On Books

E.M.’s Sunday Ramble asks five questions

Do you prefer digital, paperback, or hard bound books?

I used to prefer paperbacks. I could slide one in my back pocket and carry it where ever I went during the day. Anytime I had a few moments of idleness, I would slip out the paperback and read a few pages. Now with the advent of Kindle, I can read on my phone. If I’m stuck in traffic, as long as I’m not moving, I can read a bit. Hard bound books are great, but a bit unwieldy to me. I reserve reading them when I have a few hours downtime.

Do you have a library full of books or just your favorite tales?

I used to have books lying around the house everywhere. Any surface that was flat was filled with books. My wife got tired of the clutter and bought me a Kindle. Gradually the clutter was reduced to manageable size. Now they are just my favorite books and also our college books.

Harry Potter, Narnia, or Twilight? (You can choose all three or pick and choose.)

None of the above. I started reading Harry Potter and said “Meh”. For some reason I couldn’t get into Narnia at all. I saw the first Twilight movie before I saw the books. My teenage daughters were reading the books. I picked one up, read a chapter or two and decided it was not my cup of tea.

Do you like when books are turned into movies? Why or why not?

Usually not. Almost all books are better than the movies with a few exceptions. Douglas Adams “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” was wonderful as a series. His “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was a complete mess. Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” was a slog to get through. They did a series that I believe is still going on that really brought out the book in a way that is enjoyable. I had high hopes that Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” would be good as a movie. Turned out to be a complete bore.

What is a book that you have read over and over again?

Oh geez, I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately read a book twice. On occasion, I’ve picked up a book that I don’t remember reading until I get a few chapters in. Depending on the book, I might continue reading but more than likely I’ll put it down. Since going digital the odds of me picking a book that I’ve already read is close to zero.

Really good questions. I enjoyed answering them.

Echo – A series by Kent Wayne

Kent Wayne or as we know him in the blogging world as Dirty Sci-fi Buddha has a great series of books that I just finished. Normally I don’t do reviews because I’m pretty sucky at them. I felt compelled to review all four volumes on Amazon. I thought it would be pretty neat to put them all here at once.

Echo Volume 1 – Approaching Shatter – 4/5 stars

I had to deduct one star due to the length being quite short for a novel. The author added the first 3 chapters of the next book to pad it out, but as I had already planned on reading it, I skipped the preview.

This volume introduces us to the world of Echo. It also sets stage for the main character. There is just enough action to keep it interesting. You might be tempted to skip this volume but don’t! It’s crucial to the rest of the story. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was eager to read the volume 2

Echo Volume 2 – A Taste of Ashes – 5/5 stars

The action heats up in this volume and never stops. It just keeps ramping up with little short respites that let you catch your breath. Every time I thought it couldn’t get more tense, the author turns up the heat even more.

The military sci-fi is spot on. I really liked this volume.

Echo Volume 3 – The Dialectic of Agony – 5/5 stars

After reading volume 2, I almost took a break but I’m glad I dove into volume 3. This is probably my favorite of the series. We go from military sci-fi to fantasy and back again. The author split the volume between two main characters that will be eventually intertwined.

The storytelling is engrossing. I was tempted to read all night long.

Echo Volume 4 – The Last Edge of Darkness – 5/5 stars

As a conclusion to the series, I did not expect this. Not much action for the first 2/3 of the book, but then WOW! The ending was great. Tremendous kudos to the author for introducing concepts that generally most people shy from. The way he introduces Time Concepts, morality and religion is thoughtful and you are eased into it. I’ve read other books with these concepts and they seemed preachy. Not this one.

Fantastic series all in all. I probably could have devoted more time to my writings, but instead spent hours reading. Time well spent in my opinion.

My Books of 2021

Photo by EYu00dcP BELEN on Pexels.com

My Kindle has notified me that I’ve read at least one day each week for the past 104 weeks. That’s two years of steady reading. Seems I’ve also read 68 books this year. I should be done with the 69th and maybe 70th by the end of the year.

I would love to say that all the books I’ve read have been fantastic. Alas, that is not the case. Most were so-so. A few were “meh” and some were really bad. This is because I’m a cheap bastard. I get the books on sale, preferably for free. Yes, as a writer, I should be supporting Authors by buying their books at full price. With the flood of books provided by Kindle Direct Publishing, finding a good book is pretty hard.

I did come across three books that I really liked for various reasons. These are the ones that stick with me. I’ll go ahead and do a quick review for them right now.

The Theta Prophecy by Chris Dietzel – This one has stuck with me. I really enjoyed it and more importantly it made me think, not only of the past, but of the present and a huge “What If” this was a true story. Here’s the book blurb.

The treasure at Oak Island. JFK’s assassination. A tyrannous regime’s inner-workings. Welcome to The Theta Prophecy, where alternate history meets modern dystopian. Having survived a perilous journey into the distant past, a time traveler grapples with the crushing realization that his sacrifices were in vain. In a different era, the world suffers at the hands of an empire bent on instilling misery upon an entire population. But the course he unknowingly sets the world upon will change everything we think we know about history.

Shavings by Joseph Crosby Lincoln – This is an old story that was converted to digital format. Joseph Crosby Lincoln wrote for the Saturday Evening Post among others. He has a whole slew of books of the Cape Cod area during and after World War One. This one is my favorite. The style of the writing, the story, the twists and the characters all combine to make a memorable story. It’s free on Kindle.

A Strange Beginning by Gretta Curran Browne – As I’ve said before, I don’t get poetry. Not my thing at all. However, I may be rethinking it a bit. This book I couldn’t put down. It hooked me right at the beginning and wouldn’t let go. This is the start of a 7 book series. I’m seriously considering buying the whole series in hardback form. Though at a price of $14 to $15 each, that would be a huge chunk of my discretionary spending. Here’s the book blurb.

He was later to become known as “The most beautiful and most famous man in England” — but not yet….

Beginning when he is a boy of ten years old, we join George Gordon when he is living a miserable life with his manic Scottish mother in a few rented rooms above a shop in Aberdeen, unaware that his true heritage is with the English aristocracy – who soon come to claim him.

A life of wealth and privilege is then bestowed upon him, which eventually sets the stage for him to prove his own individual worth, in his own way, and in his own time. Meticulously researched, and adapted into novel form, ‘A Strange Beginning’ is the first of a series of books about the most iconic young man of his time, whose fame still lives on today.

My name alone shall be my epitaph.” — BYRON

What memorable books did you read this year?