Rants and Raves

Best Books (That I Read) of 22?

I was taking a look at my list of books that I read in 2022 on Goodreads. I think the two that I enjoyed most were Breath by James Nestor and Sunset Swing by Ray Celestin.

Do you have a fave or two from last year?

 

Sunset SwingSunset Swing by Ray Celestin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew I’d like this only a few pages in due to the author’s writing style. After that I just kept my hopes up that I’d stay engaged. I didn’t know it was the 4th of a series though- it was fine as a standalone novel, but now I want to get the author’s other works.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost ArtBreath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very interesting look at how we breath and how that’s changed over time. One of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. I even try to incorporate some of the ideas in my day-to-day life during sports and meditation.

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Quick Links – Dec 2022

A post about from a writer who wears a smartwatch on one wrist and a traditional watch on the other. It’s tempting me to get a smartwatch. I keep thinking about getting an Apple Watch or a Whoop device.

Kareem’s blog and newsletter– if you’re not a subscriber, you should be. His blog makes me want to work at becoming a better writer.

NYT’s Best Books of 2022 (And the Staff Picks for 2022)

Goodreads.com Best Books of 2022 (Based on User Choice)

Troubled Blood – big and entertaining

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I saw it on a list of the CWA Ian Fleming Award candidates (along with the Robatham author I had read recently‚Ķ). I went in blind not knowing anything about the characters or even that the author’s name was a pseudonym – although I found that part out pretty quickly after adding it to Goodreads. But I was trying to avoid spoilers so I tried to avoid seeing anything about the story online.

I usually don’t start at #5 of a series of previously established characters- but that didn’t matter here. Good character depth and really well written.

I was a bit impatient in the middle – it’s a long book – but that’s because a lot of mysteries I read are pulp and I was thinking that this case would be solved quickly. I also read this as an e-book that’s why I wasn’t grasping that this would be that a long tale. But it was worth sticking out.


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Alone : The Classic Polar Adventure – *****

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure by Richard Evelyn Byrd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A relatively quick read and very interesting even though I was worried I wouldn’t like the book’s story (it was a gift). The afterword was a welcome addition which helps provide some historical context and insight after the tale had ended.

I think it was interesting timing that I read this given what is going on in the world right now with Covid-19. In particular, this account of the author being alone in the Antarctic had a few passages that seemed very relevant to today.

eg: being solo and trapped inside and keeping to a schedule -the author was to be taking weather readings at regular times and had to maintain his hut/base- extreme WFH? Even Scott Kelly (astronaut) wrote about this recently in the NY Times.

Another example was a passage about a previous expedition with a healthy crew in isolation, but one day they opened a crate of old clothes and all of them got sick.


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Shadow Divers – ****

Shadow Divers

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read this on the recommendation of a friend who dives. This is a really intense book that explains the perils of deep diving. Mostly the story about the discovery of a U Boat and the men who explored it, but a good overview of this type of diving and about the teams’ work above water too. It made me feel claustrophobic when describing the insides of wrecks.



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Left of Boom – **

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Certain parts were interesting. Overall it’s predictable. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone unless they’re really interested in the plight of adventure junkies who return to sedate lives and try to adjust.

The book is also really uneven. It could have used more editing. As other commenters on Goodreads have posted, the “redacted” sections are a nuisance. They’re cute at first an then just get more and more annoying.



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