WHY I DIDN’T COMPLETE MY SUMMER READING LIST

 

imagesAt the beginning of summer I posted a blog detailing my reading goals for the season.   Now that the hours of daylight are dwindling and the leaves are starting to don their autumnal hues, I guess it’s time to see how I did.

Not that great, it turns out.  I had nine books, mostly thrillers, on my to-read list.  I got through three of them and have begun a fourth.  Those completed: Midnight in Europe (Alan Furst), Sand and Fire (Tom Young), and Wayfaring Stranger (James Lee Burke), all of them good.  I’ve posted reviews of each on Goodreads.

Now I’m flipping the pages—-and there are a lot of them, almost 800 on my Nook—-on Terry Hayes’ new thriller I Am Pilgrim.  A couple of acquaintances had raved about the novel, so I decided I’d better get to it.  I haven’t been disappointed.

So, only four books?  I know, what a slacker.  (As of early September, a friend of my wife’s had gotten through 173 this year.  And—-here comes the self-promotion bit—-unsolicited, she called me to say Supercell was one of the best.)

Okay, back to my summer reading.  While I got to only four of the nine titles on my list, I actually read eight books.  The other four were unplanned nonfiction.  Typically, nonfiction represents maybe ten percent of my reading, so I really turned things upside down the past few months.

Here’s what happened.  A friend had just finished reading Isaac’s Storm, about the 1900 Galveston Hurricane disaster, and said, “You gotta read this.”  He handed me a dog-eared copy.  The book has been out for over a decade, but I was never that interested in reading it.  But I did, and it turned out to be fascinating.  Not so much for the meteorology, but for the behind-the-scenes look at the personalities involved in the (failed) prediction of the great storm, the political in-fighting within the fledgling U. S. Weather Bureau, and our grossly misplaced mistrust of the Cuban weather service.

About the same time, a new interest ignited within me.  I knew instantly, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, I had the fodder for my next novel.  Nope, nothing to do with weather or climate, but a topic I stumbled across independently.  I wasted no time in purchasing three nonfiction books and a documentary on DVD dealing with plate tectonics, subduction zones and tsunamis.  The rest of the summer was spent on a self-imposed research assignment.

Exciting stuff, huh?  Well, I think it will be.  I thought the threat from Ebola was frightening enough (re Plague), but I came to the realization over past several weeks that something called the Cascadia subduction zone dwarfs it. 

Here’s the really scary part: none of it is fiction.

Anyhow, that why I didn’t complete my summer reading list.

 

Comments

  1. Molly Kelly says:

    Hello Mr. Bernard. I just happened to read Issacs storm last summer. Stumbled across it in a vendor store in Quartzsite, AZ. Its really amazing what you can find in this little town, especially during winter time, when hundreds of vendors come here. I couldn’t put it down. Very good book. I found a book i had read when i was around 8 years old here called “The Epic of Man”. There was a book i read about hurricane Katrina, about by a Syrian man who had moved to Louisiana. And had started his own business, and was doing quite well. He stayed at his house during the hurricane to help out, but the police came and picked him up and imprisoned him in some kind of makeshift jail made of basically cages, because he looked like a middle easterner. They abused him and a lot of other people they picked up. His wife couldn’t find him. A really sad, true story. Unfortunately i can’t remember the name of the book. 🙁

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