My 2017 List of Books Read

My 2017 Reading List

2017 was a busy year for me and my family. We had a lot going on and kept ourselves quite busy. So busy, in fact, I didn’t get much hiking done and made no progress on my goal to complete the entire 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, although I spent some time on and around it. I just didn’t hike any new terrain; just repeated some that I had done previously.

But I digress.

Today, we’re talking about reading and the books I read and enjoyed in 2017. Here’s the list:

Jet – #.5 – Ops Files by Russell Blake 225 pages
Jet #2 – Betrayal by Russell Blake 239 pages
Total 464 pages
Damage Control by Robert Dugoni 406 pages
Total 406 pages
Breakthrough – Breakthrough #1 by Michael Grumley 324 pages
Total 324 pages
The Lost Hero – Heroes of Olympus #1 by Rick Riordan 557 pages
Leap – Breakthrough #2 by Michael Grumley 484 pages
Off Guard by . . . Me 471 pages
Total 1512 pages
Smart Social Media for Authors by Chris Syme 187 pages
Total 187 pages
Catalyst – Breakthrough #3 by Michael Grumley 438 pages
Total 438 pages
The Son of Neptune – Heroes of Olympus #2 by Rick Riordan 521 pages
Total 521 pages
Total for 2017 = 10 Books 3852 pages

As you can see, I started and made progress on a couple of series. The “Heroes of Olympus” series by Rick Riordan I am reading with my nine-year-old son who has taken an interest in the Percy Jackson books, which has rubbed off on me. I find them fascinating. Not that I liked or ever studied Greek or Roman mythology, but I am intrigued that either Mr. Riordan has spent way too much time studying the topic or has done an excellent job of making up a lot of really compelling and well-connected hogwash.

I also started reading the “Breakthrough” series by Michael Grumley, a guy I met and spent some time with in February. He’s a really nice guy who is a down-to-earth father and family man and full-time author – three qualities I aspire to. These books are long on plausible science-fiction-y imagination driven by a storyline that has some octane in it. I found them the kind of books that made me wonder at some of the possibilities he presents and where technology could someday take us in terms of our abilities to communicate with other species. While driving, my mind would be occupied by a bunch of “what-ifs” that Mr. Grumley had spun together in this series. I like that. It kept me awake on some of those long stretches of highway.

Late in 2016, a friend of mine turned me on to Russell Blake and his hard-hitting style. His stories are fast-moving tales of heroics by the highly-skilled and ever-intriguing female Mossad agent code named Jet. She’s a brilliant character. Human on the inside in term of her thoughts, motivations, and feelings while being super-human in her instincts, reflexes, and operational skills. Mr. Blake has me living on the edge of plausibility as I’m rapidly turning the pages, but it’s good entertainment. I warn you: the bodies pile up in masses as Jet moves from one sticky situation to another. But if you like thrillers like the Bourne series or Jack Reacher as I do, you’ll enjoy these books.

And, of course, since I spent hours and hours of my time writing the third book in my own action series, I had to count “Off Guard” as one of the books I read in 2017. Truth be known, I probably read it half a dozen times or more in 2017 just trying to get it right. So, if you included all those reads, my page count for the year would be much higher.

I started off 2018 with a bang, rifling through several more of the “Jet” series in January. They’re fairly short and easy to read, so I burn through them quickly. They’re also highly suspenseful and once you’re into the character and her unfolding story, you have to keep reading to find out what sort of scrape she’ll be into and out of next.

Stay tuned and I’ll update you on my January 2018 reads.

Thanks for spending some time with here with me.

Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been reading lately.



Why I Like Yard Work

Why I like working in the yard

Joy or Chore?

Yardwork. The very thought makes some people cringe and want to run for the hills. Other people love it so much they build it into their daily routine. Many of the rest of us are fairly hit or miss. We want the nicely mowed, trimmed, and raked yard. Manicured. That’s the word they use, Continue reading “Why I Like Yard Work”

Why I like to drive

After my last post, you might think that I am completely opposed to being cooped up in a coupe or sequestered in a sedan. The truth is that is not the truth. Most of the time, I enjoy driving quite a bit for several reasons.

