With Deep Sadness…

As I was reading in bed last night, I came across a death notice that took my breath away. So, it is with deep sadness that I must report that author Sue Grafton passed away due to complications from her fight with cancer. Ms. Grafton is the author of the best selling “Kinsey Millhone” Alphabet series: “A” Is For Alibi; “B” Is For Burglar; “C” Is For Corpse…her final book in the series is “Y” Is For Yesterday. According to her family, she never got to write the book for “Z”, perhaps the is the ultimate mystery she leaves behind.

Rest In Peace Sue Grafton, may your family find comfort in all the people you entertained with your books!

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Not your traditional resolutions.

New Years is the time when  people make promises to themselves that they inevitably break. I used to make the traditional ones, lose weight, be a better person, get in shape, etc. Well, I still need to lose weight, to me I am an awesome person (although I am sure there are some who would disagree), and I already have a shape…round. Yes, round is a shape, my kindergarten teacher told me so!

So, I decided to make a different kind of resolution. Reading Resolutions! Let’s face it, there are books we all mean to read, but never get around to because other books get in the way. Yet those books always nag at your mind. Well, for 2018, here are some of my reading resolutions.

Product DetailsMoby Dick by Herman Melville. Yes, THAT Moby Dick. The classic tale of Ahab’s quest for revenge against the great white whale has eluded me for years. Each year I say I am going to read it, I start it, then somewhere along the line I get…distracted/bored and move onto something else. This year, I plan to push on through…hopefully.

Product DetailsThe Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. This is another book that I start and get distracted with. I know the story, saw the movie, but want to read the book. I love the time period, but dang is it some difficult reading. Maybe it is me, but there were parts my brain just would not wrap around.

I also want to knock out the last five or six books in W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corps series. They are: Line of Fire, Close Combat, Behind the Lines, In Danger’s Path, Under Fire, and Retreat,Hell! I have enjoyed what I read in the first four books, and I am looking forward to the next ones.

Line of Fire (The Corps series Book 5)Close Combat (The Corps series Book 6)Behind the Lines (The Corps series Book 7)

In Danger's Path (The Corps series Book 8)Under Fire (The Corps series Book 9)Retreat, Hell! (The Corps series Book 10)

But wait, there’s more! More, you say? Yes, More! I also want to get into two sagas of the American West. One is Dusty Richards’ Byrnes Family Ranch and the other is Louis L’Amour’s Sacketts. I do not plan to read ALL of them, that is 29 books (Dusty Richards 12 and Louis L’Amours 17) but maybe the first four of each and maybe more.

Title: Texas Blood Feud (Byrnes Family Ranch Series #1), Author: Dusty RichardsTitle: Between Hell and Texas (Byrnes Family Ranch Series #2), Author: Dusty RichardsTitle: Chaparral Range War, Author: Dusty RichardsTitle: Blood on the Verde River (Byrnes Family Ranch Series #3), Author: Dusty Richards

Title: Sackett's Land, Author: Louis L'AmourTitle: To the Far Blue Mountains, Author: Louis L'AmourTitle: The Warrior's Path, Author: Louis L'AmourTitle: Jubal Sackett, Author: Louis L'Amour

So, yeah, it looks like a lot of reading ahead of me, but you must remember this is in addition to what I also read through out the year! Ol’ Ninetoes is going to be busy…

I will see you in the bookstores.

 

Come For The Art, Stay For The Story.

Let’s talk about graphic novels.

If I remember correctly, the first graphic novel was released by Marvel, The Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin. It was published in 1982 and retailed for $5.95. I may be wrong on this being the very first graphic novel, but it was the first for Marvel Publishing, so please do not hold me to it. After the initial success, others were released under some of Marvel’s more popular titles. Some people wondered why pay more money for a mere comic book, especially since regular comic books went for $.60-.75 an issue. The graphic novel is not a simple comic book. It is a self-contained story on deluxe paper and an oversized format.

Marvel Graphic Novel #1: The Death of Captain Marvel (Marvel Graphic Novel (1982)) by [Starlin, Jim]

One of the all-time best selling graphic novels is Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN. If you are new to the world of graphic novels, and skeptical of my stance that you will find excellent reading in one, WATCHMEN is a fantastic place to start. Yes, it was turned into a 3 hour long movie in 2009 (wow, was it eight years ago already? Time does indeed fly!) but again Ninetoes Rule of Reading #1 comes into play here…the book (or graphic novel in this case) is always better!

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Next, the big publishing houses discovered there is a market for collecting the issues of a story arc in a popular comic in one bound edition. (I feel as though they heard my frustration in missing issues and decided “Hey, let’s give Ninetoes  a break!”) I have to tell you, this is some good reading! But…but…but….Ninetoes, these are comic books! How can you say there is good reading in a comic book? My question is how can you not? Have you looked into comic books lately?

