Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I read a lot of good books each year.

That could be because I choose most books from “tried and true” authors. Or it could be that I’m an easy audience. I laugh a lot and keep an easygoing and open mindset. My palate is broad and accepting. Bring on the words and I’ll eat them.

Dark Matter, however, was more than simply good. It was fantastic. Not only is it a page turner, but it makes you sit back and think. Kick around ideas of what is possible. What is important.

The prose is unbelievably tight. Razor sharp. Pleasing. This dude can really, really write his butt off.

Hands down, the best book I’ve read in 2017. Two huge thumbs up, five glowing stars, and all of that.
Superb work, Mr. Crouch!!

Dad Jokes

When dropping off my kids at school today, I lowered my window and said loudly, “Go get your learn on!”

They pretended not to hear me.

I chuckled to myself the entire drive home. It truly is the little things in life that amuse me. Yes, I’m a silly guy who laughs at most everything.

Last year, my youngest daughter was in 5th grade and I made an effort to go to lunch with her at school least once every two weeks. That is no easy feat when you’re working full time, but it was so worth it.

Well, the other day I asked my now 6th-grade daughter what she would think about me coming to have lunch with her. She made this really awkward face, sort of like a grimace.

Man! Now that she’s in middle school, everything has changed?

So … since I couldn’t have lunch with her, I chaperoned the middle school dance instead. Ha ha! That’ll show them to mess with their old man.

Okay, time for me to pull something out of the oven. Have a great night world & happy reading!


Review: New York 2140

A review of New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

A very interesting book!

I saw this one on the “NEW” shelf at my public library, and I grabbed it up without having a clue what it was about.

You can read the description, but the gist is that it’s set in a future New York when the sea level has risen by 50 feet worldwide. Instead of abandoning those towering buildings, the future New Yorkers have waterproofed lower levels in many skyscrapers, and now instead of streets between the buildings, there are canals. Maybe like Venice, Italy.

I really liked the idea. Fairly original and clever. I also enjoyed the people and how they cope with this change.

The reasons I think of it as 4 stars instead of 5:

First, there is too much unneeded descriptive commentary and narration. I skimmed about 10% of the book … barely glossing over it to make sure I didn’t miss something important. Hemingway would not approve. Second, I thought one of the key characters was a little too quirky to be realistic.

Still a very fun read, though, and I would encourage SCI-FI people to give it a try.


Sonic Tickles

We were at the dentist the other day, and the technician gushed about how awesome sonic toothbrushes were for kids with braces, and everyone else in the universe, and how we would be crazy not to own some ourselves. Just angle it 45 degrees at the gum lines and the plaque disappears like turkey dinner in my house.

So I bought some.

It was only $20 for mine, and my son’s upgraded model was $30 with online coupons, courtesy of that online behemoth commonly known as Amazon.

I was eager to test this puppy out, but I had to wait through a twenty-four hour charging period. And, I’m a rule follower, so I didn’t cheat. A full day after arrival, I dampened the bristles and put my pea-sized dollop of toothpaste on the brush and put it in my mouth. Hit the button.

The whirring and vibrating began in earnest. What a strange feeling! Not bad, but different. Oh, man, and then the little bristles glanced off of my lip.

It was the craziest tickling sensation. Have any of you out there felt it? Experienced it? It’s been three days, and I guess I am getting used to it, but I’m not sure. It’s so weird. So weird.

My teeth feel polished and clean, though. Which was the point. So if my teeth are healthier, I guess I can deal with the strange tickling sensation.

I posted a link to the toothbrush I bought below, if you’d like to check it out. Pretty cool. Very cheap. Take note … replacement heads are needed every few months.

As always … happy reading & keep a good book handy!

Always Tired

This is for all you parents out there who have had one of your kids come to you at 9:30pm and tell you they have homework due the next day.

You have no realistic choice except to stay up and make sure they get it done. Some lecturing is fine, if desired. You know, the standard, “you should have done this earlier” type speech.

Maybe you have five or six hours of sleep, maximum, which is possible after that last-minute flurry of homework helping.

But it’s cool. In the end, it’s just darn great to be a parent and have amazing kids.

Hope you all have your hands wrapped around a good book – happy reading,


Dad Stories, New Release, and Deals

Procrastinators unite … tomorrow!

Readers of the world, however, unite today. I just finished up another newsletter in which I share some stories of fatherhood, and some sales ongoing. I’d love for you to check it out and share some of your own dad tales.


or click the cover of CIRCUS below.

Hope you have an awesome day!


Circus: A Quartet of Shorts

Hello, World!

I’ve got a new batch of short stories available on Amazon. Click on the book to check it out. They’re short, but fun, IMO.

Hope you are all staying safe in this season of horrible weather.

As always, be safe, and keep a book handy!


Free Short Story: TOTAL ECLIPSE

Hello Readers,

In a burst of ECLIPSE fueled inspiration, I carved out a short story about a guy named Barry who is less than enthusiastic about the eclipse. Maybe for good reason. Email me (bart@barthopkins.com) and I will shoot you a copy for your Kindle … FREE!

Many thanks for stopping by and trying out Total Eclipse! And, as always, keep a good book nearby … and happy reading!

– Bart

Fluke is spreading its wings

Howdy … just a quickie to mention that Fluke is now available across multiple platforms:¬†https://www.books2read.com/u/bMGKJ7

David Elliott and I wrote Fluke during our deployments to Bosnia, at the turn of the century. It’s the first major piece of writing I finished and it will always be special to me for that reason. Otherwise, it’s a pretty quirky read. People generally love it or hate it, as cliche as that is.

Hope you all have a good book nearby!


Living the Writer's Life