Dune - well worth it - watching the movie next

Dune Dune 1Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 to 5 stars. Exceptional book. Especially since it was written over 40 years ago. Original and the story holds up well even today. It is a formula that we are all familiar with: the classic Hero's Journey. As I read this, all I could think of was that this is Star Wars before Star Wars. George Lucas must have read this and used it as inspiration.

I wanted to read the book before I saw the new HBO movie (and I guess series). So that is next. But, I can say, I was aware of this book for many years but did not read it, I can say now that I am glad I did.

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Fast. Feast. Repeat. - Gin Stevens

Another Fasting book.  But this one is a winner. Practical and Flexible. Highly recommended!

Fast Feast Repeat The Comprehensive Guide to Delay Dont Deny Intermittent Fasting--Including the 28-Day FAST Start
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny® Intermittent Fasting--Including the 28-Day FAST Start by Gin Stephens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*4.5 (I wish we could give half stars)

One of the best books I have read on intermittent fasting. The most practical for such. Granted, I have been on and off intermittent fasting sine I read Dr. Fung's books over 3 years ago. I have tried different fast periods and methods. I feel better, lost some weight, and became convinced that there's e was something to IF as a lifestyle and health option. Gin's book put it all together for me. It explains the importance of a clean fast and provides a ton of practical advice for IF problems people have. Best of all, the book emphasizes that IF s not a "diet" but a workable, flexible life style choice, which is what I have been looking for and fits in nicely withy own 3 years of experience with IF.

She has a great non-judgmental and practical approach for someone new to IF and lots of tips for those with some experience.

Highly recommended book for anyone looking for a permanent and heathy lifestyle and who just wants to ... feel better. I certainly do. And I don't think I will be going back to Bloatville and TiredTown. This book will help you get out of those places and stay out.

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I have Discovered Audiobooks

I have started trying to read more and recently discovered audiobooks. I didnt think I would like audiobooks, but they're quite good. I listen while driving to and from work. Very efficient use if time and keeps me off the news. Typically when I read an ebook or hardback, it's at night just before bed. I often doze off and forget important parts. With an audiobook, I can read it anytime and I am usually focused - driving, walking, exercising.

The one thing I have had to adjust to with audiobooks is the lack of notes. But I'm working on a solution to that. Kindle and Kobo have won the price and note battle for reading, but audiobooks win the convenience battle.  Still examining cost issues too. But so far, so good.  Will continue to mix up hard covers, ebooks, and audiobooks as I read more. 

So far I would recommend Kobo, AudiobooksNow, and Downpour as sources of audiobooks.  I am using the Bound app to listen on the phone, mostly because I can fine tune the playback speed.  I find that 1.25 is too fast, and 1.0 is too slow.  I prefer 1.15-1.2, which I can get on Bound. 


In the Kingdom of Ice - Hampton Sides

Finish reading In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides today. Well worth your time. 

Below is my GoodReads review.  Not sure if I trust GoodReads, but it has posted my entire review here instead of just a link back to them. So I will allow it for now. Still working on this review stuff.  This is the second audiobook I have read in the last decade. Will continue to do so.  

GoodReads Review - In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book about a forgotten time and a remarkable crew.

In The Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides tells the story of the captain, crew, supporting characters of the US. Arctic Expedition and USS Jeannette. The expedition's goal was to be the first humans to reach the North Pole.

Let me guess, you never heard of it. Few have, but it was an international story in the 1880s. The US. Arctic Expedition had everything going for it. It was well-funded by the US. Government and wealthy benefactors. It had the latest technology advances including advanced navigation and electric lights. And it had a proven leader and dream team of experienced Arctic explorers. Depiste all these advantages, it failed.

Or did it? It certainly failed to reach the North Pole, which is why the Jeanette isnt a well known name today. But, it certainly expanded our knowledge of the Arctic and resolved many myths about the polar region. It is also a rousing good adventure story about the limits of technology and the importance of good leadership .. . and its limits.

Sides is an exceptional storyteller. This is his first book I have read, and it wont be my last. Historical non-fiction an be dull at times, but the best ones craft the facts into a compelling story. I purposely avoided did not research the details of the expedition, even though I knew its general fate. I found myself fascinated by George DeLong and his family, Mellville and the Jeanette's crew, and even Bennet. Sides' tale left me wanting more. And I eagerly googled additional information after finishing the book.

There have been some stories in my life that have stayed with me; true tales that I have never forgotten. This is now another one.

Next time I am in Annapolis, I plan on visiting the USS Jeanette and DeLong Monument.

I would highly recommend this book if you have any interest in the Arctic, the late 19th century (fascinating time of change, like our own), or the Navy. It will be well-worth your time.

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No Easy Day - Mark Owen

I just finished reading No Easy Day - The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen.

Bottom line, I found it enjoyable and recommend it.  

Why did I read it? 

 Of course, like many Americans, I admire what the Navy Seals were able to do on that night. That kind of mission typifies everything that is admirable about the Seals.  Excruciatingly planned, mission-focused, and prepared for every contingency. I wanted to read a first hand account of the mission in all its horrifying detail; not some press or movie hyped up propaganda.  And from what I can tell, mission accomplished.

What did I like about it?  

Those that know me, know I still miss the Navy . . . occasionally.  I suppose that after spending 4 years in school, then another 10 years or so in a squadron afterward, my brainwashing was complete.  No doubt, I do miss the unit camaraderie, the sense of purpose, and the feeling of serving something bigger than yourself.  This book has a lot of that.  And it brought back many memories of hanging with the meatheads in my squadron.  It explains, or at least describes, the warrior culture fairly well.  It's about accomplishments and results, not excuses; adapting to circumstances, not complaining about them  This is a message that is largely missing from our culture today.  And I am glad that some still follow that creed.

What didn't I like about it?  

If you are looking for untold secrets of the operation or of special operations in general, this book will disappoint.  The author seemed to make a special effort to make everything a first hand account, and no secrets were revealed.  I knew most of the details of the operation before I read the book from other sources. This book didn't tell me anything new.  It just helped fill in the gaps.  It is also not a literary masterpiece.  It is well-written, but in a straightforward, no nonsense style.  There are not many big words and flowery language describing the author's feelings at any given time or what it is like to be in combat in Southwest Asia.  Instead, the story is very matter of fact, and the cadence measured and steady. I actually appreciate that style, but others may not.

This is the first book I have read in my "Going Dark" campaign.  I plan on taking a little time each day to shut off the computers, phones, and other electronic pacifiers in our lives and, instead, spend some time "in the dark," cut off from the electronic world, with only me and a book or a magazine.  I want to enjoy reading for readings sake again. So far, so good.  Next month, I plan on reading The Cloud Atlas, the book on which the new movie out now is based.  It is supposed to be excellent, and will be my first fiction read in a long time.  I tend to gravitate toward non-fiction.  Wish me luck . . and see you for a book review in another 30 days.