My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

- Edith Sitwell



Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

- Maya Angelou



Easy reading is damn hard writing.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

My Alma mater was books, a good library... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.

- Malcome X



The road to hell is paid with adverbs.

- Stephen King



I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.

- Ray Bradbury



An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

- Oscar Wilde



You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.

- Saul Bellow



Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.

- William Faulkner



Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced.

- Aldous Huxley



Tears are words that need to be written.

- Paulo Coelho



If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

- Isaac Asimov




The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.

- Albert Camus



To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.

- Herman Melville



I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.

- Gustave Flaubert




I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged

- Erica Jong



Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.

- Lisa See



Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

- Anton Chekhov



Write drunk, edit sober.

- Ernest Hemingway



If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well enough.

- Albert Einstein



This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.

- Winston Churchill



I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

- Elmore Leonard



The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

- Vladimir Nabokov







Nothing beats reading a good book!













































One my favorite books
as little child.


Then readimg became much more serious!




2019 Reading List: This year end is fast approaching!

I frequent the Broadneck branch.

Mary - Vladimir Nabokov
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf Six Nonlectures - e e cummings Passing - Nella Larsen Educated: A Memoir - Tara Westover The Phantom Rickshaw - Rudyard Kipling Rules for the Dance - Mary Oliver/span> Romeo & Juliet - William Shakespeare buy·ology - Martin Lindstrom A Farewell To Arms - Ernest Hemingway The Problem of Pain - C. S. Lewis Nine Stories - J. D. Salinger The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy Bleak House - Charles Dickens Alice's Adventures in Wonderlan - Lewis Carroll The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy The Monkey's Paw - W. W. Jacobs The Rain in Portugal - Billy Collins Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman - Richard P. Feynman A Hunger Artist - Franz Kafka Silas Marner - George Elliot The Great Gatsby - Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway To Build A Fire - Jack London Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway Captains Courageous - Rudyard Kipling Excursions - Henry David Thoreau Complete Tales & Poems - Edgar Allen Poe Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach Till We Have Faces - C. S. Lewis Notes From Underground - Fyodor Dostoyevsky Walden and Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau The Madonna of the Future - Henry James The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis Uncommon Type - Tom Hanks Brief Answers to the Big Questions - Stephen Hawking A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

In order to become a better writer one must become a better reader. It makes sense. I feel the concentrated reading of well-written books has been a positive influence on my writing skills. I can feel the changes, albeit small and possibly undetected by others. I continue to read, both out of enjoyment and as to continually improve my writing.

I did not attempt to figure out an exact starting point for my emphasis on reading. I believe I started around late Spring 2018. What I do know is that I have continued on consistently with my efforts to read and write daily.

The notes shared are not meant to be a book review. They are just a capture of my thoughts upon finishing book, or sometimes my thoughts going into such reading.

As best that I can I will strive to keep this page as up-to-date as possible. I apologize in advance for those times when I do fall behind.


Love Letters to Bookshops Around the World - Edited by Henry Hitches
Completed 14DEC19

I will be reading this book over the weekend...


Markets, Mobs & Mahem - Robert Menschel
Completed 12DEC19

I picked up this used book because I have an interest in mob mentality, what motivates a groupp of people to amass and take up a cause beyond their normal limits of logic. The book presenst many examples of how things went from bad to worse when a tipping point occurs and we group together.


Don't Bite the Hook - Pema Chodron
Completed 12DEC19

This book should be required reading afor all adults. It is a life changer. It could safe marraiges and lives and stress and dismatle hate. Read the book! It is filled with all the information one needs to make a better life.


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman
Completed 12DEC19

This book was the December 2019 book for the book group at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, MD. I listend to the book instead of read it. It made for a very pleaent read. The book is filled with an overflowing amount of great stories. The book was a little longer than my typical read but I wanted it not to end. I am certain I will look at other books from this writer.


The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
Completed 5DEC19

This is a well written story filled with lots to consider. I enjoyed the read, however it did not move me as much as I had hoped. It is possible that I simply have read the book atthe wrong time and that I was not open for the story. I don't know. Sometimes I plan on going back to read the book over, get a updated view of it. I doubt that will happen with this one. Oh well, many others love the book!


Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shalespeare
Completed 2DEC19

I purchased this book not because of the topic, I have Shakespeare's work in a number of books alrady on my bookshelf. This book had more content. It contained some old love letters, notes, magazine clippings, etc.

It was a joy to look back intime to an earlier owner of the book. The letter was dated 1963. It brings more life to a used book when its history comes forward with it.


The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy - Rachel Joyce
Completed 2DEC19

Rachel Joyce wrote a wonderful book called, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It is a wonderful read about faith, sacrifice, and love. Her second book is the story from the perspective of Queenie Hennessy, the woman that was responsible for Harold Fry's pilgrimage. I was not sure how I would like the book, even though I loved her first book. This book is written from Queenie's hospice bed. It tells much more of the story about Harold Fry's life. It is required reading if one liked the first book. The ending is marvelous!

Note: Joyce's third book, The Music Shop, is another exceptional book based on love and sacrifice and faith.


Dear Church - Lenny Duncon
Completed 2DEC19

A last minute read on the Kindle App. It was the November read of the book group. I was not planning on attending that session as I had a schedule conflict then atthe last minute I decided to make the long drive. I am glad I did! And I am glad Iread this book. Summing it up in one thought: The church of today needs to do its part in promoting change in America. We are a county still divided by race and privelage. The church must make the uncomfortable effort to help us all resolve these issues.


Outrageous Openess - Tosha Silver
Completed 20NOV19

Speaking of Chick Lit ...This is so a book written for women. However the message it brings if good for all. Summing the book up as short as possible - reach out to the Devine for what you need from the universe. The book is filled with storys that support its theme.


This is How You Lose Her - Junot Diaz
Completed: 20NOV19

A novel comprised of a number of short stories that all tie nicely together. It is a great story but be forewarned, the language may curl your hair. It is certainly the opposite of Chick Lit. I am not going to suggest this book at the church’s book group! A great read, nonetheless.


The Music Shop - Rachel Joyce
Completed: 1 NOV19

I love this book! I love this book! I love this book! I fully enjoyed Rachel Joyce's first book - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This led me to her other books. The Music Shop was perfect in so many ways. A truly enjoyable read!


Connected Sonnets - Edna St. Vincent Millay
Completed 22October19

Picked up this collection of sonnets at a used bookstore. I like the iambic pentameter of the sonnet and believe I should be writing them. I struggle when attempting to write them and hope by reading more sonnetts I will pick up on how to better create them.


Complete Sonnets- William Shakespeare
Completed 20OCT19

My idol of poetry! Anyone interested in sonnets must have an interest in Shakespeare. I have an audio version of this collection to listen to while driving.


The Ecclesiasticl Sonnets or William Wordsworth
Completed 20OCT19

My focus on the sonnet has led me to a number of poets other than William Shakespeare.


The Art of Emily Dickinson's Early Poetry - David T. Porter
Completed 17OCT19

This book is like a college course on the great poet* Emily Dickinson. It is always enjoyable to know what is going on in the mind of a poet. I am an avid reader of her poems and find her life story interesting.

* While a female poet is called a poetess, most female poets prefer to be called poets.



The New Poems of Emily Dickinson - William H. Shurr, Editor
Completed 16OCT19

The poems that look like poems make up these final additions to Dickinson's work. These "poems" were collected from letters and envelopes and other notes. All of her writing adds up to an amazing collection of work!


Asleep with Whippoorwills - J. Wesley Clark
Completed 15OCT19

I wrote a poem about whippoorwills a few months back. When I saw this small collection of poems I was anxious to read another poem on the bird and it's call. It's a nice collection of poems, the kind of collection that I would like to someday publish myself.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication - James Scott Bell
Completed 15OCT19

One of two books I just ordered off of Amazon. They were the recommendation of my poetry teacher. Self editing and revising one's own writing is certainly a challange for me. I'm looking for all the support ideas I can find!

Surviving Revision - K. Kriss Loomis
Completed 13OCT19

It's a great little book of what to do after you have written down the 1,000s of words. More difficult than the initial draft, is revision. To me, it is the painful part of making it all make sense in an orderly and logical manner all the while having a nice flow to it all. I am stuck in my own writing attempots and looking to this book to help me break free!

The Celestine Prophacy - James Redfield
Completed 10OCT19

I really enjoyed this book! It's a great story of a very real way of life. Embracing the unexplainable observatiopn of coincedence beyond the norm, and questioning what, if any power lies within them, this book tells of a wonderful way of looking at chance occurnces. It feels right. And at the very least it has you striving to live more aware of life.

The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry - Racheal Joyce
Completed 6OCT19

I just finished reading this book. It is this month's pick of a book group at the church I attend. I am not sure men typically participate in book groups, but no one ever told me they did not, so I found myself at this one. If I were to read no other book chosen by the group, I would still have immensely benefited! The book is one of the best modern novels I have read. The writer takes the reader along on a journey. About the time you feel you have experienced what the book is about, you learn there is so much more.

Black Book of Poems - Vincent K. Hunanyan
Completed 5OCT19

A beautiful collectios of peaceful readings. I have a hardcover version, solid black cover with the word PEACE emboissed upon it but barely visable.

Black Book of Poems - Vincent K. Hunanyan

This book popped in an ad somewhere on line and it captured my attention enough to order a copy. It is a short collection of poems. They have a little edge to them - like a surgical blade. The author has another book of poems - book 2 - IWasn't Crying Over You. That sounds interesting!

Exhalation - Ted Chiang

I picked this book to introduce me into Sci-Fi, a genre in which I have read next to nothing in many years. The book is a collection of short stories, which I felt would be best to get me back. I was not disapointed! It is an excellent collection and I am certain I will pick some more headliners from the Sci-Fi best read lists.

Adam Bede - George Eliot pen name for Mary Ann Evans

I felt the need to read another book by Mary Ann Evens and this one was listed as a good pick. I have been driving a bit so I downloaded the book in audio format. I really enjoyed the writing, the style. It felt perfect yet smooth. The story itself, I feel I may have stopped reading before the end of the book if it had not been audio and I was driving many miles.

Good Poems for Hard Times - Garrison Kellor
Poetry Reference

I picked this up at one of my local booksellers. At first glance it appears to be a collection of motivational poems for those needing a little boost in their everyday life. It will join a groing collection of books of poems. Always nearby to enjoy and reflect upon.

99 Poems in Translation

While attending a poetry writing class at my local community college I saw this book among a collection of books that the instructor brought to class. I loved many of the poems it contained and had ordered my very own copy before I even left the class. It is a fine collection of poetry from around the world! I read on the back cover that it has an associated collection. I will need to check into that one as well.

Poetry and Prose - John Donne
Longterm read

I have been immersed in poetry lately and have picked up a lot of book son that subject. This book is a good collection of John Donne's poetry and prose. There are so many great poems included!

The Poems of Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
Completed 11SEP19

I stumbled upon this book at one of my favorite local, used bookstores. I have always loved the movie Doctor Zhivago. I even managed to see the very short run of it on Broadway. The poems in the book don't surpass the movie, but it was a nice read and a great reminder of the movie.

Holy Envy - Barbara Brown Taylor
Completed 10SEP19

I am a member of a book group at the church I am attending and this book is this month's pick. It was an easy read and very important for those that claim a religion. It is well-delivered and provided great information. I leaned a lot.


The Subject Tonight is Love - Hafiz
Completed 10SEP19

A beautiful collection of 60 poems by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. The collection focuses on love and ecstacy poems by Persian Hafiz. It is a wonderful read leaving you feeling better than when you started. As often is the case in a collection of poems, a number of them reach out in particular, making an impression at the time of their reading.

Islands in the Stream - Ernest Hemingway
Completed 10SEP19

Hemingway had been my favorite writer up until reading Steinbeck. I had been reading so much Steinbeck that if alive Hemingway might have become a bit jealous. So I felt compelled to read another Hemingway book. Islands in the Stream proved to be classic Hemingway! I greatly enjoyed the read.

Sweet Thursday - George Steinbeck
Completed 7SEP19

Sweet Thursday picks up where Cannery Row leaves off. It was equally enjoyable, solidifying Steinbeck as one of my favorite writers. I seem to be on a Steinbeck theme and am certain I will have another of his books in my hands soon!

My Unwritten Books - George Steiner

Not every book you pick up at your local used bookstore ends up being a great read. Such is the case with My Unwritten Books. I struggled reading it. Far beyond my ability to grasp. Sorry George, this one was not for me.

Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
Completed 1SEP19

After reading East of Eden I placed John Steinbeck at the top of my favorite author list. That book along with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and the first Steinbeck I read, The Pearl has me ranking him number one. I picked up this used copy of Cannery Row (printed in 1945 - the year it was published) at a nearby used bookstore. It fits nicely in the hand, with its yellow, hard cover. A message pasted on the inside cover states that his book was once in the collection of a Edmund Wellington. Whoever you are Edmund, know that I will take good care of your book.

Cannery Row is a short book compared to many of Steinbeck's books. I still do enjoy the shorter books, so this book has great potential to keep a fan of Steinbeck. Read about half the book last night. It is Steinbeck!

True Believer - Virginia Euwer Wolff
Currently Reading

True Believer is a verse novel for young adults. The praise form Booklist called it "Transcendent, raw, and fiercely optimistic." That was enough for me to be curios of this style of writing and to consider if that style is a way forward for my own fiction writing attempts. Considering my return to writing poetry and some foolish thoughts of writing a novella, maybe there is a blending of the two that might work for me?


The Poems of W.B. Yeats / A New Edition - Yeats
Started on 27AUG19 - Long term read

I picked up the complete works of W.B. Yeats at one of my local used bookstores. Its over 700 pages and I have no plans of reading it straight through. Instead I will keep it nearby and call on it often. I have yet to look it over much but saw that there is a section of explanatory notes which sounds intuiting!

Yeats wrote the poem: He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven. I find it to be one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read. Hopefully I will find many more great poems in this book!


Mansfield Park - Jane Austin
Complted 27AUG19

I gave this short book from Jane Austin a chance as I was looking for a return to classic literature. The good part is that I managed to get through the entire book in short time. The bad part is it did not capture my heart or attention. If a longer read I fear I would have abandoned the book. This Jane Austin one was not for me.

Winter: Prelude to Spring - Henry David Thoreau
Complted 26AUG19

Some time has passed since I have read any of Thoreau's works. I found an old copy of a limited printing (400) copies. It is a fine old book, feels good in my hands, and somehow I feel connected to the readers before me. Appreciating Thoreau is a timeless condition. Timely reading for these days as the Amazon burns wild.

Note: The image of the book is not the actual book I have, it is the closest I could find online.

Sailing Around the Room - Billy Collins
Complted 26AUG19

I have amassed a nice collection of Billy Collins' books of poetry, and all for good reason. He is a master at writing poetry. This book in particular did not strike me as one of his most enjoyable reads, but that can certainly be attributed to my mood at the time of reading. While I have never scientifically monitored the mood vs. the reading, it seems only logical to make an assumption that mood impacts reading poetry. Nonetheless, always great poems from Collins and worthy of one’s time.

Elizabethan Poetry: An Anthology
The Cresent Moon Book of Elizabethan Love Poetry
Complted 26AUG19

If there is truth in the saying that to be a better writer you must be a better reader, and I do believe it to be true, then I am doing my part in helping me become a better writer of poetry. I am envious of the verse that can make one's heart cry out. I hope to learn to write in a similar manner that can produce similar results.

The poetry I have been writing mostly finds its way to by blog. Eventually I shall update my poetry on this website.

Dear Theo - Vincent Van Gogh
Complted 26AUG19

I greatly enjoying this audio format of Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh. It is from the huge collection of letters that Vincent wrote to his brother Theo. The letters are very interesting. Very thought-provoking. So much discussion of art and the artist's mind and heart.

I am not sure I would have read the whole book. But the audio playing in the background of my travels got me through the book. There were so many letters that simply resonated with me. I loved it!

When the Time Comes A Selection of Contempary Belgian Poetry
Complted 25AUG19

I am reading like a student of poetry! When th etim comes for my classes to start I will hopefully be well exposed to many more poems than when I first started classes. Not much rocked my world in this collection. But nonetheless worth the time spent reading.


The Love Poems of Thomas Carew - Thomas Carew
Complted 25AUG19

I picked this book up at Unicorn Bookshop on the eastern shore area of MD. I knew nothing of the writer but feel he must have been a friend of Shakespeare! I do need to research that. The poems were fabulous! And I am starting to enjoy used books more and more. They bring along stories from their past! if one enjoys the love poems of Shakespeare and Poe, this makes a nice addition.


Chosen Poems - Old and New - Audre Lorde
Complted 25AUG19

I picked up a few used books in Annapolis and all were collections of poetry. I must be prepping for my return to taking poetry-writing classes.

I admit complete ignorance of the writer but found the book to be a great collection of her work and while not memorable over time, it is relevant with the upcoming classes in mind.


84 Charing Cross Road - Helen Hanff
Complted 10AUG19

This book was my "one free" from a buy 3 get 1 free deal at Second Edition Books in Columbia. I have been drawn to collections of letters lately. This collection was short but sweet. The correspondence just made me feel good. Lighthearted.

Rarely can these words be written: There is a movie made from the book. The movie is just as wonderful!

The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
Complted 10AUG19

Picked the book up Franz Kafka's 1915 novella, The Metamorphosis at one of the two used bookstores I visited this past week while driving around the state.

I had read Kafka's The Hunger Artist earlier this year. I recall not being overly satisfied with the book. The Metamorphosis mirrors my thoughts about The Hunger Artist. Neither book worked for me. I'd say I have read my last book from Franz Kafka.

Dangerous Women - Edted by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Complted 9AUG19

A great collection of fiction on the topic of Dangerous Women. Some of the stories rank up there with some of the best fiction I have come across. A few of the stories failed to capture my full attention but that is not surprising, not every story is meant for every reader. The ones that do resonate however, they are exemplary. It is in audio format and made a great companion while driving, driving around.

The Art of Fiction - Ayn Rand
Complted 9AUG19

I had listened to The Art of Nonfiction a few days back and absolutley loved it. So much that I purchased the paperback edition so that I could highligh the many excellent points. It seemed only sensable to listen to Ayn Rand's book on fiction writing. It shares much in common with its sister book. It is a must read (or listen) for any writer! I also ordered a paperback edition of The Art of Fiction and will mark it up heavily.

How to Disappear - Akiko Busch
Reading in Progress

Picked this book up from The Annapolis Bookstore. On the back cover there is 4 references of praise for the book. One of which started out as: "Kafka dreamt of being a waiter. He wanted to be invisible." This book submits ideas on making a change from social media that tracks one's every move and many thoughts, to having a life not exposed online for the world to view. Looks like a good read. I love sharing my life with the world, but I am also one that has previously contemplated living off the grid. That was more of a dream of living simplistically. I crave communication and attention too much to disappear.


Great Short Works of Stephen Crane
Reading in Progress

I had recently referenced The Red Badge of Courage in a writing assignment for an evening writing class at my local Anne Arundel Community College. While in one of my local used bookstores I saw the name Stephen Crane and connected my thoughts together. I believe I read the Red Badge of Courage in high school. Not entirely certain which may mean that I was supposed to have read it in high school. I love short stories, and look forward to reading Crane's work.

