A Love Of Reading

Even for a grumpy, retired old dude like me, with nothing much to do, COVID-infested infected 2020 provided me with a little extra time to read ‘em and reap.  I thought that I was doing well, but….  The son swore off TV some years ago, and spends all his spare time reading – something.  He still reads the occasional dead-tree book, but gets most of his from Kindle Unlimited.  Kindle keeps track of how many books he has read – and reread.  In 2019, he went through 152.  During Apocalypse 2020, his list numbered 213.  I recently went to bed.  By the time I arose, eight hours later, he’d (re)read 3 books.
I only got these 37.

Hawking dumbed down ‘A Brief History of Time’ enough that I understood a lot of it. Mlodinow further simplified the concepts, in this version.

Book number 6 of The Expanse series. I am currently watching my way through series number five, on Amazon Prime

Interstellar Sci-Fi, with magic. Thanx to the son for introducing me to this series.

A time-filling men’s adventure book

A little bit of spaceships and ray-guns Sci-Fi

Alternate-Earth, with magic. Second book, Red Magic will be in this year’s list.

More Action/Adventure

A Sci-Fi book about time travel. One of several read last year.

A stand-alone book from these author’s ‘Magic” series, explaining some plot focus changes, and allowing for the beginning of a new series.

A murder mystery from fellow blogger K J Ivany. A post about this book will soon follow.

The culmination of the ‘Magic’ series. Swords, vampires, shapeshifter were-animals, and various monsters. It’s been fun.

Book #2, mate to last year’s ‘Saints.’

Book number five of The Expanse Series – the one I’m currently streaming. Thanx BrainRants – great reading, and watching.

Bourne Identity type of men’s action/adventure

Another in The Innkeeper, ‘Sweep’ series. This husband/wife writing team are almost as prolific as Isaac Asimov, with four series and several singletons.

More mindless men’s adventure. I am highly qualified.

Another Jack Reacher book. Another in the series has just been released for this year’s reading. As Clive Cussler passed his series on to his son, so has Lee Child passed his on to his son.

Tom Clancy’s heirs just passed the writing of the Jack Ryan series on to a committee of commercial writers.

Same series – different author

An invading alien machine makes the gods of Greece, Egypt and Rome real for those trapped inside a reality bubble.

If one was fun – and more importantly – sold, let’s trap another group with the Norse gods.

One of several ‘Classic’ Sci-Fi books that I reread. A book review will soon follow.

I realized that I had not read this book in the 1960s, so I bought it from Kindle for $1.99.

For the same two bucks, Star Rangers (above), came attached to this book, which I had read in the mid-’60s, titled ‘The Last Planet.’ As a matched pair, this second novel now makes more sense.

Eight millennia-old immortals among us, and how they have dealt with change. Another upcoming book review will tell you how.

Historical/urban fiction to pass the time

More Sci-Fi rereading. I originally read this, titled as ‘The Junkyard Planet.’ How to pull a failed world up by its financial bootstraps.

More interesting men’s action/adventure to pass the time. The first of another series which I believe I have to thank River Girl for introducing me to. The rest will help keep me busy in 2021.

Another reread from the ’60s. Urban fiction which barely qualifies as Sci-Fi because a man finds a way to get rich through industrial espionage, by inventing a device which allows him to move about, unseen and unstopped, while time stands still for everyone else.

More historical/urban fiction. They contain a pleasant amount of fascinating trivia.

Not much blood and guts, but lots of brains and gunplay. Solid story arc and character development.

Were the ten plagues of Egypt actually real?? Is the entire biome of the Earth a semi-sentient, interlocked, Gaia-type entity? Dunno! But it makes good reading.

Another ghost-writer, for Clive Cussler, presents a period-piece action/adventure whose hero is an early 20th century detective, reminiscent of the real Alan Pinkerton.

Time travel without leaving home. Bits and pieces of geography and time periods are inexplicably swirled together. Can our hero figure out how to put it all back where/when it belongs?

Centuries of life through organ transplants for planetary monarchs, but not for the their subjects. A topic brought up in this ’60s novel. The author also wrote the 1776/1976 American Bicentennial Saga series. If I read this book soon after its release, I don’t remember it. It was a pleasant discovery in a storage box.

At least one book to reinforce my lack of belief in the supernatural/religion. A disappointing little 156-page novelette with several passages repeated in different chapters.  Trying to justify his position through  philosophy and logic – and failing miserably.  As dry and tasteless as Muffets.

COVID19 should have given most of you some extra time this past year to read.  Aside from my magnificent prose, did you encounter anything morally or intellectually uplifting?

Flash Fiction #234

Negotiation

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

VROOM! VROOM!

I’m not a very good bargainer, but I really wanted that second-hand Toyota Supra!  Like cars from my youth – only better.  Something I could feel as I piloted it, not computer-ridden, and self-driving.

Not midlife-crisis-red, it had a four-speed stick-shift, and was painted Electric BlueTravis McGee would approve.*

He was asking $18,000.

I offered $12,000 – book-value.

Standard transmission is rarer – $17,000

I’m stealing from my son’s inheritance – $13,000

It’s got four brand-new tires – $16,000

My credit card is melting. – $14,000

My wife is expecting our first. – $15,000!

Radar-detectors are illegal.  I must be careful.

