Books and Stories: Tackling the TBR Pile One Title at a Time

(C) 2015 Oxford University Press

It’s early afternoon here in my small corner of Florida on this last day of Summer 2020. My blinds and curtains are closed, so my study is perhaps darker than it ought to be. Even so, the weather here is still “summery,” as it’s partly sunny and humid (66%) outside. Per my PC’s weather app, the temperature beyond the walls is 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius), but with the amount of moisture in the air and a stiff lake wind effect breeze blowing from the east-northeast at 20 MPH/33 KPH, it feels like it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). I can feel occasional ripples of heat wafting across the floor, so even though we have the air conditioning on, some of that hot air still seeps into the house.

I did a little bit of reading earlier to get my mind off things. Not much; just a few pages from Peter Caddick-Adams’ Snow & Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-1945,a massive 928 hardcover tome about Adolf Hitler’s “last gamble” counteroffensive in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg. This was the largest battle in the history of the U.S. Army, with over 600,000 GIs involved by the time it ended in January 1945 and is remembered 76 years later as the “Battle of the Bulge” due to the shape of the salient formed by the German attack on battle situation report maps.

I’ve only read part of a chapter I chose at random; I usually do this with newer books to see if I’m going to like it or not. I have three other books on the same battle, so reading a chapter at random wouldn’t have “spoiled Snow & Steel for me.

I still have to finish the epilogue to Ian W. Toll’s Twilight of the Gods. If I can just get my mind to chill for a bit, I might do that in a bit.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on

That’s about all I have done today as far as reading is concerned; I’ve been busy writing and trying to figure out how in the world I am going to keep sane over the next few months. I weary of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sick of the political divisiveness in the country and the world, and I’m just sad and disillusioned by people in general.

Hopefully I’ll snap out of this state of mind and get back into the swing of things, at least as far as writing fiction and new scripts for my friends Juan and Adria in NYC. In the meantime, I’ll just put on some classical music on my Amazon Music app and listen to Mozart, Brahms, Rodrigo, or Barber.

And if that doesn’t help, I’ll just wander to the living room and read for a while on the couch.

Speaking of scripts, if you haven’t seen Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss yet, here it is in all of its low-budget, shot-in-NYC-before-the-pandemic glory. I can’t take credit for all of the elements that make it an enjoyable “film about today,” but I did come up with the original concept and I wrote several drafts of the screenplay.


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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