Down Time

Driving is a multi-purpose activity. It gets us where we want to go and can be exhilarating in the process. Now, when you say “exhilarating,” most people think that involves speed. It can, sure. But, for me, it usually involves music, conversation, thinking time, or a combination of the three. In other words, its time where I try not to be embroiled in managing people or situations or checking tasks off my list. Driving time can be, if you work at it, a little bit of “me time.” Continue reading “Why I like to drive”

Why I love the outdoors

Why I love the outdoors

First Memory in the Outdoors

Not long ago, my brothers and my dad and I were sitting around reminiscing. Our family has always enjoyed outdoor adventures and has spent a fair amount of time camping and hiking and canoeing. During that stroll down memory lane, my dad recalled a father’s and son’s campout we attended with a group from church. According to him, I was about three and we camped at Franklin Canyon, set back in the Santa Monica mountains beyond Beverly Hills. I don’t remember much, but I do remember that I enjoyed following my older brothers as we went exploring. I also liked sleeping under the stars hearing the wind in the trees.

Continue reading “Why I love the outdoors”

Why I Hike

The Physical

I like to hike. It’s good exercise and it’s a good way to get “out there,” wherever that may be. Sometimes, a hike starts at the foot of the hill a block away from my house. Other times, I travel hundreds of miles after months of planning and preparation and training. Either way, it’s a great way to see something other than the inside of an office or a house or a car.

Hiker on Trail

Continue reading “Why I Hike”

Why I Write

Two words: Backspace and Delete.

These vital tools are not available to us when we speak. We all like to express ourselves, but not all of us have the impromptu elegance or instinctively savvy tongue we’d like. Sometimes things come out of our mouths wrong.  Often, we’re in a hurry to just get it out, to be heard. We can’t always think clearly or properly before we speak and when we do, we don’t always think right or carefully or all the way through to the conclusion. Emotions get in the way and without the ability to backspace and delete, our words get us in trouble far too often.

Communicating Effectively

Effective communication is only achieved when the one receiving the message understands the meaning of the message the sender intended to send.

Continue reading “Why I Write”

Why I read

Why I Read

I suppose I’m like most readers. I find that getting lost in a really good book is a fantastic way to escape.

“Escape.” That is the most common word used by reading junkies to explain their addiction.  We want a diversion, a chance to wander off into a different place without the hassle of packing and traveling.

Most of us read with the hopes that we’ll be carried away from our ordinary, stressful, and/or mundane lives – away from what we’re used to and into a place we find exhilarating because it’s new and different. It seems we want to be somewhere else, doing something else.  Reading a book can do that for us as a well-told story unfolds with each page we turn.

Are our lives really that bad?

Probably not.  At least, not in most cases.  A majority of us readers would report that we are quite content with our lives. We love the people in them and we are grateful to be alive. But very few of us have everything we want or can do anything we want. Perhaps that is why we read.

Why do we want to escape?

Because it’s nice to. Because reading transforms our minds into a movie screen, a vehicle, and a time machine – sometimes all three simultaneously.  As the words create images on that screen, we see, feel, and experience something previously unconsidered or, at least, presented in a such a way that we are transported away from what we know into a setting we have never before seen, felt, or imagined. We’re whisked away to a new place that has been created for our minds to explore. We meet new people and get to know them. We hate some of them because they are “bad” and we love others because they are “good” or because we can relate to them. That’s the fun in it. We experience something different and go on a journey with someone new without disrupting our real lives.


Even if it’s only temporary, the escape releases endorphins – those little bubbles of happy chemicals manufactured in our brain. They promote a sense of well-being. Reading a good book does more than just engage our brains, it makes them function better. It changes our mood and our mindset.

Reading expands our minds, our imaginations, our hopes, and, therefore, our potential. It makes us realize that there is more out there—and there’s more inside of us—than we might realize. Furthermore, if we’re reading the right kinds of stuff, it will uplift us and inspire us to some degree. But, reader beware. Find material that will help your mind grow and your imagination soar in positive ways. Don’t canker it with filth and negativity. Fill your mind with good things and watch how that will improve almost every other facet of your life. Good begets good. Positive energy creates more positive energy.

Reading is like eating for the thinker. Healthy food equals healthy body, right? Along that same line, good reading makes good brain.

That’s why I read.

Leave a comment below and tell me why you like to read. 

For more about the benefits of reading, see: