Book: Isolate by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
My reading tastes tend to be pretty straightforward. I read non-fiction history, classic British mysteries and science fiction fantasy. I don’t read quite as much sci-fi/fantasy as I used to, but L. E. Modesitt remains one of my favorite authors.
Isolate is the first book in his newest series. It is set in a steampunk world with steamers (steam powered automobiles) and the beginnings of an industrial age. There are empaths who can detect emotions in others and use their feelings to protect or attack, susceptibles who are particularly able to be influenced by empaths, and isolates who are immune to empaths. While not devoid of action, much of the writing focuses around political intrigue and an exploration of issues that face society and government. I definitely enjoy the world building and the exploration of character that Modesitt portrays in this book. This is definitely a book I would recommend for those who enjoy reading intricate fantasy novels.
Available to check out here.
Music: Smash by The Offspring
This is probably my favorite album of all time. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I have always been a huge fan of the pop punk scene. This album started all of that for me. At the time, it was the highest grossing indie album ever, though I had no idea of that. I enjoyed that they sang about real life events but didn’t take themselves too seriously. It has quite a bit of strong language; I remember playing this cassette on the stereo in my room and having to turn it down whenever there was an extended bout of swearing. I don’t listen to The Offspring quite as much as I used to (I have two children with me much of the time), but they definitely remain a favorite.
Available to stream here or any music streaming services.
Hobby: Home Brewing
I really enjoy tasting craft beer and am a huge fan of Central Standard Brewing. However, there is a lot to be said for making something yourself, which is what got me into home brewing. I started simply about 10 years ago as an extract brewer with kits that I purchased online. Extract brewing involves taking a malt syrup extract or powder, boiling it with 3 or so gallons of water on your stove while adding hops and then putting it into a vessel to ferment. When it is done fermenting, you add some sugar and bottle it up. In 4 to 6 weeks you have beer.
I made some good beer this way, but when you are a home brewer you are always looking to up your game. At the start of the pandemic and unable to visit many of our favorite places, my friend and I decided to recommit to home brewing. He has an all grain system in his garage, so we started brewing exclusively on that. We began to develop our own recipes and have produced some excellent beer. While brewing does require a high level of cleanliness and precision, it is definitely a rewarding hobby. It’s a lot of fun to share a beer with your friends and hear, “You brewed this? It’s really good!”
TV Show: Castle
Growing up, I used to watch a show called Murder She Wrote with my mother. We both enjoyed its lighthearted nature and trying to figure out the killer before the reveal.
Fast forward twenty or so years, and my wife introduced me to a show called Castle. Just like Murder She Wrote, it features a mystery writer who solves murders when the police appear to be baffled. The two leads, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, have great chemistry that makes the show fun to watch. I enjoy the witty repartee and discovering who the killer is. True, it’s a bit more intense than Murder She Wrote, but it’s still a fun show. Like many long running TV series, I would definitely saw that the first three seasons are the best, though the series remains fun throughout.
Available to check out the first season here.