Sunday, January 22, 2017

Current Reading List

I sometimes get asked what I've been reading.  After all, a big part of being a decent writer is being a prolific reader.  So here's what's on my current list:

Sleeping Late On Judgment Day - I discovered Tad Williams a little later than many people.  However, a year or so ago I picked up Happy Hour In Hell on a whim, not getting that it was the second book in Williams' series.  The story is narrated by Bobbly Dollar, an angelic advocate for the recently deceased, who has no memory of his life on Earth and is a foul mouthed heavy drinking hero.  Oh, and his girlfriend is a demon, which apparently is a big no-no.  There's a plot by some higher ranking angels, in a pact with a major demon lord, to create a "Third Way" that goes beyond Heaven or Hell.  Dollar is basically a man, with all the faults that implies, who has access to supernatural realms.  A pretty engaging story, and one that makes our images of the afterlife appear a bit more...complicated.

One Year After - I've grown to like William Fortschen from his Lost Regiment Series.  One Year after follows One Second After, a story about an EMP that devastated the United States by shutting down power across the nation...and keeping it shut off.  Few of us think about how much life would really be affected(we all have silly fantasies about being as tough as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead).  However, lots of people would be dead in the first couple of months from just not having basic medical needs met(think about it - how many diabetics would die from no insulin?  Or how many Cystic Fibrosis or Sickle Cell Anemia patients who have no access to treatment?).  One Year After picks up with the story of rugged survival in the NC mountains by former Army officer and current professor James Matherson.  Government has begun to re-emerge, and there's a new threat, this one more tyrannical, coming down on the community.  I'm about a quarter of the way into this one, and once finished, I'll move on to The Final Day.

The Prometheus Bomb - This is the only non-fiction on my list right now.  It's about how The Manhattan Project brought together a motley collection of scientists, politicians, and military leaders to create the most powerful weapon in the world.  The project started out inefficiently due to disorganization and a lack of urgency, despite the priority given to it by Franklin Roosevelt.  In one example, the scientists created a uranium pile on the campus of the University of Chicago.  Think about that - they had no idea what would happen had the pile gone beyond critical mass and could've destroyed the city.  But in those days, the project had so little real direction that they did things willy-nilly and could've done a great deal of damage.  This is the story of how it was organized, prioritized, and produced the atomic bomb.

World War Z - I've read this one a few times, and it always fascinates me.  First off, ignore the movie.  It sucks.  The only thing it and the book have in common are the title and the fact that there are zombies.  Beyond that, the movie is terrible.  The book, on the other hand, is a great "historical" novel of how mankind might deal with a threat it doesn't understand.  It shows a great failure of adaptation in the beginning, and humanity has to adjust in order to survive.  It's told as a series of interviews with survivors of the war, and it can be surprisingly realistic.  This is one of my all-time favorites, and I strongly recommend reading it if you get the chance.

I'm sure I'll get to more this year, but this is the list right now.  What are you reading?

No comments:

Post a Comment