ENTERTAINMENT: #FiveBooks I'm Excited to Finish

2017 is supposed to be the year that I simply have my nose into a book more. Those authentic pages, scented stale from another time, torn by fulfilling their very purpose, discolored from their longevity...I enjoy a good read. These past few years I've seemed to have forgotten that about myself. So, I wanted to share with you five books currently on my actual shelf that I'm extremely excited to start and complete--from graphic novels to textbook classics. (Affiliate links included--follow them to find your copies of these excellent books!)


1) Gundam THE ORIGIN Vol. 4 by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

Mobile Suit Gundam, as you should know by now, is my favorite anime of all time, debuting in April 1979 in Japan as a television series, and retooled as a movie trilogy released in 1981 and concluding in '82. With the manga series THE ORIGIN, author Yasuhiko (with special thanks to English translator Melissa Tanaka) yet again retells the the epic story of the One Year War and the follows the young crew of the Earth Federation battleship White Base, carrying its precious cargo of three prototype mobile suits through South America always with their enemies, the Zeons, on their tales. 

The illustration and hyper-exaggerated expressions of the characters adds fire to the emotions first seen in the television series and films, and seeing these situations on page, and in a new perspective, really help to add a fresh saltiness to the giant-robot adventures that have been on repeat for almost forty years. The American releases of Gundam THE ORIGIN have the most beautiful branding I've ever seen in an anime, from the cover art taken directly from the Japanese releases, to the hard cover that makes the book feel extremely special and beyond rich. Even for manga fans who aren't keen on, or understand much about, Gundam, THE ORIGIN has the heart, humor, violence, and action that will keep you sucked in throughout the entire saga. I have Volumes 1, 2, and 3 on my shelf, and have read and thoroughly enjoyed them all. Volume 4 is currently not disappointing me whatsoever.


2) Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book is crazy. In just a few chapters in, author Hill nails down some of those most basic but brilliant steps in mindset readjustment to conquer laziness and enjoy the fruit of results. Hill is no-nonsense on the approach; the Laws of Success aren't ancient fairy tales to be scoffed off. He proves each point of his principles with real-life tales of the millionaires of his day, include Andrew Carnigie, Henry Ford, and good ol' Thomas Edison.

I started the book last year and got distracted, and I think now is a better time than ever to get back on the bandwagon. I purchased a special edition of the book at Barnes & Nobles but can now find it at an even cheaper price thanks to Amazon. No entrepreneur, business leader, self-starter, or serious ladder-climber should be without this book. It isn't a spell-book, and only promises the wisdom that actually sees results, reminding us of the drive we've all been born with, pre-conditioned to believe we've all been born without, and encouraging fierce action to attain or reattain that fire. This book is much more about mindset than money, and from what I've gathered so far, taking its principles seriously will do far from hinder one's success as an entrepreneur. 


3) This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti

One of the most powerful, world-renowned books in Christian fiction is laying on my shelf. I probably have about four chapters left until the end of the book, and for the life of me I have no idea why I have not finished this book (or started its sequel, which I also own). The concept of spiritual warfare is one I thoroughly believe in, so reading about the invisible war between the angels and demons over the behaviors, attitudes, and ultimately the souls of the book's human main characters hits home for me. Even readers of a different faith, or of no faith, can certainly appreciate Peretti's wit, humor, and realistic reactions for the characters who act as the core of the tale in a small town called Ashton.

The novel has been described as both a thriller and a tale of horror. Vivid descriptions of inner monologues and prayer heavily influence the invisible battles around them; exorcisms are as violent as the demons struck by them; and the sinister plot is just thick enough to keep any avid reader interested. There is no reason I should have ever blown this book off, even if it were for another book. I'm coming back to this book not just because I believe in the unseen it describes, but because Peretti simply has a way about him that pens down the soul of the confused and downtrodden, searching for meaning and purpose. We've all been there, and this book doesn't contain the weight of the Bible nor the condemning pressure of a screaming fire-and-brimstone pastor to reach that point. At the end of the day, it's simply an excellent story. 


4) The Pitt by John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, Sal Buscema, and Stan Drake

Released way back in 1987--two years before I was born--I've been reading The Pitt since I was a child. My very love for comic books had its genesis in two giant plastic tubs full at least three hundred old comics from the 80's and 90's that my late uncle passed on to my older brother and I when we were just kids. We didn't know much about the characters and storylines back then, but we read and reread The Pitt numerous times. I still have it. And I began to read it again last night. Back in '86, see, Marvel was trying something new by introducing a new imprint of the label called New Universe, which saw a world totally separate from the mainstream Marvel universe, containing none of its characters. It introduced a brand-new line-up of superheroes and villains, omitted most characters of a galactic, mythical, or mystical nature or background, and kept their day-to-day adventures relatively grounded in a hardened real-life Earth. Then the Pitt came along.

The story only started to make actual sense to me the last night. I had a difficult time explaining it to my wife, as it had no recognizable Marvel heroes, and a strange, fast-paced story about how The Witness was present as Star Brand completely destroyed Pittsburgh. Colonel Browning is sent into the mysterious "Pitt"--the colloquial name for the crater made as the aftermath of Pittsburgh's sudden and frightening obliteration--and his subordinate, Spitfire, who goes rogue in order to find survivors. So, who is The Witness? Star Brand? Browning? Spitfire? You'll have to read the Pitt, I guess, to find out. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was worth the read...if you're into old graphic novels.


5) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

So I saw the movie first...whatever. I own the book (technically my wife does) and it's just sitting there. Staring. Begging to be read. Even though I know exactly what happens to every freak in the narrative....and the "happy" ending (which has a brand new meaning, thanks to Neil Patrick Harris). The book already begins so promising but I haven't gone much further into it because, just in case I would watch the movie, I actually preferred to experience it on the silver screen first. And honestly, I'm glad that I did. This first-person mystery-thriller did not disappoint in the slightest, but the book brings that first-person perspective to a brand new level.

As  far as reading for leisure goes, what books are you going through and excited to wrap up??