When the Men Go Off to War - Victoria Kelly
Completed 3AUG19

Copied from Amazon.com: Collecting the nationally-recognized poems of Victoria Kelly, When the Men Go Off to War captures the hopes, anxieties, and intimacies of the military spouse during a time of war. Written over the course of her husband's deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, these haunting poems span vast geographical distances and generations, moving between the literal and the fanciful to find community in the midst of isolation.

I picked up the book at a local used bookstore and was happy to see that it is a signed copy of the book. I was not as impressed with the poems as many others seem to be noting her accolades. They were not as emotionally deep as I had hoped for. Maybe it is my male perspective, and the poetry would resonate more with women?

A Lonely Woman: Forugh Farrokzad and Her Poetry
Completed 2AUG19

I picked up the book at a local used bookstore mostly out of feeling obligated to make a purchase. What ultimately placed the book into my hand for purchase was the Preface. It speaks of Iran, and how men treat women in their society. The poems supposedly reflect the culture while telling the emotions of the poet. I don't know why, but I feel there will be some surprise hidden inside he book. Perhaps a great poem! I will soon know.

Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke
Complted 3AUG19

This book was referenced in a book I read earlier. I forget where, but at some point I marked for purchase from Amazon and eventually hit the SEND button. The title alone was intriguing enough for me.

The book itself is far from what I had expected. Harsh comment, but seemingly good.

Franz Xaver Kappus wrote to Rainer Maria Rilke in early 1903. To Kappus' delight, the poet replied. They continued a correspondence that lasted for nearly 6 years. The book contains 10 letters that Rilke wrote to Kappus, advising the young man on poetry and life.

Steinbeck: A Life in Letters - Edited by Elaine Steinbeck & Robert Wallsten
Reading Ongoing

Steinbeck has become my favorite writer. As such, I always enjoy learning more about the writer than just their works. This book, much like Steinbeck's books is lengthy, much bigger than I had figured. It will make for a great book to slowly work my way through it, hopefully finding information and enjoyment along the way.

The Art of Nonfiction - Ayn Rand
Complted 3AUG19

Stumbled on this excellent audio book version of Ayn Rand’s The Art of Nonfiction from the library. I admit I am not a reader of Ayn Rand but this book is one of the best on nonfiction writing. It has introduced me to many practices that I need to improve upon or incorporate into my own efforts.

The audio book proved to be so useful I ended up ordering a paperback copy from Amazon.

The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
Complted 28JUL19

What a great book! A must read! It is filled with great content. It is a life changer. This is the kind of book everybody should read. There is something in it for everyone! I feel I will be able to incorporate a number of practices into my own life.

East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Completed 23JUL19

As predicted, next on my reading list is East of Eden. I have it in audio format and have listened to a few chapters already. It is not a book for the lighthearted. It has the massive detail one would associate with Steinbeck. I am just starting out with my reading and will update this page upon completion.

I almost bailed out on the book during the first 3 chapters. I am so glad I did not! This book is so many great things! The story is evil, I am surprised such actions were written and accepted. Crazy stories. It is done so well I can't think of a better novel. Steinbeck has become my favorite author peaking above Ernest Hemingway. Cannery Row will be my next Steinbeck read.


Out of Your Mind - Alan Watts
Finished 21JUL19

Saw this title at a used bookstore in Annapolis. Truly judged this book by its cover, or at least its title. I hope it proves to be an enjoyable read!

I have begun to read this book. It is mind-blowing within its first chapter. I have read about 25% at this point in time. I look forward to the rest of the book. I have made many notes and highlighted many thoughts. Since it is a quick read, I may turn around and read the book over once I finish it the first time. There is a lot to take in.

Finished this book. A quick and excellent read. My only complaint is it just seemed to stop. Left me without any closure, and I wanted it to have some.

The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Completed 12JUL19

I had slipped from my somewhat dedicated classical fiction reading from earlier this year and was longing to return. I truly loved Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men so selecting The Grapes of Wrath made for a most excellent choice of classical literature. It is a long book, not my favorite size of books, but it was amazing the whole way through the book. While here are many references that take the reader back in time, it could easily be applied to life today, sadly. I just cannot imagine how a person wrote the details into this book so vividly that it takes the reader there, in the moment. I hope this book has not fallen from required reading. I wish I had read it much earlier. Steinbeck's East of Eden most likely will follow!


Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Completed: 3JUL19

I wanted to read Hamlet for two reasons. The first is that I have fallen from my reading of the classics. I need to return to the great works. The second is the way in which Hamlet is written. In Hamlet—like in most of Shakespeare's plays—the nobles typically speak in unrhymed, iambic pentameter. It is meaningful to my learning of verse. When I went to my local library to pick up a copy of Hamlet, this style was what was available to me. Part of my worries that I will miss the whole intent of studying the writing as this book is presented in modern English. It is a rather short read - just my kind - so I will know soon the outcome. But like many books there is a surprise! This is a side-by-side production, on the left side the modern English version and on the right side the full original text! Thanking my lucky stars!

Sonnets from the Portuguese - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Completed: 27JUN19

I don't know how I got to my years in life and not been immersed in poetry. On the other hand it is wonderful to be having such a wonderful introduction at this point in life! I am somewhat overwhelmed with all the great works available. Elizabeth Barrett Browning produced amazing poetry and at a time when women were forced to be compliant in their position in society. For those that broke free, it shows in their greatness of what they gave to all of us. This is a book that will never need dusting. I will keep it near my reach.

Hey God. Hey John - John Roedel
Completed: 23JUN19

I recently ordered this book from Amazon after a series of oddly connected events. If I didn't know any better I would say God answered a particular prayer of mine. When I realized that the events fell into place I immediately saw this book advertised on Facebook. I did the obvious. I ordered the book. I was surprised of the size of the book when it arrived. God knows I prefer a shorter book. LOL

Update: About half way through the book. It is a fun read. Not sure why the book needs to be this big. I think maybe it is not to be read like a novel. Maybe a few pages a day would spread the joy out a little better.

Final Update: Finished this book. I am torn on its length. I would say it is twice as long as it needs to be - yet I loved just about every page. It is a great example of why have 500+ pages!

The Practice of Poetry - Robin Behn & Chase Twichell
Completed: 23JUN19 (Though often to be revisited)

I am rather immersed in my poetry classes. While I enjoy them immensely I also am adding to them a lot of reading outside of the classroom. I forget what captured my attention about this book but it managed to make it onto my Amazon check out and made its way onto my desk. Here's to hoping it is a great read!

I started reading this book. It is a collection of poetry writing prompts and improvements to apply to one's writing. Each idea is short and you can quickly read through them and gather up a handful of prompts to try. Its going to be a fun book!

Why I Wake Early - Mary Oliver
Completed: 22JUN19

Leading the pack of poets I have been recently courting is Mary Oliver. Her poetry is beautiful and inspiring to me as I look forward to extending my poetic topics beyond personal relationship encounters. It seems a natural choice for me to write poetry about the world around me, I photograph that very same world. In photography one pays attention in great detail of one's surroundings. Writing poetry requires much of the same. This book is a small collection of her poems. One can blaze through it in well under an hour, but don't. Stop and think after each poem; breathe.

Rules for the Dance - Mary Oliver
Completed: 21JUN19

I am new to the poet Mary Oliver. I just finished her book on writing poetry and consider it one of the best books on any type of writing that I have ever read! With great anticipation I am looking forward to reading Rules for the Dance - A handbook for writing and reading metrical verse. Being about the same size as her Poetry Handbook, I assume I will enjoy his book enough to complete it in one sitting!

As I assumed I read this book in a few hours. It is a great book, but I feel it is a little beyond my abilities at this point in time. I will shelve the book for a few weeks and return to it and reread it when I am ready to better understand it.

poemcrazy - Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge
CompletedL 21JUN19

I owned this book before. I recently donated when I moved back at the turn of the year. Then I signed up for poetry writing classes. Not surprising, this book was touted as a favorite. It had been at least 6 or 7 years since I read it.

I just finished reading this book. It has a few good stories and a few good points in it. Overall, I belive I have recently read much better poetry related books. Maybe I did not get much from the book the first time I read it - that would support why I did not remember the book.

Poetry: A Survivor's Guide - Mark Yakich
Finished: 19MAY19

Yet another book borrowed for free from my local library. So many books - so little time - yet all available to borrow for free. What a great concept!

Like many of the recent books that I have read on the wordcraft of writing poetry, this book adds to the voluminous amount of excellent information for the budding poet. I am starting to see a theme develop here. Books on writing about poetry seem to be filled with more emotional content than many of the books I have read about writing prose. Of course there a few of those I have written about below that rock the reader’s world - but overall they don't reach as deep into the emotions as my recent reads on writing poetry.

Aimless Love and Nine Horses - Billy Collins
Finished: 16JUN19

Being hooked on the amazing poems written by Billy Collins I chased down two other of his books. They both came in second to The Rain in Portugal which now reigns supreme in my opinion. No matter what you read of Billy Collins you will find wonderful poetry!

The Rain in Portugal - Billy Collins
Finished: 10JUN19

This book is an excellent collection of Poems from Billy Collins. There are more poems in this collection that really touch me than in nay other collection of poems by an individual poet. I borrowed the book from my local library and found it difficult to return it. I hope others have and will enjoy it as I have.

I just received a text that someone I know wants to give me their copy of The Rain in Portugal - signed by Billy Collins! Wow! Poetry is amazing!

