Friday, December 31, 2021

Reading 2021

So on Easter we had a flood in East Timor. Hit our place, took out a bunch of my books, including my collection of the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker. Probably about 2/3 of them. So I decided to buy them back on Kindle and re-read them all. All 39 of them. And they're as good, if not better, than I remember. The first three in the series are good, but maybe not great. Though with the fourth -"Promised Land" - which won the Edgar Award, he really starts firing on all cylinders and is excellent. Probably doesn't hurt that's the one that introduces Hawk. The comparison and contrast between the two is a great appeal to the series. It doesn't hurt that my mind's eye always sees Avery Brooks. (Whereas, oddly, I don't see Robert Urich as Spenser. Though he was good in the series. I always pictured Spenser looking like the author, to be honest.) 

That being said, there are also 39 of Parker's novels, 40 if you count the Young Spenser book. Which took about 5 months to get through, putting on hold a bunch else I'd planned on reading this year. Alack and alas and all that kind of thing. But worth it.

There's something in those books. Good pulp-y detective fiction, to be sure, but a lot more. Ruminations on life, philosophy, relationships, friendships, autonomy, purpose, even the care and feeding of pets. Things I didn't recall from the first reads, years ago, things I'm likely more attuned to now as I get older. The follow up novels after Parker's death, over a decade ago at this point, are well crafted by Ace Atkins. But still, there's something in the original works that defy capture. And it always strikes me as, if not appropriate, but nevertheless meaningful that Parker was found dead at his desk, ready to set forth more stories.

So I re-read the Spenser Novels 1-39, his one Young Spenser book plus the Xmas novel finished by his literary agent.  And then I re-read the nine works by Atkins. The tenth is due in January, so I'm well prepared.

Which didn't leave me a great deal of time elsewhere, but here's the remainder:

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams

Extreme Fitness: How to Train Like an Action Hero by Dolph Lundgren

75 Hard: A Tactical Guide to Winning the War with Yourself by Andy Frisella

The Furious Method: Transform Your Mind, Body & Goals by Tyson Fury

Sly Moves: My Proven Program to Lose Weight, Build Strength, Gain Will Power and Live Your Dream by Sylvester Stallone

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod

Prodigal Son: An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz 

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Meyer

The Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins 

The Eye of Revelation: The Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation by Peter Kelder and J. W. Watt

Jesse Stone Novels 1-9 (Night Passage, Trouble in Paradise, Death in Paradise, Stone Cold, Sea Change, High Profile, Stranger in Paradise, Night and Day, Split Image)  by Robert B. Parker 

Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery: Six Words that Changed the Author's Life Can Ensure Success to Anyone Who Uses Them by Earl Nightingale 

The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey

King Bullet by Richard Kadrey

The Chaos Kind by Barry Eisler

Hail Mary by Andy Weir

A Dud at 70... a Stud at 80! and how to do it by Noel Johnson 

Staying Supple: The Bountiful Pleasures of Stretching by John Jerome

Ancient Secrets of the Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder

The Eye of Revelation 1939 & 1946 Editions Combined: The True Five Tibetan Rites by Peter Kelder and Carolinda Witt 

The Five Tibetan Rites: Ancient Anti-Aging Secrets of the Five Tibetan Rites by Carolinda Witt, Peter Kelder

Training With Weights by Robert B. Parker and John R. Marsh


The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons

Wolverine: Not Dead Yet by Warren Ellis & Leinil Yu

Shazam and The Seven Magic Lands by Geoff Johns, Dale Eaglesham, Marco Santucci

Absolute Planetary V2 by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday

The Middleman - The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse  by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Armando M Zanker, Les McClaine 

Department of Truth, Vol 1: The End Of The World Book by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds

Superman: American Alien by Max Landis, Francis Manapul, Jock, Jae Lee, Joelle Jones, Tommy Lee Edwards, Matthew Clark, Nick Dragotta, Jonathan Case 

Luthor by Bryan Azzarello and Lee Bermejo

Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo 

Batman, Vol. 4: Zero Year - Secret City by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year - Dark City by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo 

Batman: Earth One - Volumes 1, 2 & 3 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank 

The Boys: Dear Becky by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun

Superman & Batman Generations Omnibus by John Byrne

The Art of War: A Graphic Novel by Kelly Roman and Michael DeWeese

The Batman's Grave by Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch and Kevin Nowlan

BRZRKR Vol. 1 by Matt Kindt, Keanu Reeves, Ron Garney

Hagakure: The Code of the Samurai (The Manga Edition) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Sean Michael Wilson and Chie Kutsuwada

Fantastic Four 1234 by Grant Morrison & Jae Lee

Thursday, May 06, 2021

"Age 14 at midnight I hear voices from the kitchen..."

"I let my feet follow the sound as I let my ears listen
I walk upstairs and at the kitchen table I can see
That God is sitting with the Devil, sharing drinks and old stories
The floorboard creaks
A red embarrassment floods all throughout God's face
He swears that it's not what it looks like
Then he swears he can explain
The Devil speaks,
"Your God and I put all our
Differences to rest Now man's actions are his own
But man will blame us nonetheless"
The Devil stands
He grabs his keys and straightens out a rusted crown
He tells me, "Hell is frozen over
Heaven burned down to the ground
And you have only got one life
So do with it what you would like
We solemnly apologize but we won't be there when you die"
And I stand cold and alone
In a body that won't move
Watching the eyes of these gods that I once knew
One pair looks down in a half-hearted lie while
The other looks straight into mine with a whole truth
Lacking the fear I've been told that God deserves
I say, "What good is a prayer that goes unheard"
He says, "What hope could they find in a book
If the book doesn't sell and the pages stay unturned"
And with a wink, the Devil turns and exits the back door
And God is standing there in silence with his eyes glued to the floor
But then he speaks
"I am no savior but I give them what they need
And there has never been a dreamer who prefers reality
The war for truth is raging on but it's not one you have to fight
And if it is the truth you want, then it is hope you'll sacrifice
It's yours to choose
And you can choose
This is not the way I am, this is just how I was raised
So let me make up my own mind, let me map out my own way
And to the parents of the kids with tongues down in their throats
Because of tears that you will cry
If they don't stick to what they know
I'm sure you're giving it your best
And I am sure it takes a toll
But whether God given or not
Our lives are not to be controlled
Just let us choose"