***

* Author John D. MacDonald invented a Miami-based character named Travis McGee. To support himself, he specialized in finding and returning items that were not precisely ‘legally’ lost, because they may not have been exactly legally owned in the first place – all for a 50% cut.  In novels written between 1964 and 1984, he drove a 1939 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which someone had Frankensteined into a pickup truck, and painted Electric Blue.

***

Join the Friday Fictioneers.  Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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Flash Fiction #233

ted-s

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

LESS IS MORE

In some ways, under-population is the bane of the developed world.  When I was a child, I thought that inheriting this house would be marvelous.  Now that it’s happened, I own a white elephant.

When it was built, 150 years ago, the normal 8-10-12 children were needed to maintain it.  Older sons mended the shingles. Middle teens cut the grass and pruned the trees.  Daughters tended flowers and vegetables.  Young Tom Sawyer-types whitewashed the fence.

Medicine improved, and families shrunk.  Now, I don’t have the time, energy or income to keep it presentable.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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Flash Fiction #142

Walk The Walk

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

WALK THE WALK

Bobby liked his father as a child. He loved his Dad, as a young boy could.  He spent a lot of time with him over the years – rather, his Dad spent a lot of time with him.

He never idolized his Dad, never thought of him like Ward Cleaver, or Father Knows Best. He was just always there, an ordinary, work-a-day kind of guy.

Now that he was grown, and had a wife and children of his own, he saw the many things, great and small, that his father had quietly, competently done.

He had some big shoes to fill.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #30

cropped-bugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB

The lawyer arrives at the Pearly Gates for judgement, confused.

“I’m not supposed to be here!  I’m only 37.”

St. Peter says, “No, we checked your billed hours, and apparently you’re 104”

***

….and there will be a $27 charge for photocopies, and an $8 charge for consumed office supplies, and a $100 registration fee for the use of our legal library….

“I had hoped that selling the little house that your mother left us would pretty much pay off our debts.  Will there be anything left when they’re done?  This law firm is sucking the life out of us.”

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday picture as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Admittedly, it’s not all completely original work, but there was a lot of appreciation the last time I slagged lawyers, so I thought I’d throw in another laugh or two.  We all need a laugh or two where lawyers are involved   😀

Genetic Inheritance

A man in a bar sees a friend at a table,
drinking by himself. Approaching the
friend he comments, “You look terrible.
What’s the problem?” “My mother died in
June,” he said, “and left me $10,000.”
“Gee, that’s tough,” he replied. “Then
in July,” the friend continued, “my
father died, leaving me $50,000.”
“Wow.Two parents gone in two months. No
wonder you’re depressed.” “And last
month my aunt died, and left me $15,000.”
“Three close family members lost in three
months?  How sad.”

“Then this month,” continued the friend, “nothing!”

****

A circus owner walks into a bar to see everyone
crowded around a table watching a little show. On
the table was an upside down pot and a duck tap-
dancing on top of it.  He was so impressed
that he offered to buy the duck from its owner.
After some wheelin’ and dealin’ they settled for
$10,000 for the duck and the pot.

Three days later the circus owner runs back to
the bar in anger, “Your duck is a rip-off! I put
him on the pot before a whole audience and he
didn’t dance a single step!”

“So?” asked the duck’s former owner, “did you
remember to light the candle under the pot?”

****

A group of blondes walk into a bar screaming “51
days.”  They order a round of drinks still
screaming, “51 days.”  The bartender wants to know
what the 51 days is all about but just can’t ask.

A while later, after many drinks the blondes are
still screaming, “51 days,” so the bartender decides
he has to ask.  As he delivers the next round to
the women he says “Ladies I have to know what’s
the 51 days about?”

The blondes replied “We had a jigsaw puzzle and on the
box it said 2-5 years and we did it in 51 days”

****

The first half of our lives is ruined by our
parents, and the second half by our children.

Clarence Darrow

****

This panda walks into a bar. He sits down at a
table. A waiter comes, and the panda orders his
food, and eats it. Then, he pulls out a gun and
blows the brains out of the waiter. When he gets
up and is about to leave, the bartender
yells, “Hey, you just shot my waiter! Where do
you think you’re going?” And the panda says, “I’m
a panda! Look it up!”

So the bartender looks up “panda” in the dictionary.
It reads: “Fur-bearing mammal, lives in Australia.
EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES.”

****

We are born naked, wet and hungry.
Then things get worse.

****

There is a blond driving through the country. She
has just dyed her hair brown because she is sick
of being made fun of. She is really hungry. She
stops at a farmer’s house and says “Hi! If I can
guess how many sheep you have, can I have one?”
Farmer says OK. She quickly counts them and says”91!”

The farmer looks around puzzledly and says
“Ok. Take one.” When the Blond is walking back to
her car the farmer asks “If I can guess your
natural hair color, can I have my dog back?”

 

Flash Fiction #15

antique-desk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inheritance

He went to visit Grandpa again.  As he had for almost a year, he’d ply him with beers, and impress him with how great a guy he was.  Surely he wouldn’t last much longer.

“Come in Rob.  I just finished writing up my will.  I’ll get us some Coors.”

Quick, while he’s out, read it.

“The house is on reverse mortgage.  The bank gets it when I’m gone.  Being of sound mind, I spent it all.  To my grandson Robert:  Stop waiting for it to fall in your lap.  Go get a job.”

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her Wednesday picture as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.