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michaelcrane

Michael's Book Babble

I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.

 

Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!

Currently reading

Hitch-22: A Memoir
Christopher Hitchens
Progress: 90/1054 minutes
Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories
Craig Johnson
Progress: 105/184 pages

Wonderful and Exceptional

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology was exactly what I needed. The real world has been bumming me out lately, so this was the perfect escape that I needed.

 

As I mentioned in my previous update, I knew very little about the myths of Odin, Thor, Loki, etc. The little bit that I did know comes from the comics, and just recently seeing some of the Marvel superhero movies.

 

Knowing that this has Gaiman’s fingerprints all over it, I couldn’t resist. I figured this would be a great way to introduce me to their world. And I was right. The tales in this book feel like a whole novel when you read them all in order, yet some in here are so entertaining and well done that they can stand on their own. He gives you a little background on the main players, setting, and so on at the very beginning of the book without hammering you over the head (see what I did there? eh? eh?) with endless amount of details to slow it all down. He gives you enough to get the feel of it all.

 

Some of my favorite tales in here were “The Treasures of the Gods,” “The Master Builder,” “Freya’s Unusual Wedding,” “Thor’s Journey to the Land of the Giants,” and “Hymir and Thor’s Fishing Expedition.” They’re all good, but those are my favorites. (Try reading/listening to "Freya's Unusual Wedding" without ever cracking a smile or laughing...)

 

If you listen to audiobooks, then I highly recommend getting it for this. Neil Gaiman once again delivers a flawless performance. If you’ve listened to his readings before, then you know you’re in for a treat.

 

These stories are filled with excitement and humor. And they can also get rather dark. I loved this journey that Gaiman takes you on. The only real bummer was finishing it so quickly. I never wanted it to end.

 

I know it’s early, but right now Norse Mythology is my favorite book of 2017. Even if I do read something else that takes its place, it’ll remain on my list of favorite reads of the year. A winner in every way.

 

5 stars

Reading progress update: I've read 76%.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I am loving this. Such a perfect escape with all of the crap that's going on lately in the world. I admit that the very little I know of Thor, Loki, Odin, etc. comes from Marvel comics and movies. In fact, I just started catching up on some of the superhero movies that I've been putting off for a while now. That makes this even more enjoyable, as I can actually picture those actors in the roles while I read/listen to this.

 

Neil Gaiman reads this flawlessly. I highly recommend the audiobook.

 

I'm so bummed that it's almost over. I don't want it to end. I don't want it to ever end. I know it's early, but this is definitely one of my favorite books of 2017.

Random Wine Babble 3/3/17

The world is a scary place these days.

 

But I have wine. So that makes it a little less scary.

 

Or I'm just drunk.

 

Fine by me! Whatever makes the world less scary is A-OKAY in my book. :P

Reading progress update: I've listened to 90 out of 1054 minutes.

Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens

Decided to dive right into this after enjoying god Is Not Great. Fascinating so far.

 

In fact, I think his reading of this is far better than the previous book. Since this is a more personal piece, he takes his time. He doesn't read nearly as quick, avoiding that "rushed" tone. I really wished god Is Not Great was read in the same manner since I'm sure that I missed a bunch of stuff.

 

Anyway, I'm enjoying Hitch-22 right now. I think that was my point. Did I have a point? What are points? Who are you and why are you eyeing my wine collection?!?!

Engaging. Thought provoking.

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything - Christopher Hitchens

I'll be honest, there's not a whole lot I can add to this. And I'm afraid if I go into too much of a lengthy review on this, it might upset people. That is not at all my intent.

 

Full disclosure: I'm not very religious. Wasn't brought up with religious beliefs. I am not anti-religious by any stretch of the imagination. My feeling has always been this: If it works for you and you're not trying to force-feed your beliefs on others or using your beliefs as an excuse to cause harm to others, whether physically or mentally, groovy.

 

That being said, I really enjoyed god Is Not Great by Hitchens. I can imagine how this book would upset people. The title alone should be a pretty good indicator as if this should be something to add to your TBR pile, or dismiss it outright.

 

All I can tell you is that I enjoyed the book. And I also enjoyed listening to Hitchens read it. He reads very fast, and at times this can prove frustrating as you might end up missing a few things. A few times I found myself drifting, but for the most part I looked forward to it and regret that I finished it so quickly.

 

I cannot tell you if this is something you should read. That's always been my stance. Whether I'm reviewing fiction or not, something that's controversial or not. All I can tell you is my honest experience with the book. I really enjoyed it.

 

4 stars

Random Babble 2/21/17

The dogs are barking outside.

They've come for my wine, I know it.

NOT GOING TO FUCKING HAPPEN!!!

 

(this update might've been fueled by wine...)

Let's just say I can't post that I'm reading this on my personal FB page... :P

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything - Christopher Hitchens

I've been wanting to say that I started the audiobook for this a few days ago, but alas. I have a lot of friends and family who'd give my status the "angry face" emotion if I were to post this on Facebook. However, for whatever reason I feel okay to post this here!

 

I am really enjoying this audiobook. The man could ramble when he wanted to, and I admit there are times where I feel myself drift a little, but for the most part I am loving this.

 

I understand, this is controversial. That's why I'm keeping this update very brief.

 

But I wanted to say I was reading/listening to it. I needed to tell somebody.

 

There. I feel loads better now. :D

 

A huge weight has been lifted...

Random Babble 2/17/17

Funny thing. I HATE getting political. I rarely do on my Facebook page. Every now and then, I have to speak up. But for the most part, I keep it light.

