January’s Reading Wrap-Up | First Half

This year I plan to read one-hundred books. For the first half of January, I was able to read five. I hope this pace continues. This is the first half of January’s reading wrap-up.

In The Heart of the Fire (Nameless #1), By Dean Koontz

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Dean Knootz - In the Heart of the Fire

You wake up without memory like Jason Bourne. You stumble along and find someone who offers to give you answers. But they don’t. You are left clueless but you are given purpose in life; to right wrongs.

In the Heart of the Fire by Dean Koontz is a short and fun read. Koontz keeps the book moving at a steady clip. In this first installment of the series, Nameless must right the wrong of a serial killer and child molester. He must sink to the depths of evil and hope to come out on top.

I found the book to be slightly interesting. I read it over several days on my phone. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. It didn’t grip me as a normal Koontz book does but I still found it enjoyable and I plan on reading book two.

How to Write Funny, by Scott Dickers

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How to Write Funny - Scott Dickers

This book goes over the different nuances to different types of humor. Who knew they all had names. But each one is slightly different and subtext is mentioned quite often.

I had hoped this book would lend a laugh, but I don’t think I chuckled even once. Instead of teaching me how to write funny it read like a dictionary about each type of funny substructure. This was tied into how to write tag lines. It would be been more appropriate to have titled the book How to Write Funny Tag Lines.

Dickers has more books in the series but I will pass.

Blood Money and Other Short Stories, by Elmore Leonard

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Elmore Leonard - Blood Money and Other Stories

Before Elmore Leonard wrote the funny and twist-filled contemporary stories like Get Shorty and Justified, he wrote Westerns. Blood Money is a short story and this book contains six more short stories penned by the master.

Whether robbing a bank or riding with the US Calvary fighting Apaches Leonard takes you on a wild right through the rugged Southwestern United States. Drawing you into a time past you feel as if you are part of the action.

I prefer his contemporary writings more than these westerns. I do have another western novel written by Leonard on my TBR and I am hoping that I will like it more than the short stories contained here. There were a few times I was interested but mostly each story was quick, without much depth, and ended abruptly. I may not be a fan of the western short story or maybe I am not a fan of Leonard’s short stories. I will have to read more to find out.

The Afghan Campaign, by Steven Pressfield

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The Afghan Campaign - Steven Pressfield

You live in Ancient Greece under the great king Alexander the Great who is swathing through the East claiming territories. Your brothers, ten years your senior, are honored calvary men riding alongside Alexander. Finally, you can join the infinity and head off to claim honor and glory for yourself. You cross seas, deserts, and mountains. Fighting the enemy and nature every step of the way. Only your drive can keep you on the path to glory. Are you able to meet the challenge?

The Afghan Campaign is one of the best page-turners I have read this month. I couldn’t put it down. It has nonstop action mixed with a small subplot love story. Pressfield truly brings the journey of Alexander’s soldiers to life. From the slang and jargon to the terrain and customs of the natives and Greeks, you will learn more from this novel than you ever would from a history book.

The book made me feel alive. Feeling terror, dread, sadness, excitement. Pressfield does an amazing job bringing an old war to life through the eyes of a single soldier. From his battles and wounds to his heart and love of a woman, we cannot separate ourselves from our true nature. This book should be a movie as it encompasses all that is required of a great story.

Death of a Salesman by Author Miller

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Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller

This is a play and an amazing one at that. A true classic. It is mostly dialog and the dialog is so smooth you can read it quickly. It’s about a husband and father up in the years who is having mental problems as he slowly dies. His kids are losers and he’s trying to come to grips with the fact that he is a loser also. The only one anyone cares about is the mom.

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I did end up taking a phone call and then falling asleep so it took me two sittings to read. I’m sure you can read it in one. It’s only about one-hundred pages. I loved every minute of it. The writing is beautiful.

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