Since I posted about my To Be Watched (TBW) list for late January yesterday, today I decided to do a quick update to my current To Be Read (TBR) list for the same period. (I would have preferred to review Code-Name Downfall, but my brain balks at the prospect of doing that now.)
The Impediments to My Progress with the TBR Stack
Keep in mind that my reading habits have changed since I moved here from Miami, and before that, they had already been turned topsy-turvy by my mom’s failing health and eventual death in the half-decade between May 2010 and July 2015.
Back then, the challenge I faced was finding a balance between my caregiving responsibilities, the daily grind of running a household for the first time, and making time for self-care, rest, and recreation to maintain my sanity.
Here, the situation is less stressful and certainly not as demanding, but I still have not found a comfortable place to read that combines a nice place to either sit or recline with a book and the proper amount of ambient light.
Add to that my bad habit of staying at my desk far longer than necessary and my lack of enthusiasm for going out to the park to read, so I can’t say that I am blameless in this “I don’t read as much as I used to” situation.
Regardless, I do try to get some reading done every day, just not in the same way I used to back in South Florida.
My Current TBR Stack
Since I last did one of these TBR-related posts (on December 29, 2022), I haven’t made much progress with my reading list except for the two books about Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese Home Islands that was scheduled to begin with Operation Olympic (the landings on Kyushu) around November 1, 1945 and were projected to end with Operation Coronet (the landings on Honshu near Tokyo) in March of 1946.
The invasion of Japan, thankfully, was canceled after the Japanese Supreme War Council, reeling from the twin shocks of two atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union’s entry into the Pacific War on August 9, 1945, agreed to surrender unconditionally after the Allies, led by the United States, guaranteed that Emperor Hirohito would not be dethroned or charged with war crimes. Japan’s announcement and a public speech by Hirohito on August 15 that it accepted the terms of the Potsdam Conference thus ended most of the preparations for Olympic, thus saving millions of American and Japanese lives that would have otherwise been lost.
I have long been fascinated by Operation Downfall. So much so that I have four books (three non-fiction works by military historians, and one novel, The Burning Mountain) that cover the various aspects of the invasion that never happened.
I am not currently reading The Burning Mountain, which was written by Army Air Force veteran and novelist Alfred Coppel and published in 1983 (the year that I graduated from high school). However, since I acquired Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan – and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb by Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, and D.M. Giangreco’s Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 late last fall, I have from them almost every day.
In addition to the Downfall Duo, I still have two more books about military history on my TBR list, although I have not made much progress with either Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War, 1945-1960 by James D. Hornfischer and Peter Caddick-Adams’ Fire & Steel: The End of World War Two in the West. I do, from time to time, read bits and pieces from the former, but I’ve put the latter in the Florida room and almost always forget to read it. I might even have to start over since I don’t remember how far along I was in it.
I’ve also read half of Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls, which is part of the author’s Pop Shakespeare series and reimagines Tina Fey’s script for Mean Girls (2004) as a five-act stage comedy written by the Bard of Avon in Elizabethan times. It’s funny, inventive, and witty, and it makes me appreciate the film, which was directed by Mark Waters and produced by Saturday Night Live creator/producer Lorne Michaels, even more.
It pains me to say this as a Star Wars fan, but I have not made a lot of progress with Mike Chen’s Brotherhood, a novel set immediately after Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and showcases the relationship between Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newly-anointed Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker at the start of the Clone Wars. It’s not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination; I just don’t make the time to read it, even though in theory I could. At this point, I might as well start over with Brotherhood, just as I will have to do with Fire & Steel.
I am not planning to add any books to my TBR list soon; I am not doing so well with the current one, so why complicate matters, right?
Well, that’s all I have to say for today, so I’ll just close here. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, healthy, and warm, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.