What I’ve Been Reading: Sea Stories

Tag: what I’ve been reading

7Aug 2023
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What I’ve Been Reading: Sea Stories

Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by Admiral William H. McRaven. My dad was in the military, and I have tremendous respect for anyone who served or serves our country. So even though I have no idea what it’s like to be halfway around the world with my life on the line, I still feel like I can connect with the story. And I feel a little closer to my dad (and grandfather), who served in Vietnam (and World War II, respectively). McRaven is a Navy SEAL who finished out his career as the commander of all Special Forces and worked closely with a couple presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This book goes all the way back to his childhood, growing up in a military family, and then through various points in his career. It climaxes with details about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but what I found way more entertaining was the story of catching and interrogating Saddam Hussein. Overall, it’s an interesting and fairly easy read if you’re at all interested in the military.

6Aug 2023
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What I’ve Been Reading: Dopamine Nation

Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke. I’ve talked about this a little bit on Twitter – maybe not here so much – but the last year or so has been a gigantic struggle in my personal life. I won’t get into the details, but there have been some addiction issues and dramatic events with the people around me that have really taken a toll. (To be clear, I don’t have any addiction issues but have been caught up in the wash of others’.) I came across this book in a little bookstore on vacation, and the synopsis really hit home, so I bought it and took a lot of notes. Basically, Lembke is a therapist who talks about how to deal with various addictions – alcohol, drugs, food, adult media, sex, etc. – and what they do to our brains. There are some personal stories from her dealings with patients, but she also talks about ways she has dealt with problematic issues in her own life. Anyway, if you feel overwhelmed or know someone who feels overwhelmed by compulsive or addictive behavior, maybe give it a read.

I’m currently reading the following two books…

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner. Zentner was recommended to me by an author friend. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s about a couple girls who host a cheesy basic cable show about bad horror movies, but they’re coming of age and have to choose their next steps in life. The premise sounds lame, but Zentner is an excellent author. I previously read his In the Wild Light, which was awesome.

The Hot Seat: A Year of Outrage, Pride, and Occasional Games of College Football by Ben Mathis-Lilley. I always thought Mathis-Lilley was a Michigan grad, but it turns out he’s just a Michigan fan. Anyway, this book talks about college football coaches being on the proverbial “hot seat” where they’re at risk of losing their job. It has a large focus on Jim Harbaugh and his struggles to make Michigan fans happy because of not beating Ohio State in his first several years at the helm in Ann Arbor.

17Mar 2023
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What I’ve Been Reading

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The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher. I did at one time enjoy reading Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, and while I still want to continue, I’ve just been caught up reading other things. I happened to stumble across a graphic novel version of a new story by Butcher – one that won’t be covered by the longer novels – so I thought I would take a shot. Luckily, Butcher’s humor is still infused throughout the comic, which I enjoy. Plus it’s nice to see an artist’s rendition of some of the characters and action from the novel series.

No Plan B by Lee Child and Andrew Child. This is book 27 in the series, and I’ve read all of them now. Series creator Lee Child has handed off the writing to his son Andrew, but the character continues. Personally, I feel like there has been a drop-off in the past couple books, but maybe it’s just my perception. The character seems to be a little more bland, and in this particular book, the story is kind of confusing. Too many characters are poorly explained and underdeveloped for too long in the novel.

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover. Having gone through some professional troubles in recent months, it was recommended to me to take in this book by Dr. Robert Glover. Basically, if you’re like me and you sometimes go with the flow too much, that can cause issues. I tend to be a very principled person and I don’t let anyone compromise my morals, but there are times when I don’t always put my goals front and center. This book talks about romantic relationships perhaps a little too much to fit exactly what I was looking for, but there are still some ideas in here to get more out of your professional/working relationships.

The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lev Grossman. You may remember me fawning over Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy, even though the TV show was pretty terrible. Alice’s Story is a graphic novel told from the perspective of Quentin Coldwater’s primary romantic interest, who is also a magician at Brakebills. The characters in the graphic novel were much more how I perceived them from the books rather than the television show, so it was nice to see a more accurate take. However, the graphic novel doesn’t really add much to the story that wasn’t already explored, so it was more just a quicker chance to revisit the story – with pictures!

