J.T. McDaniel Official Website
The Naval Book Review
One of the nearly universal traits of writers is that they read a lot. I'm certainly no exception. My home has always been something of an obstacle course, with stacks of books and magazines piled up in front of full bookshelves. There is always one book sitting in the wire book holder on the kitchen table, with a number of pages inevitably devoured along with each meal. There's usually another book in the bathroom, and often one more by my recliner. At the moment [1/31/05] I'm reading Dick O'Kane's Clear the Bridge in the kitchen, Corwin Mendenhall's Submarine Diary in the bathroom, and Poe on those rare occasions when I flop down in the recliner.
More books surround my computer. These are generally the ones I'm using in my writing, including the standard references. There are a couple of dictionaries, a thesaurus, html guides, several almanacs, and some old Navy training manuals. More work related, my microfiche reader sits right next to the computer monitor, loaded with, at the moment, Cod's fifth patrol report.
Of course, not everything I read relates directly to submarines. I've been a member of the United States Naval Institute for a number of years, and regularly devour each issue of Proceedings when it arrives in my mailbox. Articles on subs aren't at all unusual, but they cover most aspects of naval affairs. And my shelves are filled with computer books, car books, and assorted newspaper cartoon collections, along with quite a bit of fiction.
Not everything in my library is exactly current. From where I'm sitting I can see a user's manual for Lotus Write 2.0, and another user's manual for MS-DOS 4. If it's a book, I have a very hard time throwing it away. (I also have a closet full of old computer parts and obsolete software, which I really do need to clean out one of these days, if only to make room for more junk.)
Since I read a lot, I naturally form opinions on what I read. Some books I find useful, some enlightening and, a very few are just so bad I give up in disgust partway through. I'm not going to review the ones I can't finish, or the ones I find irredeemably awful. I will review some that strike me as being essentially good books, but with flaws.
Most of the books I review are going to have a naval theme, with submarines predominating. Naturally, author's writing within the submarine/naval fields who are looking for reviews should feel free to email me. If it sounds interesting, I'll let you know where to send it.
And the Reading List
This "Reading List" is a list of what I've been reading over the last few months. These aren't linked to reviews, but clicking on the title will take you to where you can get your own copy. If I write a review, of course, I'll move the title up to that list and add a rating. The unlinked books are either out of print, or not currently available from Amazon.com.
The Joy of Work, by Scott Adams
The Submarine: A History, by Thomas Parrish
The Cruel Sea, by Nicholas Monsarrat
Iron Coffins, by Herbert Werner
The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy, by John D. Alden
Why Me?, by Donald E. Westlake
MASH, by Richard Hooker
Debt of Honor, by Tom Clancy
Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy
Dead Solid Perfect, by Dan Jenkins
United States Submarines, by Naval Submarine League
Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days, by Karl Dönitz
Submarine, by Edward L. Beach
Berlin Diary, by William L. Shirer
Fugitive From the Cubicle Police, by Scott Adams
Submarine Diary, by Corwin Mendenhall
Sunday Nights at Seven, by Joan and Jack Benny
Duel of Eagles, by Peter Townsend
Warrior Queens, by Daniel Allen Butler
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, by Eric Hodgins
Eagles of Mitsubishi, by Jiro Horikoshi
Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea, by Daniel V. Gallery
Captain Bligh and Mister Christian, by Richard Hough
Baby, Would I Lie?, by Donald E. Westlake
© 2005, J.T. McDaniel. All rights reserved. Star graphic courtesy of GRSites.com