Howdy from lovely South Beach, Miami, Florida, y’all! Ahem. Actually, I’ve been back home in Tennessee for over a week, but y’all know my diligent ass had to get caught up at work before I could get back to bloggin’.
That pic there represents the only moment of a 3-day, 3-night conference trip that I had to visit the beach. It came only after we were dismissed on the final day of the conference and just a few short hours before our flight home. Miami was nice. The weather was perfect. And I sat in an air conditioned hotel for almost the whole time listening to other professionals in my field. I’m grateful I got to get my feet wet, but damn, that water was cold!
I know y’all are just dyin’ to hear what I’ve been reading and what I think about what I’ve been reading, so I’ll get to it.
I already posted these reviews on Goodreads. If y’all’re interested in reading any of the synopses, just click the linked titles below. And if you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear what you think in my Comments section. You know, way down yonder at the bottom.
The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick, audiobook read by Nick Podehl. I rated it 1 of 5 stars, “did not like it”, on Goodreads and shelved it there as fantasy, fiction, novella, & sci-fi.
I read quite a few Philip K. Dick stories and novels in my teens and liked them okay, but never as much as I liked Heinlein, Asimov, & Clarke. For the most part, I think the movies based on Dick’s works are much better than their literary sources.
I may’ve really liked The Cosmic Puppets as a teenager if I’d read it back then because it’s pretty juvenile. But dadgummit, I had a hard time convincing myself to finish this one. There were a couple of chapters that had me thinking it was right on the verge of turning into a good story, but nope! The narrative doesn’t hold up under the weight of its inconsistencies, unanswered questions, and abandoned plot elements. To make matters worse, narrator Nick Podehl has a voice like a kazoo and read the story as if it were the script of a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon.
Or maybe I’m becoming more cranky as I age? Nahh…
Understanding Nonverbal Communication (The Great Courses series), audiobook read by Professor Mark G. Frank. I rated it 2 of 5 stars, “it was ok”, on Goodreads and shelved it there as educational.
Professor Frank is an engaging narrator, and this course is a decent introduction to the basics of nonverbal communication in all its forms, but I was disappointed in how little time was devoted to microexpressions and using observation of them to detect deception. I guess maybe that’s a whole separate, more detailed course probably best delivered in an actual classroom setting with hands-on training. This was decent for what it is, but it’s not quite what I was looking for.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I rated it 3 of 5 stars, “liked it”, on Goodreads and shelved it there as fiction, historical fiction, memoir, military, and warfare.
The Things They Carried is a solid collection of moving stories about what it was like to serve as an American combatant in Viet Nam. Y’all’ll probably think I’m nuts for shelving it as both fiction/historical fiction and memoir, but hey, it kinda is.
O’Brien narrates the events of these stories with such searingly painful honesty that I can’t help but read them as anything other than barely fictionalized events. He may’ve changed the names, but he damn sure didn’t change much else.
I was given The Things They Carried as a Christmas gift. It’s not a book I would’ve bought myself, but it’s definitely a keeper.
So what’ve y’all been readin’ lately, and what do you think about your reading choices? Have you read any of the above? What’re your thoughts about ’em? I’d love to hear from you.
‘Til next time, cheers!