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About This Club

Have you read a good book recently? We want to hear about it. Or maybe talk about a book you didn't like. All things book related welcome!

  1. What's new in this club
  2. When I say I've read a lot of post-apoc fiction, I mean I've read a LOT. And there's so much more out there. Unfortunately, it's not all good. Here's some series or stand alone books I highly recommend if you're looking to read more in the genre: 1) One Second After by William Forstchen This may have been the first I ever read and it made a huge impact on my way of thinking about our society. Its the first book in a trilogy, and really, the best of the three though I'd still recommend all three. The second one was "meh" but the third makes up for it. 2) The New World Series by G. Michael Hopf This was another series, I think there's eight books, that I really enjoyed. Great storytelling despite the well used trope of an EMP attack on the U.S. Hopf was also very influential on my own writing, both in style and by posting videos about writing on his social media pages. 3) The Going Home Series by Chris Weatherman, aka "Angery American" Along with G. Michael Hopf, Chris was an author who started out independent and then was picked up by a major publishing house, only to go back to being independent when the contract expired. Weatherman's series started out really strong in the first three to four books, but then, perhaps after parting with the publishing company, the quality started to suffer a little bit in my opinion. There's a lot of pages devoted to the characters busting each others' balls which, after a while, gets to be a little much and almost feels like filler. Also, the editing began to suffer in the last few books, as noted by others in reviews. I think a lot of this has to do with Weatherman's focus shifting from being at the keyboard to doing weekly broadcasts on Facebook. I used to follow him regularly but he's super political these days, and it ranges from off putting to simply a guy shit posting nonsense. All that aside, I do recommend the series. I just wish he focused on writing more than the rest of what makes up his brand. It's hard to deny it works for him and his sales, but it also detracts some. 4) The V-Plague Series by Dirk Patton This one is interesting in that it's the end of the world where humans have mutated into ravenous wild beasts by a bioweapon. What's interesting about this series is, Patton also wrote a couple side books that play into this series ( which, last I knew was being looked at for a TV series ). Out of the 19, not counting the side books, I haven't read the last couple, because I started to lose interest in the story. But the first 15-17 are definitely worth a read. 5) 77 Days In September by Ray Gorham This is another one of those, "EMP, guy is trying to get home" books. It's definitely a good read, and interestingly, by the ending I was really emotionally invested in the book, something unusual for this genre. Gorham followed this up with Daunting Days Of Winter, which was also good. I still hope he writes more, although it's been a while. 6) Anything by Franklin Horton I can't choose any one series of Horton's because not only are they all excellent, they also all tie into each other somehow. The three series I've read are The Borrowed World, The Locker Nine Series, The Way Of Dan Series, and The Mad Mick Series which together make up a total of 25 books! I would start with The Borrowed World, which kind of sets the tone and the scene for the rest of them. Then you could read the rest of them in about any order, although I did it this way: Locker Nine, Way Of Dan, then Mad Mick. The Mad Mick character will show up in Locker Nine, and then he will come together with the people in The Borrowed World Series. He hasn't been in the Way of Dan yet, since that's set on the West Coast, but I've no doubt it will all come together somehow. 7) Surrender The Sun by A.R. Shaw AR Shaw has written other SHTF fiction book that I've read, including her Graham's Resolution series, but Surrender The Sun stands out in the genre for its unique plot: After a while, even I have to admit the EMP plot line can only be told so many ways, which is why this book was a refreshing change of pace. ***** There's a bunch more I've read and either tolerated or enjoyed them, but not enough to recommend them. And to be honest, I've read so many that I'm sure I could have made the above list a complete Top 10. But there's better than 50 books in the above listed series, so that's enough to get anyone started!
  3. ...and Why It Failed" -- Have read considerably on the American Civil War, been to Gettysburg on our honeymoon, stood on top of the rocks overlooking the field where Pickett's Charge took place. Researched and wrote for my Homespun Ancestors blog about the battle and Lincoln's short and to-the-point simple but reverberating speech to commemorate those who gave their lives in this important battle. This book by Carhart is key to understanding Gen. Robert E. Lee, a highly respected West Point graduate, who thoroughly studied and put to use Napoleonic battle plans which won for the Confederacy. Lee lost Gettysburg because of two main side failures which were to have supported Pickett for a major win - one of which became a great triumph for the Union's Brig. Gen. George A. Custer. A man of great valor, courage and bravery, he, too, studied at West Point, thus also knowing how to win in various battlefield situations. With far less men on the field, he stopped J.E.B. (Jeb) Stuart's advance to meet Pickett's men by also using Napoleonic battle plans... based on centuries' old tried-and-true methods. I was impressed with the extensive research by Carhart. Impressed with his writing and detailed explanations of the battlefields before these armies converged at Gettysburg. Impressed with both Lee and Custer's bravery and skill on the battlefield. As I was intrigued from previous readings about Custer, he was a great soldier before arrogance caught up with him at the Battle of Little Big Horn - a battlefield my daughter and I visited in 2004 enroute from her job in Calif to S.D. for grad school. Standing at the rise which overlooks a wide open plain where the Native Americans had encamped, seeing behind us the gravestones of every one of Custer's men made me wonder "what was he thinking"?! A must read for all Civil War buffs!
  4. Available here I read this one pretty fast. Way faster than many of the books I've been reading lately. It's reminiscent of "On The Beach" which in hindsight may well have been the first post-apocalyptic book I ever read other than Stephen King's The Stand. The book starts right out with the knowledge that Earth is done. There's no "it may just miss us", because it isn't. That said, this is a really different story than Hopf is most well known for. When he was writing it I recall him saying he was pushing himself as a writer and it shows. The characters are interesting and you care about them, knowing full well most, if not all of them, are done for in a few days. The ending, while it didn't come as a shock, tugs on the heartstrings as Colossus barrels closer to Earth. A single, two word sentence of dialogue really hit hard. You feel what they're feeling as they watch the flash of impacted the coming destruction. When I was done I felt thoroughly wrung out and to be honest, it makes you think about what you would do in those final days and hours if God forbid it happened for real. I highly recommend this book.
  5. Here's another book I finished in record time I think. I saw it advertised on social media and decided to give it a try. Rewind by Christopher Barnard is sort of a mix between Dances With Wolves meets The Time Machine, only set in the Ice Age: I normally wouldn't read this style of writing ( first person, present tense ) but I was hooked on the story so quick after a while it didn't matter. You can get a copy here.
  6. Available on Amazon.com I have to admit, I kind of expected this to be a dry read, being about space and all. And it was anything but. Collins and her co-author Jonathan H. Ward manage to weave a story of an average kid from Elmira NY (!!) who worked hard and went on to become the first woman to command a Space Shuttle mission. Collins holds nothing back about her upbringing, her experiences in school, and how she worked to afford her first flying lessons here in Chemung County before joining the Air Force. Along the way, she also gives the reader her views on leadership and how to achieve your goals. The telling of her July 23, 1999 launch was particularly interesting, and to make the reading even more "real", I pulled up footage of the launch on YouTube and re-read that section. I would love to get a letter to Commander Collins to tell her how much I enjoyed her story. This book should be mandatory for high school students, particularly those here in Collins' hometown. I highly recommend this book.

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