December reading, part 1

I think I will be doing this in several batches over the next few days  because I seem to have a lot going on. But I’ll get started now, at least!

I read 3 non-fiction books.

  • Blind but Now I See: Biography of the Music Legend Doc Watson by Kent Gustavson was a fascinating book about Doc Watson. I knew of him prior to reading this book but I knew almost nothing about him. I liked the fact that there were lots of anecdotes from musicians and others who knew Doc. That helped me to see him as a real person. Another thing that I liked was that he didn’t try to make everything sound perfect. He talks about life on the road in the 1980s and about how his son’s death changed Doc. Looking at the reviews on Amazon, I know not everyone liked the book, but I did.
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish by James Scott Bell was probably the best  non-fiction book I read all year. Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, but it is having a huge impact on my writing and the progress I am making on the second novel. In addition to great explanations, there are exercises to get you to use the ideas you have read about. Sometimes the exercises in books like this don’t appeal to me, but this time I did most of them and really could see that I benefited from them. I borrowed this book from Amazon through their Prime Reading program, and I am seriously thinking about buying my own copy.
  • Hollyweird Science: From Quantum Quirks to the Multiverse by Kevin R. Grazier and Stephen Cass was a really interesting book. It talks about the “science” found in science fiction movies and TV shows and then the “real” science. Sometimes it got a little too caught up in the real science and math for me, but overall, it was a good book. When it talked about shows I watched (like Eureka and the Stargate franchise) I was especially fascinated. The book explains some of the reasons for the scientific inaccuracies and shows how the science is getting better as we get better science. I really enjoyed it and learned a little bit of science along the way.

In historical fiction, I read The King’s Cavalry, the fourth book in the Forgotten Emperor series by Paul Bannister. As with the earlier ones I have read, I enjoyed this one. This book has Arthur dealing with Constantine, a situation made more complicated by the fact that Arthur had killed Constantine’s father. Aside from the military matters, this book deals with the relationship between the Christian and pagan religions at the time. It is presented as being a lot more complicated than I was ever led to believe as a child. I have a feeling it is a lot more accurate, too! I am continuing to read this series and I a continuing to enjoy it. The books aren’t perfect, but I feel like I am getting a new perspective on history.

I listened to one audiobook, The Highwayman: Saga of the First King by R.A. Salvatore. I loved this book as much as the Demon Wars books, and I am sorry that I do not have more of this series on audiobooks. I am sad that I don’t have them as ebooks, too. I may end up buying the rest of them because I really want to know how the story ends. This is a prequel to the Demon Wars books. I highly recommend this book.

OK, I’ll be back later with more!



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