The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The Books of Summer

Jester reading a book
Jester reading a book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Falling into 2015      

         Summer's gone and 2014 is falling toward an end--and far too rapidly for my taste.   Three whirlwind months ahead until 2015 bops in the door.  With a new year comes another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, the sixth annual event yet.   Who would have expected a casual blogging stunt to become a big yearly event?

            If you've been an A to Z participant in the past and think you might be a good addition to our A to Z Team, please let me know and we'll consider you as a member for the next event.   We've got a few openings for a few good bloggers.

            With the end of summer comes the end of my summer blogging schedule.  Maybe/maybe not.  We'll see how it goes, but for now here I am posting on a Friday and it's not even a Battle of the Bands day.   The next BOTB will be Wednesday October 1 and again it will be combined with my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.   I'll be posting here at Tossing It Out at least twice, maybe three times a week.   Ain't that wishy washy?

Did You See It?

          There's a probability that most readers of my post this past Monday missed an interesting visit in my comment section.   This was the post where I announced the winner of my most recent Battle of the Bands competition between the group The Hello People and singer Laurel Masse performing their versions of Todd Rundgren's "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference".   One of those leaving a comment was Laurel Masse herself!   I'm glad she won and that we all said nice things about her.   Check out the comments in that post.

My Summer Reading List

          This past summer saw me taking a more extended away from home excursion than I ever have done before.    I took a lot of books with me in anticipation of doing a lot of reading during that vacation time. I didn't read many of books that I brought with me and picked up a few while I was at my mother's house.  It's probably a pitiful list when put against what some of you more voracious readers get through, but for me this was fairly substantial.

            For the heck of it I thought I might list the books I read during the summer of 2014 with a short comment about each.   Here are my books of summer for 2014 in the order that I read them:

The Third Strike by Jerry Gray --A very short book that I've owned for about 40 years and read for the second time this summer.   I will be posting about this book tomorrow (Saturday September 27th) at my memoir blog Wrote By Rote.

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill -- One of many novels that I brought on the trip with me, but the only one that I read.   Published in 2008,  this is an acclaimed award-winning literary fiction about the game of cricket, the city of New York, and relationships.  Good writing, but it left me kind of flat.  And cricket?   Seemed like an odd topic, but for this story it kind of works.   I still don't understand cricket and this book didn't make me a fan of the sport, but the author handled the topic in an interesting and artful fashion.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee --Somewhat surprisingly I'd never read this novel, so when I saw a copy at my mother's house I decided to read it at last.  Great novel.  Most of you have already read it.

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge -- Suggested by Stephen T. McCarthy, this is a study about the real person of Jesus.   There was no new insight provided me by this book, but a reaffirmation of the way I already see Jesus.  It's a fine book that I recommend for those who have a negative outlook about the Jesus they've heard about in church or for anyone who just likes to read books about Jesus.  I'll read this one again eventually.

Your Best Life Now:  7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Joel Osteen -- Osteen gets plenty of flack from all quarters, but he's also immensely popular.  This is a book that I recommend to everyone, especially those with a negative outlook on life in any respect.   This is not a Bible study book or any sort of theological treatise, but it offers some very practical life advice.   I challenge anyone to show me a major point of dispute in anything Osteen says in this book.   There may be a few theological missteps to be found, but as a life guide you can't go too wrong in not just reading this book, but following the advice contained within its pages.   I highly recommend this book.

Israeli/Arab Conflict by Wilbur M. Smith --This small book was written in 1967, but it reads like todays news stories.   Not enough solid historical background for my taste and the author gets overly repetitive with the same Bible verses.  It's an interesting curio from the sixties with a general premise that is as true today as it was when this book was written.   There are other much better books that go into more depth about this topic.

The Greatest Question by Oliver B. Greene--My father owned a number of books by this author who was an old-fashioned evangelist with a somewhat popular radio show back in the 1960's and 70's.  In fact his show is still carried on some stations even though Greene has been dead for many years.   Greene makes a good case about his cause using many Bible references combined with some reasonable logic.   Since I now have several of Greene's books which I got from my mother's house, I'm sure I'll be reading more of these.  They are compact little books, but I found this particular belt to be very compelling as I am sure the others will be.  If you are curious as to what Greene considers "the greatest question" to be, you can find it in Matthew 27:22.  Where Greene goes to back up his claim I found to be quite interesting.

