What I’m Reading – February 15, 2014

Even I’m not sure what the list will look like this month.  It’s been a bit of a shambles, reading-wise.

Let’s find out:

write publish repeatWrite. Publish. Repeat.

Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, with David Wright

Released only at the end of last year, this book will become a classic guide for indie publishers, I’m sure.  I’ve read it three times since it was released.

It is a manual on the strategies for publishing, yes, but it’s also oddly inspiring.  If you’re an indie author, thinking about switching, or adding indie to your portfolio, or even a wannabe writer thinking about writing fiction, then it’s a great way to fire up your enthusiasm.

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follow your heartFollow Your Heart

Andrew Matthews

I’ve been reading motivational books for decades.   This one is a little different.  Although Matthews doesn’t say anything that was new (to me), what he does say and the way he says it is light, funny, and very, very clear.

Many motivational books come across as heavy, preachy or didactic.  This is nothing like those.  If you like your philosophy and psychology with a does of funny, grab this one.

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Primal blueprintPrimal Blueprint

Mark Sisson

I’ve had a strange circular journey from a raw vegan diet, to vegan, to “normal”, to wheat free, to Atkins, and now I’ve fully transitioned to Primal (or Paleo — they’re joined at the hip).

2014 is my year to offload the extra pounds I’ve acquired thanks to prescription medicine and a writer’s lifestyle.

The Primal Blueprint is the diet side of my 2014 revolution.

If you’re fully committed to your bagels, low fat, whole wheat diet, this isn’t the book for you.  But it’s hard to ignore the mega results adherents to this lifestyle achieve.

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before bethlehemBefore Bethlehem

James Flerlage

Holy crap!  A fiction title!

This is the story of Jesus’ older half-brother, James and a fictional account of events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

I am not in the slightest religious.  In fact, I call myself an atheist.  But what drew me to this book was what I hope will be a factual historical account of the times and the culture of the first century B.C.E. Middle East.  I love history — all of it — so the chance to dip into this era and location via a story and minus the heavy doctrine (I hope) was attractive.

I haven’t cracked the spine on this one yet (too many other non-fiction must-reads on the pile), but I’m looking forward to it.

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tailoringTailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket

Editors of Creative Publishing

My mother gave me a gift for Christmas that I’ve been without for nearly four years — a serger.  But not just any serger.  This one is a Babylock, and it threads itself and makes serging a dream.  Since my old one curled up its toes, I had stopped sewing almost completely (going back to finishing seams by standard machine is a major drag).

So, new serger, and I (possibly rashly) promised to make Older Son a Dr. Who coat (the green one worn by #11), and Younger Son a replica of the coat Ronan Dex wears in the later Stargate Atlantis series.

This book will hopefully brush up my tailoring skills, which are now a bit rusty.

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 carthage-must-be-destroyedCarthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization

Richard Miles

The Romans destroyed the city state of Carthage in three successive wars that are called the Punic Wars (you may have heard of Hannibal and his elephants?  Those wars.)  Once Carthage had been captured, the Romans slaughtered the people and dismantled the buildings.  They showed no mercy at all.  Even after their victory, the Romans continued to think of Carthaginians as barbarians and mortal foes.

That’s what drew me to this book.  The Romans, generally, converted any culture they conquered to their civilized ways.  They didn’t so much conquer as seduce, for most of the cultures they encompassed found the Roman lifestyle, the comforts and technology, more than welcome and promptly adopted the new ways.  So why were the Romans so ruthless about wiping out the city of Carthage and every aspect of Carthaginian culture?

I’m only a few (very long) chapters into the book, and had to pause when I reached the section that talked about child sacrifice.  (Yes, they did.)  The preceding chapters were all concerning the history and politics that led to the formation of the city.

I don’t think child sacrifice was the reason the Romans hated Carthage so much.  The Romans had their own quite barbaric rituals and traditions.  I will have to read the rest of the book to find out why, but I suspect that the Romans feared this most powerful neighbour for the threat it was.

This one is sometimes heavy going, but considering it’s a straight history book, it does pretty well keeping your interest up.

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