Scott D Parker
[Sigh] it's Labor Day weekend, and, by anyone's definition, the summer is officially over. This past half decade or so, summer has become my favorite time of the year. Yes I love December not just for the Christmas season but it's also my birthday month, but these three sun–drenched summer months have become my nirvana.
As the summer began, I wrote a post about the books music and TV that I planned to enjoy. This is my unofficial recap of what I consumed.
The Chase by Clive Cussler––I finished this first Isaac Bell historical novel and thoroughly enjoyed it. If another certain adventurer hadn't pushed his way into my reading habits (see below), I would've read more about Mr. Bell. Rest assured: I will.
Redshirts by John Scalzi––I read this book in July and thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to review it in depth this coming Wednesday but you need only know two things to explain why I loved this book: I laughed aloud more than once and I cried more than once. Come to think of it, nothing more needs to be said [but, of course, you know I will].
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini––Pretty decent book, picaresque in its own way. Definitely salved the wounds after reading on stranger tides.
The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt––Soon after finishing the Cussler book, I was scanning the books on my Nook. Hiding a few pages away amid all the samples was the 3rd book in the series, Hunt at World's End. Seeing as how I was still in an adventure-novel mood, I decided to pick up where I left off and finish the novel. Then I finished the 4th book. Then the 5th. and then the 6th. And yes, I still wanted more. But there isn't any more, but, perhaps, there will be in the future. Fantastic modern adventure series featuring a hero that, while he is larger-than-life, is still human enough to get bruised and beaten.
The Derek Storm novel by “Richard Castle”––This ebook novel was actually published as three separate novellas. They were released every couple months starting back in the spring. It is good, solid entertaining reading that doesn't require much brainpower other than to fly through a pretty fine story. Having the novel broken out into 3 novellas, however, proved to be a cool reading experience. If you are like me and read multiple things, having each novella be around 84 pages means that you can finish one of them and then slide to another book if you felt like it without the looming shadow that I still wasn't finished with the tale. In addition, the first novella had to really deliver the goods story-wise to ensure the reader bought the other two. I have to admit, I really liked the presentation.
Plain speaking: an Oral biography of Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller––if you go back and read my post from early June, I was planning––and still will––on reading the latest biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro. On my recent vacation, however, I brought along Miller's book. Reading the transcripts of Miller's interview with the former president really brought Truman to life, his wit, his wisdom, and his unique way of talking. His honesty rang through. Granted, he was a past president, but there's still a part of me that wishes that more politicians would talk like this. What made a vacation even sweeter was that I found Miller's oral biography of Lyndon Johnson. How's that for serendipity?
The Dark Knight Rises––Saw it. Loved it. A fitting and wonderful cap to Christopher Nolan's trilogy. I've already written about it, and you can read it here.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3––My boy loves these books and movies so, naturally, we went to see this movie opening weekend. While the first 2 movies focused on the main character's relationships with his best friend and his brother, this 3rd film focused on the relationship between him and his father. Needless to say, as a dad, I really enjoyed it. Simple entertainment yes, but still quite fun.
Read a lot, mostly Batman. I'm really digging my vintage titles.
On the Batman front, the thing that we surprised me this summer was the discovery of Kevin Smith's podcast devoted completely to the subject of Batman. It is called Fatman on Batman and I've written about it here. To date, there are only 11 episodes, but I have listened to all of them more than once. I love them. It's so great to hear some one else and his guests take this subject seriously, even when they're having fun. A lot of emotional investment involved. If you love Batman, and don't mind a lot of profanity, I cannot recommend these podcast highly enough.
“Hell or Hallelujah” by KISS––This is pure modern, yet classic rock. They're not trying to reinvent the wheel, but these guys make the wheels spin oh so fine. Love this classic-sounding tune that would probably have found it's way onto 1976's Rock and Roll Over, and can't wait for the new record in October.
“Home” by Philip Phillips––On a completely different front, this lead single from the American Idol winner is solid. Full of emotional depth with the rolling the melodic line that you can leave you both tapping your toes and channeling Mumford and Sons. That NBC used this chart for the Olympics was even better.
Other than random movies or television episodes, my summer's TV watching can be boiled down to one word: Longmire. I've written about it in more depth in a previous post. The television program has done that which its author, Craig Johnson, probably hoped: it's led me to the books. Nine or so months until the next season, 9 or so books that I've never read, perfect.
The Writing Project
While I did not finish (yet!) what I wanted when I started in early June, I am making good progress, and sometimes, that makes all the difference.
So, how was y'all's summer? Had a good time? What are you looking forward to this fall?
Frankly, I did dick this summer. Read quite a bit, watched a LOT of baseball. That was the plan. Things have been a zoo at work, the most recent novel project was abandoned (there's a good story there, it just wasn't the one I was writing), and I enjoy the warm weather too much to self-stress. Now Labor Day is here, and Tuesday I'll start to pull together the notes I have for the next project into something like a story i can write. It's dark a lot in winter, and there may not be hockey. I might as well write my ass off.
You're one busy son-of-a-gun, Scott.
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