Tom Swift and His Electronic Retroscope by Victor Appleton II --At one time I owned the first nineteen books of the Tom Swift Jr. series.   I don't know what happened to all of my collection, but I did manage to retrieve eight books from my old collection from my mother's house.  I decided to reread this book after having last read it over fifty years ago. This is more than just silly fun for young boys.  It surprisingly holds up with scientific terminology and concepts that sound fairly contemporary.  The story is fast paced and believable to an extent.   The cast of characters is formulaic and stereotypical, but they are a likeable bunch.   I actually enjoyed reading this.  The writing is not overly simplistic, but it reads very quickly.  I could read more in this series.

           How's that for an odd assortment of reading?     Have you read any of these books?   Do books about Bible study and spiritual issues interest you?


  1. Wow, Laurel Masse left a comment? That's amazing.
    I enjoy watching Osteen but I've not read that book.

  2. So glad you finally got around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. One of my all time favorites. I've reread her book at least 10 times over.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It sometimes puzzles me to read a classic and be disappointed -- I always feel as if that shows a lack in me!

    Tom Swift, huh?

    As a boy, I read quite a few of the DOC SAVAGE books -- now they were written to formula! :-)

  4. I've read one of the books on your list. To Kill A Mockingbird. Glad you finally got a chance to read it.

  5. Alex-- I was pleasantly surprised to see Masse's comment. It's good to see others beyond the blog circle noting our posts.

    Jay-- I don't know if I'll ever read the book 10 times, but it's worth a reread. I've seen the movie many times.

    L.Diane-- Some heavy reading mixed with a dash of light.

    Roland-- I was surprised to see how many one star reviews there are on Amazon for Mockingbird. When I was a kid I didn't mind formulaic books. I'm still okay with it now and then so long as the formula is presented well.

    Susanne-- I'm surprised I never read it in school or college.


  6. To Kill a Mockingbird was a book that shaped how I saw good writing.

    Tom Swift? Oh, you are going way back here!

    Right now I am reading a book about Allies flying over the "Hump" to deliver supplies to the Chinese, and to bomb Japan, "Flying the Hump" by Otha Spencer. My father was a B-29 gunner and I did not gain much information from him.

  7. A while ago, I bought an entire collection of the Tom Swift books: all of Victor Appleton's books for 99 cents. I've only read one so far (Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle); I really should get back to them. I know I read them when I was younger, when Grandma found all my dad's books and gave them to us. She also found a trove of Leo Edwards books (adventures of Jerry Todd, Poppy Ott, Tuffy Beans, etc.)

    I like Joel Osteen; his messages are positive and he doesn't browbeat you with Bible verses.

  8. You actually heard from Laurel Masse? Wow.

  9. I've still to read To Kill a Mocking Bird. Maybe I'll take it with me when I go down to the coast in the next few weeks.
    Over the past few days I've re-read M. Scott Peck's Denial of the Soul published in 1997. He writes about the spiritual and medical perspectives on euthanasia and mortality ... again a huge issue in many parts of the world.
    I'm also re-reading Aldous Huxley : The Doors of Perception & heaven and Hell ..
    I looked up Matthew 27:22 and it is a big question Lee .. something I'll be pondering!

  10. You've read many interesting books this summer. And? Are you living your life to your full potential now that you read the book? :-)

  11. Susan Kane-- My father did not tell me much about the war years either, but then again I didn't ask much about them. I wish I had prodded him more about his past.

    John -- Sounds like that may have been the original Tom Swift series. That's a bargain no matter how you look at it.

    Susan Scott--I need to read the huxley book It's a topic that interests me.

    Vanessa -- for me the Osteen book was mostly a reaffirmation of my thoughts on his topic.


  12. There was a Tom Swift series that was done in the 1910's thru 1930's. That would have been the series Dad and his brothers read. There was a Tom Swift Jr. series that started in the 1950's; those are probably the ones you had. The older series was significantly less politically correct than the newer one...


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