Discussing the Best Book I’ve Read

*sigh*

The book I’m about to talk about is not on the Amazon list, but I had every intention of making a video for it. Except that I’m sick and I don’t think I could speak loud enough or long enough for y’all to hear me. So, I’ll just write about it here instead.

The book I’m talking about is Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

Before I tell you about the book, I’d first like to say that I don’t label books as the best I’ve read often. I’ve only had three different books hold the top spot, ever. And I was fully convinced that Anne Frank’s diary would remain in that spot for years to come. Until I read this book.

Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Redwing, which took place in 2005 in the mountains of Afghanistan. The goal of the four Navy SEALs who were sent in was to kill a high ranking terrorist. But it went horribly wrong when the SEALs were stumbled upon by local farmers and made the decision to release them without further harm.

This is where I say to not keep reading if you haven’t read the book or perhaps plan on doing so in the  future because I’ll be revealing details. Proceed at your own risk.

The decision to release the farmers came back to bite the members of SEAL Team 10. The terrorists in the area (100-200 men) made their way up the mountain and eventually came upon the SEALs and a firefight ensued. But the SEALs’ communications with HQ could not be established, and the terrain was not conducive for a quick retreat. They repeatedly retreated down the sheer sides of mountains when no other option was available. But ultimately the terrorist fighting force proved too much for the four-man SEAL team, and three men were killed up in those mountains after fighting longer and harder than I can possibly describe here.

Marcus Luttrell became the lone survivor after a local tribe took him in and protected him at all costs.

But let me tell you why this book hit me so hard.


First, I’ve never cried reading any book as much as I cried reading this one. And I’m someone who knew a little about what happened because I’ve seen the movie adaptation that pretty much stuck to the original.

Marcus Luttrell put you in the shoes of a Navy SEAL. We don’t start the book in the mountains of Afghanistan, we start long before that here in the US as he’s training to become a SEAL. He gives insight into the training and mindsets of future SEALs that cannot be understated. He gives readers an idea as to what it takes to become a SEAL and only then does he take you into the fight in Afghanistan.

This story is not a story of death or sadness. It’s the story of the unsung heroes of war who never make it home. Because those three members of SEAL Team 10 were and forever will be heroes, along with every member of our military who died on that mountain trying to save the life of Marcus Luttrell. Those men knew they were going into incredibly hostile territory, but a SEAL Team was in bad shape and help was coming whether it was ideal or not.

This book is not written as a novel. And it’s not meant to be read as one. It’s written as if you’re sitting on the back porch of Luttrell’s Texas home and he’s describing every aspect of being a SEAL and Operation Redwing to you. If you read it accordingly, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll appreciate it like I have.

I told y’all that I’d never forget the dedication page found at the beginning of this book, and I won’t. But I’ll also never forget this book. The story of those men on that mountain will stay with me, forever.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book because of how great I believe it to be. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book if you’re interested in a story about modern war. I’m not going to tell you that you should read this story at all. But I’m glad that I did.

Have you read Lone Survivor yet? What did you think?

You can visit the Amazon product page for the book here.


 

On this day in 2014 I published Keeping a Journal.

The Dedication Page (an update)

Last week I posted about the dedication pages in books. It ended up being even better received than I expected. In that post (which you can view here) I talked about the dedication pages in books I’ve read. And I mentioned that I had yet to come across any really memorable ones. Well that changed just a few nights ago. I even took a picture of the actual dedication because it hit me so hard. Let me show you.20150626_003337The above dedication is from Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor. Yes, Mark Wahlberg starred in the movie adaptation. Guys, when I read this for the first time I had tears in my eyes. I’ve seen the movie, which is what prompted me to buy the book, so I know a little about what happened. I imagine that I’ll know a little more once I finish reading. But read that. Just read it. I’m not going to sit here and say that you SHOULD feel something when you read that, but I know I did. This is the only dedication I’ve ever read from a book that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Sorry guys, I know this isn’t really new content. I really just had to share it.

You can read more about the events that are chronicled in the book here.

Tell me what you think of that dedication up there. I know you have to be thinking something.


On this day in 2014 I published “Write What you Know” or “Write What you Read”.

