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  1. #1
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    Emery’s 2020 Reading Challenge Log

    Three hours to New Years’ 2020! My challenge is to read 12 books in 2020!! I’m going to up the ante on myself to start the new decade.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  2. #2
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    Book 1

    AWOL On The Appalachian Trail
    By David Miller



    A 41-year-old engineer quits his job to hike the Appalachian Trail. That caught my eye! Living in Massachusetts, and having moved from the Boston area out to western Massachusetts well over decade ago, I am familiar with the Appalachian trail, a little over an hour’s drive from me. I have friends and family that have talked of hiking it (though none of them ever have!). It’s an intrepid and adventurous undertaking, not for the feet of heart nor newbie.

    This is a true account of David’s hike, of
    the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine, recounting to us, the life of the towns and the people he meets along the way, kept in meticulous journals as he hiked. Much of this tale makes you feel the pain and joy of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. He left his job, family, and friends to fulfill that dream and hike the AT..

    AWOL was his Trail name...hikers traditionally choose a Trail name, which they also use in their entries on the Appalachian Trails’ shelter log books. On page after page, readers are treated to rich descriptions of the valleys and mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the life-changing moments that can only be experienced when dreams are pursued. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about safety and proper gear, showing a professional hiker's preparations and tenacity. This is not merely a travel guide, but a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man's adventure and what it means to make a lifelong vision come true.

    I very much enjoyed the read, and though it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be, I found it very educational and inspiring. It was also a great message to all of us that we should pursue our dreams.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  3. #3
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    Book 2

    St. Nick
    By Alan Russell



    When Santa Claus is a cop, you better watch out!

    I generally read a lot more when I’m on vacation, and when it’s Christmas vacation, I generally like a season-related read included! This was just the ticket. Of course, being sick during vacation also game me more me at home to read, so this’s was good to heal the soul like a good chicken soup!!! It was a very cute story...not super complicated sleuth solving fare, but an engaging story much like what you’d see in a Hallmark Movies TV holiday movie.

    It’s not looking like a very merry Christmas for San Diego cop Nick Pappas. Suspended from his job, alienated from his family, and persecuted by the press, he’s sorely tempted to turn his gun on himself. Except for his first name, he couldn’t possibly have less in common with jolly old St. Nicholas. But when a local mall decides it needs a secret Santa to help collar some vicious muggers preying on its holiday shoppers, Nick’s persuaded to red-suit up so as to take the naughty punks down and avert a ho-ho homicide. For a chance to bust bad guys, Nick’s willing to deal with crying kids, pushy parents, and a chronically cheerful “elf” sidekick. But the biggest challenge for this cop-turned-Claus is one that would confound even the real Kris Kringle: making a pair of next-to-impossible Christmas wishes come true for two children in need…before it’s too late.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

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    Book 3

    A Morbid Taste of Bones
    By Ellis Peters



    This is a coo, series of books about an herbalist, Welsh Benedictine monk, named Brother Cadfael at Shrewsbury Abbey. He is 57 years old, a man who came to his vocation in the monastery about 17 years earlier, after his life as man at arms in the First Crusade, sailor, and in service of a Norman lord.

    Brother Cadfael spends much of his time tending the herbs and vegetables in the garden—but in this book’s story, there’s a more pressing matter. Cadfael is to serve as translator for a group of monks heading to the town of Gwytherin in Wales. The team’s goal is to collect the holy remains of Saint Winifred, which Prior Robert hopes will boost the abbey’s reputation, as well as his own. But when the monks arrive in Gwytherin, the town is divided over the request.

    When the leading opponent to disturbing the grave is found shot dead with a mysterious arrow, some believe Saint Winifred herself delivered the deadly blow. Brother Cadfael knows an earthly hand did the deed, but his plan to root out a murderer may dig up more than he can handle.

    Before CSI and Law & Order, there was Brother Cadfael, “wily veteran of the Crusades” (Los Angeles Times). His knowledge of herbalism, picked up in the Holy Land, and his skillful observance of human nature are blessings in dire situations, and earned Ellis Peters a Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger Award. A Morbid Taste for Bones kicks off a long-running and much-loved series that went on to be adapted for stage, radio, and television.


    I really enjoyed this book and plan to read more of the series. It was a fun read, and I had a sense of the fun I experienced watching Sean Connery in the old movie, “The Name of the Rose”.
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    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  5. #5
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    This really is a great series, I have got all of them myself. I also loved the tv series, again, we have those on dvd.
    Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.

    Elie Wiesel.

    Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor

  6. #6
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    Book 4

    The Far Arena
    By Richard Ben Sapir



    From Good Reads:
    The Far Arena is a novel by Richard Sapir, writing as Richard Ben Sapir. It chronicles the adventures of Eugeni, a Roman gladiator from Domitian's period, who, due to an unlikely series of events, is frozen in ice for 1900 years before being found by the Houghton Oil Company on a prospecting mission in the N. Atlantic.

    Lew McCardle is a geologist working for Houghton. While running a test drill, the machine accidentally uncovers a frozen body. Lew is given charge. He immediately calls his friend Semyon Petrovitch, a Soviet scientist. Petrovitch, who specializes in cryonics takes the body to be revived, explaining that it's easier to treat such a case as alive until it's proven life cannot be restored. The blood is pumped from it & various treatments are administered until, amazingly, it comes back to life. It spends the next 15 days in a deep sleep, muttering to itself. The mutterings are recorded, but no-one can figure out the language. Finally, Lew McCardle, who has eight years of Latin, sends for a Catholic nun, who joins him & Petrovitch on their quest to sort out the mysteries of the body.
    It was an interesting read, and had a decent ending. I found the first half of the book a bit difficult, as it recalled Eugeni’s Roman days in dream, but it was an interesting peek into the Roman Era. The second half of the book had good moments and bad....it had far more potential, in my estimation but it was still wrapped up well.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  7. #7
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    Book 5

    The Lost Arc
    By J.R. Rain



    Yup, slow reader LOL! Book 5 was a fun rad, but it had some glaring editing errors — and worse, some VERY implausible gaffs. The story....

    In a lonely bar in eastern Turkey, ex-National Geographic photojournalist Sam Ward is hired to find an eccentric professor who disappeared high atop Mount Ararat, fabled resting spot of Noah's Ark.
    Accompanied by the professor's beautiful daughter, archaeologist Faye Roberts, Sam soon stumbles upon a secret stronghold—a base of operation for unleashing hell of earth. Now running for their lives, Sam and company are about to come face-to-face with the greatest archaeological discovery of all time....


    Well, the, ‘...unleashing Hell on Earth...’ part has nothing to do with the arc, just so you’re clear. And what it does have to do with is the previously mentioned in plausible gaffs! As in, extremely lame — but it actually doesn’t really distract too badly from the overall ‘Noah’s Arc’ plot. Other annoying elements were, the hero of our story smokes too much — I cringed every time he said he needed a cigarette, or lit one up, The author seems to be a chain smoker! In a chapter (46?), he describes something twice, in consecutive paragraphs, where the author obviously couldn’t make up his mind how to word it within a paragraph, so he wrote both and forgot to edit later? And certain elements of physicality and military knowledge seemed either superhuman, or magically appearing (if he used to be a soldier, why not just mention that, even in passing?

    But with all my bitching, it was still a fun enough read for a free book... I’d be pissed if I paid for it. A good Summer beach novel.

    As for the Arc, I remember the whole Ararat talk back in the 70’s, and it was pretty much status quo with that. I won’t say whether they found the arc or not, but where I was expecting more from a potential find, I found myself in aa comic book version of Indiana Jones, without the cool Indy character (felt more like a cheap knockoff).

    I do recommend it for a read, but save your money if you can and find a free version (mine was part of my Amazon Prime Lending Library).
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

  8. #8
    My wife loves the Cadfael TV series. Derek Jacobe is awsome.

  9. #9
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    The series was great, we have the lot on dvd, but I think the books are better.
    Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.

    Elie Wiesel.

    Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor

  10. #10
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    I’ve not seen the show.... not sure what channel or network, or streaming service it’s on. I have heard good things about it, though.

    I also have the first of a four book series of Game of Thrones in the mix, at the moment. I don’t usually read more than one book at a time (other than Rulebooks... hmmm, maybe I should be listing those here, too, haha!), but I’d found the GoT book set for sale in a thrift store last Summer and decided to finally jump in them. Almost all of my book reading is electronic, these days.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - George S. Patton.

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