Mary Oliver - A Poetry Handbook
Finished: 8JUN19

I have been taking a poetry writing class in the evening. It has introduced me to a number of great poets, many that I had not known. One of which is Mary Oliver. I may have been the last person left in the world that was not familiar with the poetry - I was in the class. She has written the best poetry writing book that I can imagine. I read it twice. It is good and augments my evening classes perfectly! I was not intending to become a poet, I simply wanted to improve my nonfiction writing skills, but I may have been shortsighted in that view. I am really enjoying the practice of writing poetry.

Dancing on the Head of a Pen - Robert Benson
Finished: 8JUN19

I borrowed this book from my local library at a most needed time. The book is fantastic. It walk's your through the author's methodology of writing books. As I read it I captured a number of great processes to help me in my own writing challenges. It is an extremely quick read, very enjoyable!

Love Like That - Dr. Les Parott
Finished: 1JUN19

Facebook does a rather good job of suggesting what products you need in your life. When I saw the ad for this book I thought - very interesting - 5 relationship secrets from Jesus. On top of that interest it seems that Dr. Parrott is rather well known for excellent books. How could I lose? What could go wrong?

Every so often I pick up a book and it falls completely flat. It provides me nothing or next to nothing. When this happens I don't blame the book or its author. I blame me. I believe that sometimes we are not in the right place to read a particular book. Such is the case with this book. I was totally disappointed and felt as though the ad on Facebook totally misrepresented this book. Sorry fans of Dr. Parrott.

Spellbinding Sentences - Barbara Baig
Finished: 25MAY19

This book hits a homerun way out of the park! It is a pure joy when you get a book that accomplishes as much as the book does. I read it once and need to bet back to reading it again. You don't want to miss a thing in this book. I consider it a required tool for the aspiring writer. Sure you can write without this book, but you would not choose to do so once you have read it. Obviously my suggestion is read this book!

Love Poems to No One - N.R. Hart
Finished: 18MAY19

N.R. Hart has made her mark on social media. Here short poems of romantic emotion delight the hearts of many every post she makes. Her latest book is a collection of her more recent poems. She never disappoints! Her words strike the emotions of any breathing soul.

Her third book, this one comes in hard cover, which I personally find as a distraction to the simplicity of her modem writing. One should not judge a book by its cover, nor I suppose judge a book despite its cover. It is the contact that counts and she is the queen of modern, romantic poetry.

Grab a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream, a spoon, and the book.

Every Word You Cannot Say - Iain S. Thomas
Finished: 18MAY19
  Picked this gem up at the Barnes & Noble at Columbia Mall. I was there to attend a book signing that included a favorite writer of modern, romantic poetry. While looking around the store I spotted this book on an end cap. The cover sold me. I did not even take a peek inside the book or glance at the back cover. I was not disappointed! This book of poetic emotions reminds me of a book from a long time back - How to Survive the Loss of a Love. Both books read alike. Both books are packed with emotion that is easily digested. A fine purchase indeed!

The Gospel of Life - Pope John Paul II
  Picked this up at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Book Sale. It was an interesting read to me as I enjoy reading about life and am interested in what others believe helps to make it a better life to live in a better world.

The 24 Laws of Storytelling - Jonathan Baldie
  To be a good storyteller you need more than one story. This book contains 24 stories, or laws as the book calls them, that are the foundation of quality storytelling. The book did not grab me as I assumed it would. I find this rather disappointing as my though was that a book on storytelling would have it its disposal the benefit of the power of stories. Maybe I read it at the wrong time. I figure I will return to this book in the future and give it another read.

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Finished 4MAY19

I reserved this audio book many weks ago through the library. There must have been some reason why I selected it but could not recall what that might be. Listening to the story - I never was able to remember what prompted me to reserve this book.

It is a good tale, with many sayings built into its content. If I were not listening to the book while driving I doubt that I would have read it. It would seem that my memory for choosing this book has fallen apart.


True Love - Robert Fulghum
Finished 4MAY19

I first read this book around 20 years ago. At the time it put into events a series of circumstances that proved to be very interesting. I picked this book up at a used book sale held at the Prince of peace Presbyterian Church where i have een attending. I am curiopus if a rereading of it will produce a new set of very interesting circumstances!

I did not remember most of the stories. The book remains a great little read that will uplift your spirits!


Forbidden Psychology 101 - Madison Taylor
Finished 1MAY19
  An add on Facebook popped up sugesting this book and I bit. Ordered it from Amazon. A very quick read and poorly printed to appear as a bigger book than it really is. 7/8's of the content gave me an uneasy feeling. It was a bit - a good bit, uneasy feeling. It kind of leaves you feeling greasy. It certainly was not the "cool stuff" it promised to be. Read at your own risk.


The Top 500 Poems - presented by William Harmon
Finished 1MAY19

What a find!I picked this gem up at a used book sale and have been absolutely delighted with it! A grand collection and the timing could not have been more perfect as I am currently taking a poetry class. This collection was published in 1995 so a little dated but nonetheless good.

One never really finishes a bok like this. It will been within easy reach for future enjoyment.


Writing Metrical Poetry - William Baer
Finished 20APR19

In preperation of an upcoming writing class at the Anne Arundel Community College I dusted off one of my old books and read it gain for the first time. I don't remember reading this book. Quite possibly I purchased and then never got around to actually reading it. That does happen - more times than I should admit.

The book is excellent! It led me through just about everything a budding poet needs to know. I am ready for my poetry writing class!


The Magic of Reality - Richard Dawkins
Finished 20APR19

The Truth Is Still Out There: Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works.

This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

I can't wait!


Brief Answers to the Big Questions - Stephen Hawking
Finished 11APR19

I have long been a fan of Stephen Hawking. It would be difficult to not have liked the man. I picked up his book - A Brief History of Time at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Ever since I have enjoyed reading the writing of his that I can understand. Obviously there is much that I can't digest.

Onto this book: I was actually a bit disappointed in the book. It delivered absolutely nothing to me in any type of answers to any of the big questions presented. That is not negative remark on Hawking, just a matter of fact in my own ignorance’s. I am just happy there others of his books that I did enjoy!


Uncommon Type - Tom Hanks
Finished 9APR19
  Simply a collection of fun and interesting storries written by Tom Hanks. There is something clean and simply in his writing. A fun read or in my expereince, a fun listening to the book in audio format. Downloaded from the library, I am grateful for such luxuries!


Think Like A Freak - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Finished 7APR19

I have not read the Freakanomics books from years past. I recall once having a copy in my hand but for reasons I can't recall I put it back on the bookshelf. Think Like A Freak popped up in my library audio book app and once again I found myself with book in hand - well so to speak.

I really enjoyed the audio book. It was easy listening, and pure enjoyment. I like thinking and I like thinking about thinking so the book is a natural read for me.


Educated A Memoir -Tara Westover
Finished 3APR19
  A book group at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, MD, selected this book where I am currently attending Sunday services. It has been years since I participated in a book group, and I am happy to be active in one again. The book was well written! The stories escalated to being very hard to read due to their extreme abusiveness. The writer's style reminded me of Harper Lee, but that may only be the short time passing since I read To Kill a Mockingbird. An excellent read for lovers of well-written literature.


This I Believe / This I Believe 2 -NPR
Finished 28MAR19
  Two great books containing a collection of NPR's This I Believe programs. Short and easy and emotionally moving, these tales will add to the betterment of any day. I first had downloaded the audio book from the library. Enjoyed it so much I went on Amazon to purchase the book and found it's sister, This I Believe 2.


Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction - Jonathan Culler
Finished 12MAR19
  One can't always be happy with what they select from a bookshelf. I saw this book while visiting my son and thought to myself, this looks like something I would enjoy. I was wrong. Maybe the book is too sophisticated for me, but it was nothing more than rambling of nonsense. Words written to only feed upon themselves. This book was not short enough.


Almost Like a Song - Ronnie Milsap
Finished 12MAR19
  Anyone that knows me would find it a bit difficult to imagine me this book, myself included. The book popped up on a Facebook post from a book reseller in PA. I absolutely love the song, and had hoped that somewhere within the pages of this book I would find a story speaking to the writing of the song. I am sad to say that no such story is in there. Ronnie Milsap did not write the song, It was Almost Like a Song, songwriters Hal David and Archie Jordan. A quick Google search did not reveal if they had a story behind the song. Maybe it is better that way allowing the song to be for many associated to their own memories of a love that comes only once in every life.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future - Michael J. Fox
Finished 8MAR19
  I picked up this little gem at my local library. And it truly is quite a gem. Learned a bit about Michael J. Fox that I did not know, although not surprised as the book reads like Fox. Inside the book is lots of good information for the high school graduate, the college graduate, and the mid-lifer. I guess for the budding senior as well as I thoroughly enjoyed this short book about life.


The Problem of Pain - C. S. Lewis
Finished 8MAR19
  It has been some time since reading my last C. S. Lewis book. I find that I either really love his writing or I just like it a whole bunch! I came to this book as it was referenced in a past read. I was not familiar with this book, not recognizing its title. Inside the book, one finds everything Lewis that you can imagine. His great writing style is expertly combined with his great way of seeing the world of Christianity. I greatly enjoyed this book. Best damn introduction ever written!


A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare
Finished 5MAR19
  One should not go too far beyond a great work of Shakespeare else they may forget the mark for exceptional achievement in writing. It was my first time reading A Midsummer Night's Dream and it lived up to my high expectations! As always - a true delight!


The Madonna of the Future - Henry James
Finished 28FEB19
  What a great find this story is! It was referenced in another recent read. For those that create, or wish to create but find that they never complete their perfect creation - this book will let you step aside of your project and possibly see a few errors in the way of your success. I very short read, but very worthy of your time.