 

 

The Best of 2014: Books that became movies

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NPR Books

The Best of 2014 is a series of posts in which I talk about a different topic each day this week. Today’s topic will be adaptations. Except today’s post is different. I don’t have a list for you. I’m going to ask what you all think. Because I don’t go to the movies enough to have any idea what the best adaptations of 2014 are.

2014 was no different from other recent calendar years in that there were MANY books adapted into major films. Just a few off the top of my head that were at least fairly well received…Lone SurvivorGone GirlMockingjay Part 1The Theory of Everything, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Maze Runner. I could have named a lot more, but the point of this post isn’t for me to list out random literary adaptations. I want to know which movies adapted from books you enjoyed this year. Sure there’s an inherent bias if the book happened to be written by an author you like, but who cares.

I have two movies in mind that I think are probably the best movies based on books, but that’s just based on reviews and critics. Y’all may think differently. So tell me, which books adapted into movies did you think stood above the rest in 2014?

PS: Lone Survivor was actually released on Christmas day last year, but it received a wide release in January.

Fact or Fiction?

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Last week I think this was one of those daily prompts on here because I saw a number of posts about this particular question that got me thinking. Do I prefer reading fiction over non-fiction or is it the other way around?

Some of the posts I read through took hundreds of words to tell the reader why they liked one or the other or both. I won’t be doing that because it is a very easy question for me to answer. I prefer fiction. And I always will. Why? Because there’s a certain mystery to all fictional stories. A good book will always have you wondering what happens next, right? That quality is absent once you get to reading non-fiction. I own a handful of non-fiction books, literally five, and I know the basic story before I ever start reading. Anne Frank. BTK. Lone Survivor. These are all great books. They’re well written and informative, but reading them just isn’t the same as reading a fictional story. At least not for me.

So tell me, fact or fiction?

Has Hollywood run out of Ideas?

peg1-stars-hollywood-signI can’t say whether it’s a growing trend or if I am just now realizing it, but every year it seems that Hollywood adapts more and more books into major movies. That isn’t to say that the best movies are adapted from books, but sometimes that can be the case. Let’s look at recent theatrical releases.

We all know about the Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight movies, so those won’t be discussed. There have been a number of recent releases that many may not even know come from books. The Wolf of Wall Street, which is a major Oscar contender was adapted from the book written by Jordan Belfort. Lone Survivor, a movie nominated for two Oscars is also adapted from the bestselling book of the same name. These are two examples that I myself didn’t initially realize had been adapted from books. These also both happen to be true stories, but that isn’t always the case. The second movie in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy was just released last December and World War Z was released last summer.

You see, the number of literary adaptations released each year may beg the question, “Has Hollywood run out of ideas?” We already get countless sequels to successful movies anyway, just think any movie starring a comic book character, but studios are relying heavily on authors to bring their books to the big screen in order to cash in. I don’t hate that this is happening because I am of the opinion that authors are the most creative people around, but I’m just wondering at what’s currently happening.

As we look at the number of successful adaptations, we must also look at the number of box office bombs from 2013. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ended its theatrical run with just over $31 million. Ender’s Game has made just $61 million on a budget of $110 million.  The Book Thief made just $21 million. The Host ended its run with just $26 million. And Beautiful Creatures came out with a horrendous $19 million. Suffice it to say that for every major literary adaptation success, there are several that don’t quite make it.

But let’s not forget that the highest grossing movie of 2013 was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with $421 million to date.

Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple of literary adaptations that are expected to make studios a lot of money in 2014. Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. But there are also a number of films that will be adapted that we have no idea how successful they will be. Both The Monuments Men and Vampire Academy will be adapted and released this week, Divergent will be released in March, Fault in Our Stars will be released in June, Gone Girl will be released in October, and then at the end of the year we’ll have the third installments of The Hunger Games and The Hobbit series. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars that have already been spent on these projects that may or may not pan out at the box office.

Quite frankly, the answer to the title of this post is that Hollywood hasn’t run out of ideas because the box office in America continues to thrive. But it is worth asking if their dependence upon bestselling authors is growing. I don’t have the answer to that  and maybe no one does.