 

My Twitter feed, however? Holy HELL! The difference is night and day. I'm re-tweeting like a mad man.

 

Why is that?

 

Perhaps because I follow a lot of people I love and admire who can explain WTF is going on better than I ever could.

 

Also, I have very few followers on Twitter. Most people who follow me are other authors who are hoping for a follow-back (and when I don't, they usually unfollow me).

 

Maybe that's why. :)

 

Anyways, not getting political here. I swear! Just a funny observation.

 

Happy Friday!

Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 184 pages.

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories - Craig Johnson

This is my first time reading Craig Johnson, and this is my introduction to his Longmire series. I have to say this is a great start! A great intro.

 

Of course, I picked it up first because it's a short story collection. And we all remember how much I LOOOOOOOVE short story collections! :D

 

I've enjoyed every single story in it so far. Some are funny. Some have action. Others are slower, but still great.

 

A quick read, too. I'm getting through this pretty fast. Not that I'm complaining!

 

I'm definitely going to check out the other books in the series.

Feels great to be back! I need to escape in fiction again...

I'm so glad that this place seems like it's working like it did in the old days. I was so worried that things were only going to continue to go downhill. Extremely happy that this wasn't the case.

 

As I said in my earlier entry, it was hard for me to get on here. It was hard for me to get on here to begin with because at work this site is blocked (along with Facebook, Twitter, etc.). I used to do most of my updates and whatnot during my lunch breaks. So when that happened, I could only do it once I got home.

 

And then there was a point where it seemed like the site's future was uncertain. The last few times I tried to log in last year, I couldn't get it to work. Got to a point where I threw up my hands and gave up. (I wasn't doing much reading anyway)

 

But now it feels good to be back. And boy, do I ever need this place. More than ever.

 

I can't stay on Facebook for long periods of time these days. Or Twitter. I won't go into it, but I'm sure you can probably figure out why that is...

 

Feels great to have a place where I can babble about books, writing, etc. I really want to get back into the habit of checking in here.

 

Was there a point to this entry? I don't know. I'll be honest... I needed to beef up my word count for the day!!

No, no... (well, that kind of was the reason) But seriously, it feels great to be back. It feels great to know this place still exists.

 

Now more than ever, I need this place. I need the escape.

BUSTER!!!

I was told I should give you guys a Buster update. Seems only fair. Least I can do.

 

Buster is Buster.

 

 

Doing what he does best. Which is being Buster.

 

 

Yep. Buster, Buster, Buster.

 

 

I don't know why he always looks emo in pictures I take of him. I swear he smiles! I swear he does! :D

But he's doing great!

 

 

Um... Hello! (I think I have some 'splainin' to do...)

I'm afraid to even look to see when's the last time I've been here. Months? Could it be months? Probably.

 

I apologize. I don't like being quiet like that! I've been extremely busy with writing, which is awesome! I finally wrote a novel and published it. And I'm working on a second one right now, although I'm not sure if it's something I'll ever publish. I hope I do. We'll see. This is like... my third complete re-write of it. So we'll see.

 

I've missed you guys! There was a period of time when I was unable to log on. The site seemed extremely slow. Took forever to log in, and then there would be days where the site would just not load at all and give me the middle finger (okay, the middle finger part isn't true, but it felt like that). I wasn't sure if this place would still be here by the time I'd get around to checking in again.

 

Happy to see that it's still here! And I was able to log in. :)

 

I was also quiet because the good news is I've been writing a lot. The bad news is... I haven't been reading a whole lot. I'm trying to find a happy balance in that. It's usually one or the other, sadly. If I'm not writing, then I'm reading a lot. If I'm not reading, then I'm writing a lot.

 

Anyway, I'm here! I didn't put much thought into this post, I admit. I'm sorry. I just wanted to say howdy. And I'm still here.

 

Hope to be a little more active.

 

Happy reading, everybody! Hope to get back to chatting about books soon.

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

I love this scene from Stranger Things so friggen' much...

 

I'm not crying, I swear.

Reading progress update: I've read 15%.

Invasive: A Novel - Chuck Wendig

So. Fucking. Good.

 

This is my first novel of his that I'm reading. I knew him from Terrible Minds and his hilarious Twitter account first, along with reading The Kick-Ass Reader

 

I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

 

Writing in present tense is tricky. And can be jarring when it isn't done right. But Wendig nails it.

 

Also, he retweeted a Tweet of mine yesterday. Which totally made my day.

 

Here's a silly picture of Buster

 

Caught him in mid-yawn. :)

 

Well...it only took me less than a minute and a half to log on to my dashboard. I guess that's an improvement!

Busy, Busy!

I've been quiet again. For a few reasons.

 

1) This place takes FOREVER to load now. No joke, it took me three minutes before I could get to my dashboard. Color me unimpressed. And it breaks my heart, because I used to absolutely love this place. If this is how it's going to be from here on out, then I may be here less and less.

 

2) I've been writing like crazy. I even wrapped up a rewrite of a short novel I've been working on since 2004. I sent it in for editing and I'm a nervous wreck! I normally write short stuff. This will be my first *gasp* novel. o.O (or at least the first one I'm admitting)

 

I miss my Booklikes family. I wished I could be here more. I haven't forgotten you, so please don't think that. I hope things settle down here and it'll be back to the good old days, but I have my worries and doubts just like anybody else.

 

I don't really have a permanent home. This was sort of it. So I'll have to figure out a Plan B. I am on Tumblr, but very little--although that'll change if I can't post here anymore.

 

And I'm also on Twitter.

 

That's all for now. I miss you all!