Books, movies, politics, and whatever I want

Monday Book Pick: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Monday, March 18th, 2024

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Damien Lewis

Going from adventures in the “Unreal” to adventures in the very real. This book is about creation and evolution of British Special Warfare troops in WWII. The focus is on the creation of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) by Winston Churchill and its eventual merger with the SAS/SBS operating the North African and Mediterranean theaters, including action in Greece and Italy. These were very unconventional warriors conducting very unconventional warfare, which made them much more effective in their ability to tie down or defeat much larger units of German and Italian conventional troops. Adventure in literature is often described as someone else in a lot of trouble, far away. Keep in mind, this book is non-fiction. The collection British, Danish, American, and Greek soldiers put themselves in incredible danger, and didn’t always get away to fight another day. Guy Richie is putting a movie soon based on this book, which I’m expecting to be well done, but do yourself a favor and read the book, including the official descriptions of the actions that won them multiple medals for valor in combat.

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Monday Book Pick: Knight Watch

Monday, March 4th, 2024

Knight Watch by Tim Akers

This book had me laughing out loud. Uber-nerd goes the Ren Faire, and his opponent in the sword and board competition turns into a dragon, which he slays by driving his mom’s Volvo into its head. This gets him involved with Knight Watch, an organization that protects reality from it’s mythic past. If you have any experience with fantasy gaming, especially Dungeons and Dragons, you will get a lot of the ‘in jokes.’ The protagonist¬† John is a classic sword and board Tank, and his ex-girlfriend is an Elven Princess with her magical longbow. I really enjoyed this book, and the sequel.

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Monday Book Pick: The Color of Magic

Monday, January 29th, 2024

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The very first Discworld novel. The start of a very long comic fantasy series. Loads of fun. Give it a try, and then be prepared to dive into the remaining 39 books in the series.

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Monday Book Pick: Athenaeum, Inc.: Door Number three

Monday, November 6th, 2023

Athenaeum, Inc.: Door Number Three by Dan Kemp

To be honest, I knew I was going to buy this when read that author was a former Army NCO and a fan of both John Ringo and Larry Correia. Kemp mixed elements of the Paladin of Shadows and Dead Six series into his own blend, which was a really fun read that I didn’t want to put down until I finished. My major problem with this book is that there no sequel yet. The book was full of Easter Eggs, which I highlighted heavily for future research. Which I admit resulted in my getting a Rocket City Trash Panda hat, despite my serious lack of interest in professional baseball. Be prepared into deep dives into various types of deep nerdness: gun, watch, knife, and Hong Kong tactical tailors. Oh, and his deep obsession with Asian women. As the author says, writing this book was cheaper than therapy. This would make fun movie, and one that Joe Bob Briggs would recommend.

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Monday Book Pick: It’s Always Darkest

Monday, February 27th, 2023

It’s Always Darkest by Frank Schildiner

This book is set in Philip Jose Farmer’s “Nine” universe. I really enjoyed this book, the main character, Langston Dupont, is a mirror universe version of The Shadow with an more Asian flavor, and is one of The Nine‘s candidates. He still makes use of twin .45 semi-automatic pistols and the echoing mocking laugh though. The very select pool of individuals who gain immortality (at least very, very slow aging) at the cost of being the complete servants of the nine member ruling council who have been influencing the fate of mankind for thousands of years. Dupont has turned against his masters after close to a century of service, including his childhood training. The author is a martial arts instructor, and writes really good fight scenes. Something I really appreciate. A fun read set in 1970s and added bonus, a fight scene featuring one of my favorite bladed weapons!

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Monday Book Pick: The Black Mountain

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

The Black Mountain by Rex Stout

Not only does Nero Wolfe leave the Brownstone in this book, he leaves the country! The murder of his childhood friend, and the violent death of his adopted daughter force him to travel to the land of birth to track down the killer and bring him to justice

I’m day late on this one…Close enough for government work…

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Monday Book Pick: A Night in the Lonesome October

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

A Night in the Lonesome October by SciFi Grandmaster Roger Zelazny

Once again going to the classic by the late Grandmaster Roger Zelazny. It is set in the month of October, which each day being a chapter. The story is told by Snuff, a watchdog, who like his companion Jack, is the owner of several Curses. One of Jack’s involves a large knife. Whenever there is a full moon on October 31, a group of people and their animal companions gather together and work toward a ritual on the night of the 31st. They are trying to either open or keep closed, a gateway for the Elder Gods (think Lovecraft). So far, the Closers have always won. Up until the end, it’s hard to tell who is an Opener and who is a closer, or even who is in the game. Others who are in the area with Snuff and Jack include: a vampire called “The Count” and his bat; a mad Russian monk and his snake, a broom flying witch named Crazy Jill and her black cat, the Great Detective and his sidekick; Larry Talbot and his furry alter ego. Zelazny had a lot of fun with this book. If you can pick up a copy with the Gahan Wilson illustrations, you are in for a bonus treat.

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Monday Book Pick: Red Inferno: 1925

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Red Inferno: 1945 by Robert Conroy

Another of the late Robert Conroy’s alternate history novels. This one is set in 1945. WWII in Europe is winding down, Berlin is about to fall. Harry Truman is now the US President. The change is scarily probable viewed from a modern perspective. Stalin decides that he want’s a bigger buffer zone than he was promised by Roosevelt and Churchill, so after taking Berlin, he turns the massive Red Army westward to attack American and British troops. Remember that the Russian army was really, really big at the time. Partially because of the US supplying them with food, clothing, weapons, planes, and oil for years. There are few factors that work in the Allies favor, including Stalin’s management style, and the Manhattan project. An enjoyable and engaging read. Check it out.

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Monday Book Pick: Some Buried Caesar

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout

We’re setting the Way Back Machine to 1938 for this Nero Wolfe novel. If you like murder mysteries, any of Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels is worth the read. What makes this interesting is that none of the story takes place in the familiar brownstone which Wolfe so rarely leaves. He and Archie have ventured into the wilds of upstate New York so Wolfe can display some of his Orchids at a county fair. Wolfe and Goodwin become involved the local scandal of a champion Guernsey bull named Hickory Caesar Grindon being sold to a owner of a chain of restaurants. The scandal is that the new owner plans of cooking Caesar and feeding him at a large barbecue as an advertising event. Hot tempers, long standing family feuds, and shady characters lead to multiple murders. One of the nice twists is the local cop who tosses Archie in jail. Archie passes the time by forming a prisoners union, complete with presenting a list of demands to his jailers. This novel also introduces the reoccurring character of Lily Rowan.

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Monday Book Pick: What is Self-Defense: Kenpo Jui-Jitsu

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

What is Self-Defense: Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu by James Mitose

This classic is back in print. My copy was printed in the early 1980s. The original was printed back in 1953. Most of the Keno/Kempo taught in the United States traces directly back to James Mitose, and the most famous of his students, William Chow.

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