Let me state the obvious, comic books today are not like your father or grandfather’s comic books. They are no longer a simple story of good vs evil. Writers for comic books and graphic novels have taken the time to craft a story that is very engaging, addictive, and compelling to read and these stories will cross over many issues. If they are done in the standard comic book format, then you have to wait until the next issue to find out what happens next. When they are in a bound edition, you simply turn the page, and the excitement continues. Sure, some story lines go for more than one bound issue. Batman: Knightfall   covered three volumes and each volume was over six hundred pages! That is a lot of good reading there!

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In any event, do not get hung up on the fact that they are comic books. Do not let your friends talk down to you… ‘Ooooo look, he needs pictures in his books…’ Comics and graphic novels are more sophisticated than most people give them credit for! Go out, grab a copy, and find a comfortable spot for the adventure to begin!

I’ll see you in the bookstores!

Random Thoughts On My Reading Habit…

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I have been reading for the most part of my life. Ever since Ms. Devoy taught me on the “Dick and Jane” primers in the first grade, I have been hooked! So, let’s do some math here (a mathematical whiz, I am NOT). Okay…carry the three…multiply by four…add six because six is a good number…I have been reading for going on 48 years.

In the beginning, I was absorbed with Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien were my best friends. Oh, and there were more, so many more. I could not get enough of the space battles, The Three Laws of Robotics, Conan the Barbarian, wizards, elves, Hobbits, and so on and so forth.

Then. my grandfather (God rest his soul), turned me on to mysteries. It all started with watching Ellery Queen on Sunday nights with him. I sat there enthralled and he said the magic words “You know, there are books.” Oh my! I had to get to the library!!!!! And go to the library I did. I spent the day there reading out of one of the books, and checked out two more. I was on the hunt for more. I discovered Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, The Hardy Boys (I went through 53 of those books) and more!

I kept up a steady diet of Sci-fi/Fantasy/Mystery and discovered the joys of Horror by way of Stephen King! I hungered for the scare, and got to the point where I needed something more hardcore and discovered John Skipp and Craig Spector, the guys who brought on the “splatterpunk” movement.

History and westerns came next. Actually, I think it is safew to say that they were there all along. I have always had a love of history, even in grade/high school. Especially World War II history. Now, I fire all over the historical map, but I always go back to my first historical love. Gordon W. Prange, Stephen Ambrose, Cornelius Ryan, Michael and Jeff Shaara, Bernard Cornwell, etc.

Westerns came on the whim of a cover. I saw a man clinging to a canyon wall, and I had to see what got him up there, and how he got down! Boom! A love of westerns was born! Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, Matt Braun, Dusty Richards, Ralph Compton, Ralph Cotton, and the list goes on!

Then I made the jump to thrillers. I know, “Gee Ninetoes, what kind of ‘thrillers’?” Well, dear readers, all kinds. From political, to military, to spy, and everything in between! I think I have found what my reading mind has been craving! They are like being on a roller coaster without having to actually get on a roller coaster! James Patterson, Andrew Gross, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy. I can read them all the live long day!

I can honestly say I cannot wait to see what I discover next! My mind is like a sponge, it absorbs words and ideas like a sponge takes in water.

I’ll see you in the bookstore.

What I Am Looking Forward To Reading

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Oh, so many books, so little time. It is the lament of the reader. Personally, my “To Be Read” pile is ever growing and my bid for immortality. It seems that every time I turn around, there are new books coming out that trips my mind into the “GOTTA READ IT!” mode. Here are just a few of those books that have come out recently that have tripped my mind:

Grant

Grant by Ron Chernow comes in at a little over 1100 pages but the size does not deter me. I am a Chernow fan, since I read Washington: A Life, and I cannot wait to see waht he does with Ulysses S. Grant.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonadrd Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is next on the list. Let’s face it, Mr. Isaacson has made a career of looking into major innovators through out history; Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, so it is only natural that he focused his eye on Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sea of Shadows

I originally saw Sea of Shadows by Jeff Edwards billed for “Fans of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt For Red October” Interest piqued! I love military fiction. This one has me written all over it!

Kenobi: Star Wars

Yes, I am a Star Wars geek. Yes, I have had this book for  a while. Yes, it will be read. I cannot wait to see what Mr. Jackson has done with one of my heroes!

The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour

I am a Cold War kid, and love Cold War history. This is the first salvo (I will fact check later) in the Cold War, when the allies airlifted supplies over the border to East Berlin. I have heard good things about this book, and I cannot wait to see what it offers.

Hallowed Ground (The Deacon Book 1) by [Sparkman, Darrel]

Yes, I am getting back into westerns. Maybe I never left, but this is one I am looking forward to digging into! You may remember Mr. Sparkman from my post introducing him. I am sure I will become a quick fan of his!

I am sure there will be many more. This is me we are talking about. This is just a sampling of the great reads to come my way!

Ninetoes Book of the Week 12/24-31/2017

The Mustanger and the Lady

The Mustanger and the Lady is the Ninetoes book of the week! It was featured last week during my year end round up of the best I’ve read the past year for Westerns. If you are a fan of westerns, and have not yet read this book, get your hands on it! Hopefully, some caring, loving person in your life put it under the Christmas Tree for you!