Cancer Free with Food by Liana Werner Gray. Unfortunately, my family has been ravaged by cancer in recent years. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the times. Everyone’s life has been touched by cancer. But a recent diagnosis of yet another family member caused me to dive deep into some research to try to help. I tend to believe that doctors do the best they can with drugs, but the food we put in our bodies can be a daily medicine – or an instigator for disease. Not only did I find some good foods in here to suggest for my family member, but there are also some really good tasting recipes in here that I have started to make in my own kitchen. For example, the meatball recipe in this book is awesome.

What have you been reading?

6Feb 2022
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What I’ve Been Reading: Flip the Script

Flip the Script by Bruce Feldman and Ed Orgeron

Flip the Script by Bruce Feldman and Ed Orgeron is essentially an autobiographical piece about Ed Orgeron. Orgeron, of course, is the national championship-winning coach for the LSU Tigers. (Or, well, he used to be until he was relieved of his duties in 2021.) Orgeron previously coached in the NFL and was the head coach for Ole Miss and USC. Feldman previously wrote Meat Market about Ole Miss’s recruiting when Orgeron was in Oxford, and I would highly recommend reading that if you haven’t done so already. Anyway, Flip the Script starts off talking about Orgeron’s youth and playing career, but then the second half of the book discusses his experience at Ole Miss. He talks about some of his coaching decisions, personnel decisions, the recruitment of Joe Burrow, and his national championship year in 2019. I know there are questions about Orgeron’s overall head coaching acumen, but there’s no doubt he’s a good recruiter and defensive line coach. It’s a worthwhile read if you want to see how some things work behind the scenes at a big-time SEC program and in the coaching world.

The Closers by Michael Connelly is yet another Harry Bosch novel. After having retired from the LAPD a couple novels previously, Bosch returns to the department and works on Open-Unsolved cases (a.k.a. cold cases). This novel revolves around a 17-year-old murder from the year 1988, where DNA evidence is now in play to go back and try to catch the murderer of a high school girl.

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman. I’ve previously written about Grossman a few times. He wrote one of my favorite book series, The Magicians series. Again, I highly recommend that series if you haven’t read it. (The show isn’t nearly as good as the books.) Anyway, The Silver Arrow is somewhat of a children’s book – albeit a 249-page one – about a brother-sister duo named Tom and Kate who go on a train adventure. The train is named The Silver Arrow and it’s a magical, talking train that picks up magical, talking animals. Yes, that sounds very childish, but there are some serious themes and more mature-oriented jokes peppered throughout. Grossman – whose vocabulary is outstanding in his other books – cuts down on the intellectual talk to teach a lesson to younger readers. SPOILER ALERT: It essentially turns into a warning about taking care of the Earth and the animals contained therein, but it’s a unique way of getting there.

What have you been reading? Tell us about it in the comments.

11Dec 2021
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What I’ve Been Reading: The Poet

The Poet by Michael Connelly

I always love football season, but one thing I look forward to when it’s over is getting back to a little more reading. So here are a couple books I’ve finished recently (and one I’m reading now). Let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading.

The Poet by Michael Connelly. I just finished The Poet after skipping it a little bit earlier. I was trying to read the Harry Bosch books in order, but just before I read The Narrows, I saw that it was a follow-up to The Poet. Since Bosch wasn’t a character in it, I didn’t think it was necessary. Anyway, The Poet is about a reporter named Jack McEvoy whose brother was murdered by a serial killer. McEvoy goes on a nationwide search for the story, which ends up with him teaming up with the FBI in an attempt to find the killer. There’s no mention of Bosch anywhere, but he does end up in Hollywood at one point and a couple characters from the Bosch universe are mentioned. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how The Narrows ties in to the separate character arcs.

Dune by Frank Herbert. Some of you are going to be upset with me, but I was not a big fan of Dune. It took a long time to get into it. One of my issues with a lot of fantasy books is that authors often try to dump you into the middle of a universe about which you have no idea what the terms mean. What is Arrakis? Where is it situated in the universe? When is it supposed to have taken place? How did these people get there? How do they all speak the same language? What do all these individual words mean that Herbert seems to have created? I wanted to finish reading the book before the movie came out, but unfortunately, I just didn’t have time and missed being able to go see the movie in the theater.

I’m currently reading ‘Cane Mutiny by Bruce Feldman, which tells about the rise of Miami football. Feldman is a Miami alum who obviously has some ties to the school, and he talks mainly about the time from coach Howard Schnellenberger onward. I really like Feldman as a writer, but it’s kind of funny to me how awkward some of his writing is in this, which was his first book. He’s definitely improved as a writer since this book was written in 2004. (The title is a play on the movie The Caine Mutiny which came out in 1954.)