Books On My Reading List This Week – February 22, 2022

Read Along with Me

My reading list this week is a mix of a little bit of everything. I’m making wonderful progress on my ‘Want to Read’ list on Goodreads and my TBR cart is down to a shelf and a half. I get a lot of the usual questions about why I read so much. There are a couple of answers to this.

The first is, as a writer, reading is like an internship. It’s an opportunity to learn from fellow writers. It’s a way to experience how other writers structure their storytelling, develop their characters, etc. The second is an opportunity to broaden my worldview, seek to understand experiences that differ from my own. And finally, I just really enjoy reading. So let’s get to this week’s book selections.

The first book on my list is Masada by Shimon Avish. This is an action and adventure story set against the backdrop of the destruction of the second

Temple in Jerusalem. Next up, I’m looking forward to finally getting to Jerry Seinfeld’s Is This Anything?. I’ll also be listening to the audiobook edition of A Woman of No Importance, the story of an American spy during World War II. And the final book on my list for the week is one I received in a monthly subscription box for writers. It’s been on my shelf for quite a while. This is a book I didn’t select for myself so I’m thinking of reading One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow as a blind date with a book. I’m hoping this form of blind date goes better than my experience with the other form of blind dates. But we’ll see how it goes.

Join the conversation! Tell me your thoughts on any of your favorites on this week’s list in the comments.

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Books This Week

Masada: Thou Shalt Not Kill by Shimon Avish
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When 18-year-old Daniel is abducted by Sicarii assassins and taken to their walled fortress of Masada, he’s forced to let go of the Jewish Law he’s learned from his parents and to adopt his kidnappers’ code of violence and thievery, simply to stay alive.

Wracked with guilt but determined to survive, Daniel becomes part of the Sicarii culture, even marrying one of their soldier’s sisters. Between violent raids against neighboring settlements to prevent starvation and being called upon to commit suicide along with all the other Sicarii residents rather than be enslaved by invading Roman forces, Daniel is faced with choice after choice that test his character, strength, and resolve and push him to discover the kind of man he wants to be.

Set against the backdrop of the last confrontation between the Jews and Romans during the Second Temple period, author Shimon Avish masterfully weaves together history and his real-life experiences in the army and as a kibbutznik, bringing to life a painful chapter in Jewish history through the eyes of young Daniel.

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Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old college student in fall of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. “Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas, the big yellow legal pad, I kept it in one of those old school accordion folders,” Seinfeld writes. “So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth.”

For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favorite material, organized decade by decade. In this “trove of laugh-out-loud one-liners” (Associated Press), you will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.

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A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
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In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall–an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.

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One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

Wyoming, 1876. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.

Click the image to find it on Amazon

Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family—to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde—no longer a boy, but not yet a man—who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.

Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other—or else risk losing everything they hold dear.


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