The Power of a Half Hour -Tommy Barnett
Finished 25FEB19
  What I had thought to be a time managemnet book was a book on faith and using thirty minute allotments of time to accomplish God's will for you. Great stories leaving you full of optimsm.


Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen - Jose Antonio Vargas
Finished 24FEB19
  Borrowed from the New Arrivals section of the library the book tells of the plight of one undocumented citizen. It is a very personal story of both the fear and frustrations of being brought to the United States as a child to eventually discover that your "Green Card" is fake. The writer is an amazing man with an amazing story. I am glad I read this book. It is a quick read – easily accomplished in one sitting if you choose.


WildGoose Chase - Mark Batterson
Finished 24FEB19
  Picked this book up at a used bookstore a few weeks back. Finally got around to reading it this past week. I enjoyed the book. It was encouraging and prompted excitement into the following of Christian faith. It is a quick and enjoyable read.


To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Finished 14FEB19
  Wow! I wish I could write like this! It was a complete joy to read. I can't believe it took me all these yeard to read this. And the story goes without saying as an extremely great story! Very moving. Upon finishing the book, I borrowed the DVD from the library. A well done movie as well! One of the best books and movies one can have the opportunigy to enjoy!


13 Things That Don't Make Sense - Michael Brooks
Finished 10FEB19
  Stumbled onto this book using the audiobook app from the library. It was so well written, so well read, and as intersting as one could have hoped for! Pure enjoyment and fascinating! I enjoyed the audibook so much that I had to order the paperback. So much for the library saving me money on book purchases! LOL A must read for anyone that likes to think.


Judgement Detox - Gabrielle Bernstein
Finished 6FEB19
  Breaking away from the literary classics I stumbled upon this book in audio format from the library. It was no masterpiece of writing, but the content was interesting, seemingly fresh, and applicable to me in my life. It is a great read on self-improvement! I did find that all the great content came quickly and it seemed like she added supporting words just to fill pages and make this a book instead of a magazine article. But in no way let that deter you from reading this book. I am being overly critical as my focus the past few months have been on the wordcraft of creating great sentences. Read this book!


Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Finished 5FEB19
  I find that I like the life-story of Charles Dickens along with his writing. I was happy to find Bleak House, as it is a short story. The beginning of the story did not pull me in as I had hoped. It is quite possible that if I was actually reading the book and not listening to an audio version that I may have given up on the book. Since I was driving I listened onward. I am glad that I did. As the book continued I became more captivated. By the end of story I was pleased. A great read (listen)! Another great by Dickens!


The Creative Life - Julia Cameron
Completed 2FEB19

Though the tales may be true I did not feel that they led me to any inspiration. Saddened by that. Maybe I was not in the right place at the time? Nonetheless The Creative Life left me wanting to write a book called The Creative Life and fill it with true or untrue tales of inspiration!

I found myself in a low the past few days - not wanting or enjoying much reading...


Alice's Adventures in Wonderlan - Lewis Carroll
Completed 31JAN19
  A few weeks back I watched a documentary on Lewis Carroll. That sparked an interest in reading his book about the young girl Alice. I had not read the book or at least can not recall reading it though all are familair of the story. The documenatry supports the reading by providing a bit of insight to how the book came to be. It was a quick read and an enjoyable tale.

The Pearl - John Steinbeck
Completed 31JAN19
  I loved reading Of Mice & Men and was anxious to find another of Steinbeck's works to read. The beginning of the story did not impress me and I feared I would not like or complete The Pearl. Somewhere along the way the story become of more interest and it remains so throughput the rest of the book. Like so many great works, I found myself in awe over a few particular sentences. There were some very well crafted statements. Such is the icing on the cake of a great tory. I enjoyed the book and will again return to Steinbeck for more.

The Jelly Bean / Bernice Bobs Her Hair - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Completed 30JAN19
  I just started using the library app called Libby. It allows you to check out audio books from your local library system. My first experience using the app was a positive one. I read two short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Jelly Bean and Bernice Bobs Her Hair. I listened to both stories during my drive from Annapolis to Ocean City, MD. There was little doubt of their author. It is classic Fitzgerald, and being such, a great joy!

I truly enjoyed these two little gems! And I enjoyed that I used the Libby app to retrieve them from my local library!

Rappacini's Daughter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Currently Reading
  If I didn't know that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote Rappaccini's Daughter I would have guessed with conviction that it was written by Shakespeare! The story was wonderful, the writing exquisite! I loved this short story! If I were ever to be a writer of fiction, I would want to write like Nathaniel Hawthorne and/or Shakespeare! I will continue to look for more by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Young Goodman Brown - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read 26JAN19

I have always loved Nathaniel Hawthorne. I have a book of his small stories but I do not recall this particular story among them. It, like most of what I read, is a short story. You can easily read it in one day. The opening was like reading Shakespeare in my opinion. Eventually the writing moved off of that feeling, but the first few pages were Shakespearian. The story was good, and the writing was great! It was everything I could want in a quick read!

The Art of X-Ray Reading - Roy Peter Clark
Completed 25JAN19

I have a few books on writing written by Roy Peter Clark. I find then to be great tools. I stumbled onto this book at the library. I have just started reading it. Chapter 1 was inspirational in the sense it explained a wayof reading that I have engaged in the past few months, reading beneath the surface of just the story and reading it from a writer's perspective. The methodology is to be a means to help me write better.

If I had to limit, and I don't, writing books most helpful to the new writer, Roy Peter Clark would be that author!

Love Comes First - Erica Jong
Read: 24JAN19

I stopped into my local library this afternoon. It has been a few years since my library card was active and I took a moment to get a new card. A quick visual assessment and I ended up in poetry and writing. Love Comes First was one of the two books I checked out. Seems like it should come first, both love and this book at the library.

I had never read any of Erica Jong's work. This collection of poetry made for a quick read. Overall I must say I was not emotionally impressed in a way that I believe love poetry should move a person. The poems were - ok. What I did notice though was that among the poems were amazing great sentences. Those sentences made for some really great writing. It was not enough in my opinion to pull the rest of the poem along with it. But great sentences - there are some within this book.

The Portable Seminary - David Horton
Currently Reading

I saw this book in an ad on Facebook. I am currently about a hundred pages into it and have found it to be interesting g so far. I do not believe the reading of this book to come anywhere near close to attending seminary.

I have enjoyed the first 100 pages. It was interesting and instructive - mainly surrounding the language behind the Bible and a bit of logical explanation on how to read the Bible. This comes at a perfect time as I am on a read the Bible in a year reading plan.

New American Standard Bible
Year Reading Plan

One of my New Year resolutions was to read the whole Bible, a task I have yet to ever accomplished. This year I will. We talk about the Bible a lot. I quote and misquote it a lot. I had decided that I really needed to read the complete book. The reading plan breaks the reading into easily achievable amounts to lead you day by day until both it and the year come to completion.

The Bet - Anton Chekhov
Audio Book Completed: 22JAN19

My interest in this book comes from my enjoyment of Russian authors. I was not disapointed. The Bet is an extremely short story, but a wonderful story! The reader does not enough time to tire of the story. It keeps moving forward.

The moral of the story slips in while you are looking for one. It becomes a rather significant statement about life. The story is simply a joy and I am glad to have added to my list of classic books that I have read.

Bartleby the Scrivener - Herman Melville
Audio Book Completed: 22JAN19

What a great story! From the author of Moby Dick comes a wonderful story. It captivated me from the beginning to the end of the book. The writing was good. It made me think as I read. But it is the story that makes this classic so outstanding. It is a short book, as are most of the books I have been reading.

Audiobooks make driving a whole different adventure! A great use of my time. Listening is not the same as reading, and I have felt some audiobooks were palatable being listened to but may have proven more of an effort to have read. I am not sure that it makes a significant difference, other then the time saved multitasking when ingesting the audio format.

The Nightingale and the Rose - Oscar Wilde
Audio Book Completed: 20JAN19

I first read Oscar Wilde way back in high school, The Picture of Dorian Gray. I had just learned at that time that reading a classic in one's eleventh grade literature class helps elevate one's grade, as witnessed in my then just completed oral review of Les Miserables. The A+ for extra effort seemed repeatable. From Victor Hugo to Oscar Wilde. I knew of the story for both of these classics from movies on TV. Reading The Picture of Dorian Gray was honestly a challenge for me. The story though is very likable! Such is the same with The Nightingale and the Rose.

This is the shortest of the short stories that I have listened to this weekend. It was a mere twelve minutes, but do not let that detract from its quality. It is amazing! It is moving! The writing is wonderful! I will have to find another of Oscar Wilde's work!

Rip Van Winkle - Washington Irving
Audio Book Completed: 20JAN19

Yet another short story, very short story actually. In spite of some acknowledgement that maybe such short stories don't have enough content to deliver the exemplary writing style and sentence structure. Though logically both short and long stories all start out the same, the first few words, first few sentences, first few paragraphs. All writing has the same beginnings, hence the same opportunity to write moving sentences. Irving has written a strong short story that meets my desires in writing.

I usually listen to books at a slightly faster reading rate of 1.25 times of normal. I had to reduce this particular reading rate to 1, normal reading rate. I was familiar with the story, everyone is. I enjoyed the book. The story is strong. I did not have any particular sentences scream out to me of being of those that take your breath away. That was OK. The story made up for it. A great read!

A Haunted House - Virginia Woolf
Audio Book Completed: 20JAN19

I barely finished my first Virginia Woolf book and stumbled onto her incredibly short story - A Haunted House.

To me it resembled Edgar Allen Poe's work more that what I just experienced from Woolf. If I were reading it in a collection of Poe's work I would have thought nothing odd about it. Written in 1920, it is possible that Woolf had some familiarity of Poe's writing. I need to Google if there is actually some connection. Knowing nothing of such connection, I believe A Haunted House is influenced by Poe. I am OK with that. Woolf references Mary Shelly in Woolf's book, A Room of One's Own.

I had hoped that the writing, albeit a very short story, would have displayed Woolf's incredible writing talent, primarily for me, her sentence structure. It did not deliver. If I want more of Virginia Woolf, it is going to require me to turn a lot more pages.

The Signalman - Charles Dickens
Audio Book Completed: 19JAN19

Another extremely short story. I should be feeling a bit embarressed for reading two such short stories in a row. Dickens is such a great writer that there was no way I could pass by the book without reading it. By the time I would have read enough into the book to decide I may not wish to continue, well I would be at the end of this read. There is little risk, and lots of opportunity for the reader.

A classic ghost story. I was curious as to which came first, The Signalman or A Christmas Carol. It was A Christmas Carol by about 20 years. It was a good ghost story, very much identifiable as Dickens. Great plot. A quick read (listen).

The Magic Shop - H.G. Wells
Audio Book Completed: 19JAN19

An extremely short story with a great review that enticed me to read it. Wells is such a great writer that there was no way I could pass by the book without reading it. By the time I would have read enough into the book to decide I may not wish to continue, well I would be at the end of this read. There is little risk, and lots of opportunity for the reader.

I have completed the book. For me, pleasure reading (fiction) is a two-part experience. There is the word-craft; how words are placed in the order we read them and the emotion that reading excellent sentences provides, the joy of reading the sentences. Then there is the obvious - the story itself. I have read a number of books recently that were perfect examples of great writing, though the story itself was not much interest to me. I find happiness out of such reading. Then there are the books that have it all! A great story and written with great sentences! These are the real gems in my reading world.

I do not wish to become a critique of writing beyond my personal use to help me improve my own writing. So when I say that this book did not deliver to me what I was hoping for, it only means - for me and my agenda of bettering my writing. Such was the case with The Magic Shop. The story was OK. It did progress and built up interest. I believe for a little boy (part of the story) to read this book it might have been a thrill. The bottom line: The writing was not what I was seeking. I was pleased that as the book continued it built up interest. Onto the next read. No offense intended, Mr. Wells.

Passing - Nella Larsen
Audio Book Completed: 19JAN19

This book appeared in a "Must Read Classic Short Stories" Google search. The book review was inviting so I have placed it on my list of current reading.

I have completed the book. Wow! The writing was profound! The sentences are so well crafted. What an example on how to write well. The book was written in 1929 and is considered a tragedy, psychological fiction. It is all of that and much more. Highly recommend the book noting that some of the language is relevant to the time in which it was written, and properly placed within the story. My luck - three great reads in a row!

A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
Audio Book Completed: 17JAN19

Listened to an audio presentation of Virginia Woolf's book, A Room of One's Own today. The writing was brilliant! I loved the book, especially the introduction. It is a work of genius! It is the first book I have "read" from her, but it will not be my last. I will quickly seek out another one.


i Six Nonlectures - e e cummings
Read: 13JAN19

I ran across this book by e e cummings at Back Creek Books in Annapolis. This book was a delight. It wasn't the poetry, but e e cummings approach to delivering lectures that just blew me away! It is great when the greats of any worthwhile feat(s) come to the podium in such a humble and logical manner. Another e e cummings book is on its way to my mailbox!



The Phantom Rickshaw & Other Eerie Tales - Rudyard Kipling
Read: 12JAN19

I also ran across this book of very short stories by Kipling at Back Creek Books in Annapolis. I was delighted when I spotted it on the shelf and believed it had all the promise in the world of being a treat. It did not meet my expectations. One of the things I have learned from the past year of reading is some literature just speaks to you. Other works simply don't. It would be unfair to place evaluation on the writing of works that just don't arouse you. Kipling obviously has written great pieces. I wish I could enjoy them in the way I do the Russian authors.

I will pass it along to some other reader.

The Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas - Ronald F. Hock
Read: 10JAN19

I had not heard of the Infancy Gospels until they were mentioned in a recent sermon I had the opportunity to hear. I picked up this book off of Amazon and recently spent the evening reading it. The stories of a young Jesus, Mary and Joseph were rather interesting. These are stories that are outsice of those of the New Testiment.

MCSA Windows 10 Study Guide - William Panek
Book Completed: 10JAN19

Reading can't always be like Gertrude Stein's quote, "Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?" Technical reading, which a requirement for many of us in the technical world is anything but pleasure.

I listed this book here because it takes effort to read and it keeps me from doing other reading that I would prefer.

Romeo & Juliet - William Shakespeare
Audio Book Completed: 28DEC18

Ended up the year with classic Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet is one of those books that is so often referred to and yet I always seem to get the feeling that it is more referenced than actually fully read. That being said, I myself can't recall actually reading the book cover to cover. Very little can challenge the passion of William Shakesperare and his writing. What a joy this is! What a reminder it is to write one's heart out!

This reading prompted a little more thought on Shakespeare and I stumbled upon a very interesting documentary:

Cracking the Shakespeare Code
(2017) https://imdb.to/2s0HxYD

FREEWRITING For Travel Writers - Jay Artale
Read: 28NOV18

Amazon delivered a great, little book yesterday. I do not recall where I saw the ad or reference to this book, but I am glad I ordered it!

I am familiar with freewriting, I just never heard it called that before. And while I wish I was on the road traveling I do not see any treks in the traditional sense my near future, the book seems very applicable to writing nonfiction at any point along the road.

This book has reminded me of a few writing techniques I need to employ in my own endeavors.

Mary - Vladimir Nabokov
Audio Book Completed: 28NOV18

I am returning to Nabokov, one of my favorite writers. The opening sentences in Lolita are in my opinion some of the finest words written, albeit the story as a whole always leaves us a bit uncomfortable.

I read a collection of his short stories a while back and found myself enthralled over his descriptive details. It is my hope that Mary will equally prove itself in my mind as another of his masterpieces!

I have the book in audio format and will be listening for those perfect sentences.

The Land - Walter Brueggermann
Reading: Currently

Borrowing this book. I should have read it by now and returned it.
It is up next in my reading queue.



Reading Now...

The Art of Writing a Non-Fiction Book - Bryan Collins
How To Write Non-Fiction - Joanna Penn
    Last year I had three weeks off at the end of the year. It was a great experience and part if what made it so wonderful is I devoted a lot of my time and energy into writing. I made some substantial leaps forward. I was pleased. In the proverbial blink of an eye a year has passed. Those three weeks are soon to be mine again. While I have done very little writing on my writing project (a serious error in my ways) I have not completely abandoned the project. I spent over half of the year reading the way a writer should read.

I have studied words, sentences, and writing techniques, all in the hopes of becoming a better communicator through writing. As the momentum picks up speed I am seeking out any and all words of wisdom that I can obtain to jettison me into year-end success. These two books are proving to be very helpful in my journey. I could not have read them at a more valuable time, other than maybe a few years ago when it is quite possible they would have helped save me some lost time. They are quick and easy reads. And for me, they are extremely aligned to the words I need to hear.

Each of these books truly deserve their own mention in my reading list. I leave them combined if anyone would decide to order one, they will certainly want to consider ordering the other.

buy·ology - Martin Lindstrom

Stepping away from the classics for a brief moment to read a book that caught my eye a while back. It is one of those "collector books" - books you buy but do not read. I was moving some books around and came upon this one and placed it on my reading list.

I once read that it is wise to pose a question at the beginning of a book and then take the whole book to answer it. This is how I felt when reading this book. Yes - some interesting facts and views but what about that question? When will I get the answer?

The answer never came as I had hoped. But don't misconstrue, I did get an answer. I had to stop and allow myself to play back the book quickly in my head and that resulted in answer. Back to the classics!


A Farewell To Arms - Ernest Hemingway

Finally! Returning to Hemingway in a somewhat desperate hope to get me realigned with the style of writing I have begun to crave. I am loving the sentences, the writing style and the story. I am about halfway through the book. The writer hidden inside of me is happy I am reading this book.

I have finished the book. I really enjoyed it - loved the story. I was a bit surprised in the middle, as it seemed to suffer from middle sag. A Farewell to Arms has a great beginning and a great ending. I was almost to a point of boredom, when swoosh! All of a sudden the great word craft came back and carried me to the end of the book. Maybe I am not a log novel reader? Maybe I need the shorter of stories? In any case the book delivered to me the great sentences of Hemingway and for that I am truly appreciative!


Nine Stories - J. D. Salinger

I must admit that I have yet to read The Catcher in the Rye.Seems everyone else has. I felt that Salinger's collection of nine short stories might make for a great introduction to his works. I suppose it was.

I gave it the whole nine yards. The stories were OK. I am not looking for OK, so this collection adds to my reading slump. I am beginning to feel like an addict, needing a fix. I want a great read, with great sentences woven throughout. Maybe I need to shift from short stories at this point and dedicate the time to full length novels.

Not every book is a match for every reader. This may prove the case with Salinger. I may never find myself with any other books of his in my hand.

The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

A return to Hemingway and my reading goal of seeking out those magical, one-true sentences. Tolstoy told a great story in The Kreutzer Sonata, but there was not the collection of great sentences that I found in his book, The Death of Ivan Ilyich - it was filled with great sentences of perfect order of exact words. Hemingway handed those types of sentences to me in A Moveable Feast; great sentences - enjoyable story!

Unfortunately for me, the sun never made it. As much as I wanted to enjoy this story, enjoy Hemingway, I just could not get into it in the way I had hoped. I tried. I failed. In fairness to the book, I read it during the 2018 election, which is an extremely stressful and busy time for me. Also, I admit that the newly acquired reading habit translates into me not being as strong of a reader as others certainly are. For me, this book was disappointing.

The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy

I returned to Tolstoy for another reading. I did not feel the writing was a good as with The Death of Ivan Ilyich but the story was a bit amusing from the male perspective. It is a good story. Enjoyable. Once again I read a book of many years passed and yet it is as applicable today as then sans some old items not common today - petticoats and opiates. Well at least petticoats. I must admit that the book as short as it is, could have been a bit shorter. There came a point in which I looked forward to its ending. A few chapters felt as though I had already read them earlier in the book. Overall the book did not meet my anticipation of another Tolstoy book.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy

Once again, I am delighted by the works of a Russian author! So many wonderfully crafted sentences. And just when you notice you have not read one in a little while - one pops up.

The story is as perfect of a story on dying as one can imagine. There was a point nearing the end of the story where it became a bit monotonous, but it mirrored the dying process perfectly. Loved the short story! I will read more Tolstoy, perhaps The Kreutzer Sonata. I am not quite ready for War and Peace or Anna Karenina.


The Monkey's Paw - W. W. Jacobs
  I listened to the audio version of this very short story It is a great tale though lessoned I am certain by similar tales that followed its lead. It was written in 1902 and I am certain filled many of its readers with fear. The story is clean, as it had to be to be able to be that short in length. The writing met the needs of the story, but I did not hear the one or two really great sentences I search for in my reading. Nonetheless I would recommend the story to anyone that had a thirty minute period to fill.



Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman - Richard P. Feynman

Surely You're Joking is my third book of the great mathematician, Richard Feynman. While no one has asked me - I consider any of these three books required reading at a collegiate level in the pursuit of brilliant curiosity. The books are well written and a pure joy to read. I promise that you will enjoy them as well - and I am not joking.


The Ten Commandmenst and Human Rights - Walter J. Harrelson
  I recently borrowed this book from the minister of the church I have been attending recently. The subject is near and dear to my own writing endeavors and I am happy to report the book did much more than meet my expectations! I was very pleased with th ebook, again because of its closeness in topic than its actual writing style. The title Ifelt was shortsighted. There is a chapter in the book cncerning human rights, but in my opinion the book covers a broader area of information.

While it is not a book I'd recommend to the general masses for mere reading pleasure, it is a book that is applicable to the faith of many. Since I have to return the book to its owner, I went online and found a used copy, have ordered it, and await its arrival.


Reading Like a Writer - Francine Prose

An unfortunate theme is revealing itself in the books I pick up on the subject of writing. Holding within them the promise of the world to the want-to-be writer like myself, we enter into reading such books with great enthusiasm. My personal account however is not at all fulfilling. The one thing almost all of the books on writing that I have recently read lack what should be considered essential - is good writing. How can this be? The book taught me nothing that I was not already aware of in the quotes from the great writers.

A Hunger Artist - Franz Kafka

I listened to this very short story on the drive to Ocean City, MD. It is a rather strange story, clever in some ways, and there is a bit of thought provoking hints along the way, albeit a short way. There are some sentences that are pure gems, but they fly by quickly. Being as short of a story that it is, I believe I listen to it again soon. Overall I enjoyed the tale, though I do not feel compelled to research any more of Kafka's works for now. Maybe the story does not translate from German as well as Russion stories seem to do?

Kafka finished none of his full-length novels and burned around 90 percent of his work. Sounds like a very frustrated writer. Many can empathise.

Silas Marner - George Elliot

It is good that listened to this very short story instead of reading it as I am not sure I would have gone past the first few pages. It would have been a sad mistake. Much of what I have been reading has very strong beginnings and then sometimes tapers off a bit in the middle of the book. For me, the beginning of this story was the weakest and it got better as the story unfolded. Ultimately I felt the story was a good story, good values. Like a number of other recent read, the inter-relationships of the characters play a big part in the story. The quality of writing if I dare say so, was not as strong as other recent reads, but the story saves this book. I enjoyed it!

Love Her Wild - Atticus

Love Her Wild is a collection of short poetry placed on Instagram by Atticus, a storyteller and observer living in California. It is a quick and enjoyable read of love poetry.

My interest in the book is my searching for perfect sentences that convey strong emotional impact. Love poetry often contains such moving words. I enjoyed the poetry, but must say I read nothing that was WOW! Probably a satisfying read for the broken hearted and lonely.

You can visit him on Instagram: @atticuspoetry


The Great Gatsby - Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

I listened to the audio book The Great Gatsby on the drive up and back to central PA to visit with my mother. Like so many of the other great classics that I have been reading the beginning of the book presents exceptionally written sentences. I may not be learning how to write better, but I am certainly falling in love with great sentences! It was a pleasure on the ears to listen to this story. Albeit a short story, it kept my interest throughout the story. The book leaves me yearning for more from the author yet from what I read all other works may leave me a bit disappointed. I believe I was supposed to have read this book in high school. I did not. I find it a rather poor choice to read at that age. Yes, there is a lot to be said about the writing itself, but the story certainly must read better after a person has experienced some loves in their life.

I am enjoying my concentrated reading efforts!

A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway

Within the introductory sentences of this book I feel in love with it! It is Hemingway at his finest! I personally could relate to the story, although in no means want to be misconstrued as saying I am like Hemingway. That I can only dream of. The parts of the story that told of his writing were most enjoyable. This book will withstand any test of time, while a it of a period piece it is ever today relevant. I wonderful read and my favorite of Hemingway's works at this point in my reading.

Think Wrong - John Bielenberg

The book had all the promise in the world to be one of those opposite way of thinking books that challenge one to look at the problem from a different perspective. I enjoy books and challenges like that! What I found in this book is an over the top attempt to be clever. Sorry to those that created it. Label me as you feel necessary. It is just that different is not always better. There is no guarantee that by just being different you will solve a problem.

Consider Occam's razor. Sometimes the simpliest and known solution is actually the correct or better solution. Sorry if this problem solving principle is boring and not a challenge to the status quo, it just happens to be a way of thinking right. I judged this book by its cover and an over zealous review. I was sadly dissapointed.

To Build A Fire - Jack London

I was surprised when looking for short classic literature that To Build A Fire was listed as Jack London's most popular writing. Sharing my ignorance; I had never heard of the title. I am only familiar with Call of the Wild, which I read way back in school.

From the beginning of the story I could not help but think of the more modern book - Into the Wild written by Jon Krakauer. I assume any that enjoy living in or visiting the less "civilized" outdoors, being it the mountains or frozen tundra there are similarities in thought.

The writing at the start was not of the nature I had been just enjoying from Steinbeck, Hemingway, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. But as I read onward, I felt the writing become more intense as the story progressed.

The Reading Merit Badge in Boy and Girl Scouts should come with at least a suggested reading list. Jack London should have a book on that list. Sadly, I feel such a connection is not provided.

Of the many attributes that modern man has lost - outdoor survival instincts are among them. I would not recommend the book for anyone that has not felt the deep cold of the winter woods for it is how I found myself to relate to the story.

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Once again I am impressed with the collection of so many well-written sentences all strung together to crate a dialog that keeps you reading on and on. It is possible that since the motivation to read classic literature is to try and better understand how to write that I am seeing all these great examples. Maybe if I were reading for the pure pleasure of it I would simply be enjoying the read. I am enjoying it, but I feel like I have come across a new discovery, and for me I have. I love the creative genius behind the writing. Within the pages Of Mice and Men are strong sentences filled with genius. I am eaqually impressed in the diolog - the details in the diolog. And in other details. It was not a window. It was a four pane window.

The second theme of interest to me on reading these classics is the way of life that is written into them. A way of life long gone for must of us today. Simpler times, hard work, character, just causes; there are lots of memorabilia in the stories.

I was asked if I cried at the end of the story. I did not, probably because I was familiar of the story and knew its ending in advance of reading it.

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

In continuation with my admiration of Hemingway I have chosen to read the book most associated with his name. I was familiar with the story so there were no real surprises with one exception. I was impressed on how he kept me hooked in the story. You feel as if you are onboard the skiff, right there watching the master fisherman, albeit down on his luck. There is the relationship between the old man and the boy, the old man and the other fishermen, the old man and the fish, and the old man and himself. It is a triumphant read, a victory, though the prize did not make it to market. This I believe is because it was not about selling great fish, but defeating it in a primal way, man against beast. It was a most enjoyable read and will lead me onto another of Hemingway's books. Perhaps I shall read Moveable Feast?

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales

This collection of twenty-one of Hawthorne's tales is an enjoyable read at every turn of the page. I have always liked The Scarlet Letter so it is no surprise that I would enjoy these short stories.

Reading not only for pure enjoyment, but also as a student of writing, I pay attention to the degree of description in the stories along with particul choice of words. There is such a broad use of vocabulary in this writing. It gives depth to the stories.

The stories do place you back in time in which they are written.

Captains Courageous - Rudyard Kipling

I have been doing a bit of driving as of late so it makes sense to listen while I work. I really enjoyed Captains Courageous. About every "page" had a beautiful sentence. A collection of well-placed words that just feels good when you read or hear them. There wasn't anything all that surprising in the story, yet it was such a magnificent dialog that knowing what was coming was not all that bad.

I am sure I will pick up another Kipling book in the very near future. Maybe as soon as the next long drive!

Einsteins's Dreams - Alan Lightman

Einstein's Dreams was a very fast read. Each dream that is shared attributes with the other dreams yet was an independent way of imagining the different theories time's effect on the town and the souls present within the dream. I must admit as I read my way through the lucid dreams I was building up some anticipation for a climatic ending. I am disappointed to say - there is none. I still felt the book was enjoyable and made most relevant from watching the U.S. TV series Genius. The first season follows the life of Albert Einstein including his time as a patent clerk, in which the dreams for this book took place. I may be prompted to start a dream diary.

