an almost sexual thrill in the excitement of a firefight—a response Junger struggles to understand—and a profound sense of commitment to subordinating their self-interests to the good of the unit. Junger mixes visceral combat scenes—raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion—with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire.”

 The Shadow over Innsmouth by HP Lovecraft, a classic dark read. The story is set in a small seaside town in

New England, where the main character goes on a quick trip to explore their roots. The book was written in the 1930s but reads as if it was written today. A great story.

 

 

 Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, both by Orson Scott Card. I loved science fiction growing up and can not believe I never read this series. The new movie starring Harrison Ford is what made me read the books. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
 

 

The Tommyknockers, by Stephen King. Another great book by Stephen King that I missed at some point. Set in a small rural town in Maine. An author finds something on her property and is then compelled to dig it up to figure out what it is. The object eventually begins to control her and the story becomes warped from there. A great story that like much of King’s writing would probably not translate well into a movie.

 

 


2,000 to 10,000. How to write faster, write better and write more, by Rachel Aaron. Absolute garbage and a waste of $0.99. The reviews for the book were great which make me think that the author bought the reviews. I write a lot for work and was looking to enhance the quality of what I do through best practices. Instead of I was treated to the author only describing what they do. This hardly makes for a best practice. The book is easily summed up as, plan out what you want to write, then fill in some details then write! Wow. Absolute waste of time and money.
 The Running Man by Stephen King, by far not one of his greatest works. It is interesting and summed up by the publisher as “The year is 2025. The Running Man is America’s favorite television game show. Ben Richards is the program’s latest contestant and the Hunters’ latest target in a rigged game of death.”
I am currently reading:

  • Between Parent and Child, by Dr Haim Ginott, I am halfway done reading my 1965 British paperback copy I bought used for $0.99 and have been blown away by the book. An incredible read that has made a huge impact not just on how I interact with my daughter but with those that work for me.
  • Service Operations Management: Improving Service Delivery (For a class I am teaching)
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius free with Amazon Prime on your Kindle. Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is was written between 170 to 180. I think the first few sections of the book provide some great reading but the quality I think quickly tapers off. I will trudge through and finish it.
  • Start With Why by Scott Sinek an interesting read about how some companies do work, why they are more successful than others and why they are more innovative. A bit of fluff, but some good gems to be found.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg I am currently listening to this with headphones on when I workout early in the morning before anyone else is awake. It is a fascinating read about how to alter behavior, create habits and the science behind habit formation.