Reading instead of reviewing

I’m going to be taking a small hiatus from reviewing books, because unfortunately, I have to read a dry, boring, but necessary book for work. I work in the IT security world, so I have to keep up with the terminology, technology and everything that goes on with it.

I’m slated to take a rather brutal test, the CISSP exam, within the next couple month so I need to hunker down. I like the world of IT security, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy reading 900+ pages of terminology, policy and information about legacy systems. BUT, it has to be done. So I’m doing it.

Which means fun books will be put to the side for now for this beast.

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Wish me luck!

Far North: Michael Ridpath

Far North

Note: This book is called 66° North in other countries – this is the US version.

This is the second book in the Fire & Ice Series – the book previous to this is called Where the Shadows Lie.

Now that Magnus has spent some time in Iceland, he’s become a little more familiar with the culture but often still refers back to his American training, which sometimes gets him in trouble, but sometimes turns out to be the thing they needed. In this book, Magnus reaches back to his past to try to find out who killed his father so many years ago, and who is behind the murders of the country’s top bankers and financiers.

Continue reading

Travels, reflection and where you lay your head

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. More than I usually do, which has led to some reflection.

The first trip was out to Oregon, to see my dad’s side of the family. My grandfather had died and I wanted to attend the funeral. I booked a plane ticket and rental car the day before the funeral and headed out. I hadn’t been back to Oregon, my birthplace, in probably 15 years. I tried so hard to remember the last time I’d been but I couldn’t remember. Too long.

The trip was bittersweet; I was here for a funeral, but I was going to see my cousins, aunt, dad, step-mom and grandmother; people I hadn’t seen in so many years. Unfortunately, the last time I’d seen my dad was for another funeral – his sister’s. Why is it that we only seem to see people for weddings and funerals? Continue reading

Gratitude: Oliver Sacks

Gratitude

This is a collection of four short stories, or reflections, that Mr. Sacks wrote during the last few years of his life. The book read like a reflection on what really stood out in his life and what was important during those last few months on the earth. The musings he wrote were entertaining, insightful and sometimes humorous. For example, Oliver was a scientist by trade and had a love of the elements, so each year for his birthday, he would reflect on the element number of his age. His last one, 82, was Lead.

He also took an uplifting approach to life after learning that his cancer had returned again in his 80s. He reflected on the good in his life, and the gratitude he felt for the years that he had lived.

Even though I had different expectations for this book, it was still a good read and a great reminder to focus on this important things in life, to not worry about all the little piddly things that happen, and to be grateful for the day to day occurrences in our lives.

I’d recommend this short read as a reminder to seek out gratitude always.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Don’t wait

I got a text this morning that my Grandfather died. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to process it. I’m not an outwardly emotional person but this weighed on me, for many reasons.

I only found out within the last couple of months that he had been sick. So sick that they’d put him in hospice care; that dreadful word that everyone knows means you’re on your death bed. My dad or his wife had texted me (they share a phone) as they do almost daily to tell me how the weather is in their part of the state, but this time it told me that he had gotten out of hospice and was doing better. I was taken aback. I hadn’t known that he was sick. I know he is in his 80s, but still had no idea that death had stopped by to loiter. Besides being shocked at this news, I was angry. Angry at my dad for not passing on the news to me earlier. We hadn’t had much of a relationship since he left when I was a teen, but I kind of figured he would have said something, and angry at myself for never checking in as often as I should. It usually was my grandmother calling me, seeing how I was doing and telling me how much she missed me, and me saying how much we want to visit, which is always true.

These moments, although have luckily been rare in my life, fill me up with regret. Regret at waiting for that moment to travel to see them. Regret at not staying in contact. Regret at having my pride get in the way, waiting for them to call me.

Logic can’t always win at these things either. The husband has more reason and tells me to go see them. As my regret hits, my logic fights with me and says it’s too expensive. We have car repairs and new tires coming up. Something is messing with the cruise control in the other car, yada yada. But the husband reminds me that money cannot substitute for seeing family. That I’ll regret not getting out there. As unfortunate as a funeral is, it’s sometimes the only way we see family.

I don’t want to look back at this and add to my regrets. Time to plan a flight.

Zer0es: Chuck Wendig

Zer0s

This was my first “hacker” book, although I feel like I should have started these a long time ago considering I work in IT security, and it was also my first book by Chuck Wendig. I’d heard of him and seen his books, but always forgot to look into them, getting distracted with loads of other books to add to my list (it’s probably a real thing – like biblio-ADHD or something). I actually found his blog, started reading it and loved his writing style, so I finally grabbed up his book and read it.

I would describe Chuck’s writing style in this book as quick paced and rough-edged, in a good way. I read it almost like a noir-style novel, where things are happening quickly, and you’re digging your way through the dirt to find out who’s behind the government conspiracy. Continue reading

Lay Down Your Weary Tune: W.B. Belcher

lay your weary tune

I listened to a lot of David Ramirez when reading this book. It just fit with how I felt the writer was portraying the mood of this book. Although there were some funny parts, where I found myself quietly laughing or smiling, there was an underlying tone of sad reminiscence, remorse, regret, and the chances we have in life that we miss.

Jack Wyeth is a college grad who has done practically nothing with his life. Nothing that makes him exceptionally proud. In his college years, the highlight of his time was meeting the famous Eli Page, when Mr. Page came to perform at the school. Continue reading

Books & Booze

wall

We went on a mini vacation/anniversary trip to the Hill Country. It was about as perfect as one could make it. The weather was perfect, the town was small and quiet, and the food was delicious.

We stayed at a B&B in the town of Comfort and spent a lot of time just sitting quietly, relaxing, and wandering. It’s something we forget to do, or leave to do at the end of the day, once we’ve run out of time. Continue reading