God in the Here and Now - Elizabeth Dallas McLean

At the time of me reading this book I had begun to attend a church a few miles down the road from where I live. I found myself enjoying the sermons; they were very well delivered and insightful. The minister of the church wrote this book so it seemed like a logical choice to pick up and read. It was a good choice! The collection of sermons that comprise the content of this book just so well written! Not surprising, as I have been so delighted the past Sunday mornings. The book is available on Amazon, and if you are a person seeking a read that will make you feel good about your faith, as varied as that is among us, this book will not disappoint you.

Excursions - Henry David Thoreau

I have an iPad Pro and on it is the with Kindle app. I never embraced using the iPad. I wanted to. It makes sense that a technical person such as I call myself would love a tablet. I don't. With my recent push in reading I am amassing a quick library. This goes against my minimalist attempts to live. So - I have dusted off the iPad, charged it up and will hopefully embrace it as I read forward.

As for the book - it's written by Thoreau, of course it is good! We often read of the benefits of being in nature. I know I feel better when I am enjoying the mountains. It is time for me to have an excursion and walk with Thoreau even if it is only in my mind.

Complete Tales & Poems - Edgar Allen Poe

Just in time for the month of October! There is an area in the woods not all that far from where i grew up that has ties to the Poe family and along with those ties some folklore. Adding to that that living in Baltimore at one point, I feel another tug of connection. Years back I went to visit his Baltimore home and his gravesite.

I enjoy reading Poe as I believe many do. This collection had all the favorites tales and poetry - of which my favorite Poe poem is Annabel Lee.


Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse - Andrea di Robilant

One cannot separate the man from his writing. If you enjoy Hemingway, you most likely will enjoy stories about his life. I had watched the movie Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, and from that point forward I have been a bit mesmerized with him and his life. I felt the reading was a bit dry and will admit if the story were about anyone other than Hemingway I would have set the book aside. Others I am sure will be intrigued.


The Writer's Chapbook - George Plimpton

A huge collection of quotes and thoughts by major writers on work habits, the audience, writer's block, revising, literally every aspect of writing. It is not like reading a good novel with the exception of all the tidbits of information leave you emotionally charged! This book will find itself positioned at the end of my reference books, just in reach for when I need an injection of pure enthusiasm.

It is interesting that when reading about writing about writing I did not see great writing surrounding the contents. Is that asking too much? Is it the reality of nonfiction?

We're All Doing Time - Boz Lozofph
We're All Doing Time   I had not been familiar with the writer Boz Lozoff when I first heard him referenced in a church sermon. Bo Lozoff was an American writer and interfaith humanitarian with an emphasis on faith in the prison system. I looked him up on Google and found a listing of his books. I selected this one to read. Wikipedia mentions some alleged activities within his foundation. I read no more into those details and instead went on to read his book. Seeking happiness? Take a look in this book.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach

A few years back I picked up a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull at a used book store in Ocean City, MD. I found myself back in Ocean City recently and while I did not make it to that used book store I remembered the experience and this book. It is a quick read, exactly what I needed. I pulled it off my bookshelf, enjoyed reading it again just as I enjoyed the memory of being in the used book store. In search of perfection!

I know I read Bach's book Illusions, but admit I recall nothing in particular or in general of the book. I still have th book and notice it has a few pages flagged. At the very least I'll see what I marked as noteworthy at the time.


The Short Stories of Vladimir Nabokov - Vladimir Nabokov
The Short Stories of Vladimir Nabokov   I came to reading the works of Nabokov due in part of the opening of Lolita. I believe that opening to be the best of the best openings of any book written. While there a fair number of great openings, the beginning of Lolita wins first place with me. Being intrigued I wanted to read more from Nabokov so when I saw I collection of his short stories I believed this would be a good place to start. I was right. I love the extreme detail he writes into his stories. I know for some, they feel it is too much, but for me it reads perfect! I am pleased with this read.


One Page Love Story - Rich Walls
One Page Love Story The book reminds me of a book I read many years ago, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. It was a collection of poems written throughout the process of falling in love, being in love, losing that love, and ultimately healing. The poems were short, and when I saw one page love story I hoped for both the short story and the deep emotion found in the book of poetry. Sadly I was disappointed. There were a few OK love story, but in my opinion, nothing emotionally moving. Thankfully the book was short or I probably would not have finished reading. Kept hoping for one good, true, one page love story. Find it I did not .  


Till We Have Faces - C. S. Lewis
  I first read C. S. Lewis's book the Screwtape Letters back around 2009. I enjoyed reading the book. Over the years that followed I also read Miracles and Mere Christianity and enjoyed reading both of them as well. I was online looking for some suggestions on what to read when I saw a review that said that Till We Have Faces was C. S. Lewis's best book. I had never heard of it and was a bit surprised if it was his best. I ordered the book, and, well, uh, I must say it did not strike me nearly as much as the reviewer touting as Lewis's best. Far from the best in my mind. Maybe it was my mood or the constant rainy weather. Maybe I will try it at a later point in time. Perhaps at the beach!


Whispers from Eternity - Paramhansa Yogananda 

There is a lot of good in the words given by Paramhansa Yogananda  in his writings. He provides great thoughts on communal peace, inner peace, meditation, well-being. It is worthy material. I enjoyed reading it, though less would have certainly been more meaningful to me. This book is an example to me personally to write less, not more.

As a cautionary note, he describes this book as a gift delivered to him from God and ranks it with the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. As a reader you can choose to agree, disagree on simply move past thoughts that might be challenging to your beliefs and intellect. Beyond that I believe it also provides an example of when we look for what is good, especially in unfamiliar surroundings – we will find good. There is good written in this book.

Notes From Underground - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Notes From Underground   I should have paid better attention in school! I confess of knowing little of the great writers of the world. My recent writing attempts have driven me to better reading. As I scoured the many magnificent books to chose from Notes From Underground came highly recommended. And upon reading the book I see why! Maybe I am drawn to the Russian writers for I enjoyed Dostoevsky's writing as much as Nabokov's. There were so many delightful sentences! It is amazing that it is translated so well into English.

if you have read Notes From Underground you already know his work is so highly recommended. If you have yet to read Notes From Underground, I'd suggest you order it today!


Lost Masters - Linda Johnson
  Lost Masters is an enjoyable read that takes you back to early civilization, to the great philosophers. It is a refreshing review of the Greek's influence over the creative and spiritual mind. I have always enjoyed Greek mythology and this book took me back in time to my early school days when reading was not how I chose to spend my time. I did read mythology and was interested in the thoughts and discoveries of the Masters.

Toxic Charity and Charity Detox - Robert D. Lupton
  While flying across county a few years back I sat beside a passenger reading Toxic Charity. I stole a few glances of what was written which led me into a conversation with the reader. That conversation sparked my interest enough to read the book. I was referencing the book recently and saw that there was a sequel, so I ordered it. The combination of these two books should be considered required reading for those in the business of being charitable. It is a common sense, responsibility driven statement on charity. Both books are well written An easy read.

Walden and Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau
  I have read Thoreau a number of times throughout my life. It seemed like a perfect way to delve back into meaningful reading. I get so much joy out of reading his works, especially Walden. I am transformed back in time, in the woods, and appreciating the simple life. It amazes me who what he wrote so many tears ago rings clearly today. Apparently I should retire to the woods, or even better move there now!

I can't imagine anyone that enjoys nature not enjoying reading Thoreau.


Stephen King on Writing - Stephen King
Steven King on Writing   I can't say enough good about this book. It was perfect for me! I enjoyed every page and my only regret in reading the book is that it was not longer. What makes this so surprising to me is that I have only ever read two of Stephen King's books. Sure I have seen may movies, but only read the two books.

For anybody writing or considering writing, this book is a must. I believe I will go and read it again.


Ernest Hemingway on Writing - Larry W. Phillips

A great collection of Hemingway quotes and letters and interviews. I find this book to contain 140 pages of sheer enjoyment. Hemingway has captured my intrigue and I both enjoy and benefit in reading his works and learning more about him as the write and adventurer he was. When I need a quick shot of motivation on writing I know I can find it in this gathering of all things Hemingway on writing.

I followed this reading with an audio book Hemingway's short stories. When you need to drive - drive well!


Help for Writers and Writing Tools - Roy Peter Clark
I needed help! I was in a lull. I had been failing to write anything at all. It was becoming quite a desperate situation. I turned to the Internet and did some research on books that might be benificaial. What I found was a collection of wonderful books on writing. These two books proved especially relative and useful to me in my writing delema.


Religious Intolerance in America - John Corrigan & Lynn S. Neal
Religeous Intolerance in America


A few years back I had an opportunist to visit the Valentine First Freedom Center located in downtown Richmond, VA. The center is home to a collection of religious freedom exhibits. It also has a marvelous bookstore where I picked up this book. Admitting it has sat for the most part unread, until I recently called upon it for some supporting information for my writing project.

I believe what I like best about this book is it quickly challenges, or better said dispels some beliefs you may just be taking for granted. After all - what we learned in elementary school must be accurate - correct? The reading is part is eye opening. I will say for me that all of the details, while great historical documentation, fell a little flat in reading pleasure.

50 Paintings You Should Know - Kristina Lowis & Tamsin Pickeral

There is more to reading than the words. It is the visualization we have while reading. our minds create response to the descriptions written. Art is a wonderful companion to reading. It facilitates our creative answers to what we read. Give your reading more depth by giving your mind more visual exposure. Just my thoughts.

I needed to start my reading list somewhere. And so I have with this book of 50 paintings both you and I should know.