Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Books Read This Last Week...or so

Pirates and the Lost Templar Fleet, by David Hatcher Childress
As far as I am concerned Childress writes about the most entertaining historical non-fiction out there. Why? Because he has an entertaining flair, he HAS been there done that and is never afraid to throw in wild speculation.
This is a boon for historical fiction writers, a gold mine of what-if's.
I have read several of his books now and also heartily recommend his magazine World Explorer for a little bit of everything that a modern day Indian Jones might need - or at least inspiration needs.
Pirates & Lost Templar Fleet relates largely to the whole circumference of sailing and Masonry. Stuff I find fascinating, stuff I read so much about already that DaVinci Code seemed like old hat to me.
And for me the new nuggets to be gleaned here are far more interesting than things Brown ever touched on anyway-while there is speculation, there is enough in the book that is verifiable historical fact it boggles the mind.
Childress brings together the whole of "the Craft" and presents a wondrous book.

I kinda got on a Monster/Supernatural kick here.

Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, by Nick Redfern
Redfern has been on a number of weird TV programs so I was vaguely aware of him and a couple weeks ago he was on another episode of History Channels Monster Quest and I remembered I found this at the thrift store awhile back. I have always been fascinated with Monsters so I gave it a whirl.
He does have some interesting 3rd hand stories from other people-good stuff-but a lot of the book dragged for me and I wasn't as captured as I was by guys like John Keel or Loren Coleman. I would say it made me interested in reading some of his other books though because I did find myself agreeing with most all of his conclusions about mysterious creatures.

Extra-Terrestrial Friends and Foes, by George C. Andrews
This is the second time I read this (its been 12 years) because I wanted to recap a few things about Templar knights after reading Childress, but I got sucked in and reread the whole thing in a day and a half because it is full of weirdly goodness. I get interested in the tying together of alien invaders and Nazi's and all other manner of high strangeness-as I have mentioned earlier-veritable gold mine for fiction writers. Andrews tackles so much it blazes all together in a fury (there really isn't much about Templar's) still its an entertaining read if you're not worried about the Grey's being allied with the NWO.

Hunt for the Skinwalker, by Colm A. Kelleher & George Knapp
This is honestly one of the creepiest books I have ever read late at night. I kept looking at the window, half expecting something to be there.
It is the (supposed) true account of a place relatively close to me out near Fort Duschene Utah.
They changed the names in the book referring to it as the Gorman ranch.
(shhh...really the Sherman ranch)
Anyway
These folks buy a ranch for a good price out in north-eastern Utah, next to the Rez, and weird stuff starts happening. Strange lights, UFO's, cattle mutilations, poltergeist activity, giant wolves attack their cattle and then can't be killed by regular guns! and strange hairy beings.
Local Indians say the ranch is located in the path of the Skinwalker-we are talking bad ju-ju.
I am making light of it now but I am dead serious this book creeped me out about as bad as reading the Necronomicon (book of dead names as transcribed by Dr. John Dee) late at night 10 years ago.
Back at the ranch.
A millionaire who wanted to investigate UFO's ended up buying the ranch and trying to do a whole lot of research there-it essentially amounted to bunk as far as proving anything for certain but still mucho weirdness.
I know I'll read it again someday.

Skinwalkers, by Tony Hillerman
And now the only labeled fiction mention of the week. A mystery involving tribal police down near the four corners area. I had no trouble visualizing things in the book because I lived very near the places mentioned for about 8 months in 2006, right next to the Rez.
Basically it seems witchcraft is causing some murders and its up to Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn to sort it out. Classic mismatched buddy cop scenario and while Hillerman is a restrained clean writer (no sex, no gore, no foul language) his style also lacked a certain punch I like.
I did feel pulled along because I'm interested in the witchcraft aspect (as mentioned above) and Hillerman writes his characters very well but I couldn't say this was as good as I hoped for. I probably will give another of his novels a chance though.

Next week an eclectic collection that has nothing to do with any of these.

6 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

I have not read 'Skinwalkers', but I have done many of the later Chee-Leaphorn novels as audiobooks.

I've enjoyed them all.

Except the last one - 'The Shapeshifter'. Either Hillerman's health had really gone down, or it was poorly written by a ghost writer. Stay away from that one.

But 'Hunting Badger', 'First Eagle', or 'Skeleton Man' would be a good choice when you're ready for more.

Also, I really liked the PBS Mystery movie of 'Skinwalkers'.

Angie said...

I'm always so impressed with your interesting reading lists. Mine are way more--ordinary.

David J. West said...

Thanks for the headsup Paul-the title Shapeshifter would have made me pick that up first.
I want to see that movie too.

Angie-I have to find a wide variety to fill the well with.

Debra Erfert said...

Yes, you do have an interesting selection of books, and although I've never read them, and possibly never will, (witchcraft wigs me out too much) I have in the past deviated from my usual, predictable, easy reading romances and ventured into the sci/fi genre. Ever read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's, "Lucifer's Hammer"? Great end of civilization as we know it novel. They also co-wrote a freaky alien invasion book called “Footfall.” The aliens looked like elephants. Too cool. Loved them both. Read them over time and again, until their covers fell off the bindings.

Oh, I've also read probably every Star Trek: Original episodes ever written, (from the mid-sixties)most of the Next Generation, and some of the Deep Space Nine. They were written by different authors. Some good, some not so great.

Skinwalkers? (Shudder!) Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I wonder how many women actually do read it?

David J. West said...

Debra-I honestly wouldn't say Hillerman's Skinwalkers was very creepy-I thought it would be, even hoped it would be more so it really wasn't I bet lots of women who like mysterys read him. Its much more mystery than anything.

I've seen all the movies and watched almost all the shows but I have never read a Star Trek novel.

Lucifers Hammer is one I've meant to put in the TBR pile.

Ayishazain said...
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