Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things


I wasn’t much of a reader in my young adult life. I mean, I would read the occasional textbook, newspaper and the back of a cereal box, but I never considered myself a fiction reader. In January 2013, that all changed. I had gone through a transformation of sorts months earlier and one of the things missing in my life was reading fiction.

John Grisham Books (Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
John Grisham Books (Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Stepping back to December 2012, I began reading Nicholas Sparks novels. Given I had lost many loved ones in the preceding months, his novels actually connected with me lending comfort when I needed it the most. I read A Walk to Remember, The Notebook and Message in a Bottle back to back. Somehow, the strange, inexplicable feeling I got when reading his novels translated to a healed soul.

Jumping right back to January 2013, I made a promise to myself to read every single day. I also promised myself I would read John Grisham’s complete bibliography. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Believe me when I say that reading Grisham is no small task.

John Grisham (Photo © David Burnett)
John Grisham (Photo © David Burnett)

The project didn’t start out in chronological order based on publication date, but as time went on it drifted into that pattern. I began with The Firm. I had read the book when it first released and it was my last fiction book before life took over and left me with no time for anything else. From there I burned through Ford County, A Time to Kill, and The Racketeer. At the same time, I was editing my first book in my Ranger Martin series and noticed how everything started coming together quite nicely. My blog was also in its infancy and I drew on Grisham’s stories for inspiration.

Next came The Pelican Brief, Bleachers and The Client. I think this is where my wife and I spent our anniversary on our yearly getaway trip to resort country, an hour north from our town. As surprising as it sounds, we decided the best use of our time would be to relax and read by each other’s side. Amazing what happens when the kids aren’t around for a couple a days. We had fun doing other stuff, too, but when presented with the opportunity for peace and quiet, we were in our element. Who can deny that a good story calms the soul?

By the time summer and early fall rolled around, I had completed the final edit for my book, approved the cover, and sent Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) to the reviewers. At the same time, I had read The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, and I had just started reading A Painted House when my book hit the shelves. That whole period was a blur to me. I still don’t know how I was able to contain my excitement.

Here it is, spring again. At the time of writing this Freedom Friday post, my John Grisham literary love affair continues with me having read Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, The Last Juror, The Broker, and The Innocent Man. I have a few books left and then I will have accomplished my goal of reading John Grisham’s entire bibliography.

What’s next for me after rediscovering the joy of reading fiction? I’m seriously considering Ernest Hemingway. I don’t know. His terse writing appeals to me. And it might even influence my writing. We’ll see what the future holds.


What’s on your bookshelf these days?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

25 thoughts on “Reading

  1. I love to read. I read a book every night before I go to bed. I’m working my way through the Carl Hiassan books right now. On #3, I have a lot to go!

  2. These days, I’ve been working on wrapping up the *finally ended* Sookie Stackhouse series. The series is ending also so I figured its time to pick up the pace. Last book now, should be done tomorrow.

    Ernest Hemingway, eh? That man’s stuff is not for me. It was my college’s first semester English, 8:45am sharp. Didn’t have very fond memories of his stuff… I have For Whom The Bell Tolls, at least I think I do! Do you want it? I’d gladly gift it to you 🙂

  3. I commute to work by train (an hour each way) so I pretty much read every day, it’s a great way to pass the time. Still so many books to get through though!

  4. Bravo! What a challenge to read all that an fellow author has created. I like Michael Crichton myself with “13th Warrior” was a starter book for me.
    If you E. Hemingway my favorite is “The Old Man and the Sea”.
    My shelves hold a diverse range to name a few other authors – Tad Williams, Elizabeth Peters, Jack Whyte, Terry Goodkind, Kim Harrison and Stuart Woods.

  5. I’m a big Grisham fan myself! I think the first book of his I read was A Painted House. I couldn’t put it down! I saw A Time to Kill before I read it (unusually enough for me), But The Chamber remains my favorite- I think my copy I have actually ‘borrowed’ from my dad for almost seven years now and have read it many times.

    What Hemingway book are you delving into first? I was just thinking of reading Farewell to Arms next. When I read fiction I either get on an author kick or genre kick and right now it’s historical fiction.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! =)

    1. I don’t know yet which book I’ll read from Hemingway, but I know I’d read The Old Man and the Sea back in high school. I think I’ll end up reading his stuff like Grisham, in chronological order based on publication date!

  6. Wow, it’s wonderful how much reading you are doing. I haven’t read nearly as many novels this year as last, but I have read poetry. I bet it helps loads with writing novels.

  7. Recently, I’ve decided to read one modern book and then one classic. I’m enjoying it so far – keeps me up to date, but I also get to delve into great works from past centuries.
    As for Hemingway, his tense writing will probably lend itself well for zombie tales.

  8. I don’t know that I’ve ever read Grisham – one to add to the list, for sure! Right now, I’m making my way through Helena Hann-Basquiat’s memoirs, and another e-book, called “Being Human.” I also really want to read “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis” by Andra Watkins. Of course, time is a factor, and when I don’t have any, I at least read a snippet of “the intellectual devotional” so I feel like I’ve at least learned something before I go to bed!

  9. I’ve been an inveterate reader since before I knew what “inveterate” meant. I grew up surrounded by fiction and it was delightful. I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time when I was in the 8th grade, and have read it through a few times since. (In my house, reading Ayn Rand’s bibliography was the thing to do, growing up.)

    I’m so glad you are enjoying your immersion into Grisham’s head. I’m not a Hemingway fan, but do recommend Poe (I’ve read most of his work), Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books, David Weber and his Honor Harrington series, and of course, L.M. Montgomery. 🙂 My husband is a big fan of John Ringo, too.

  10. hi. Thanks for visiting my blog and also for the likes.
    I love reading and the next thing I am gonna do id search for your book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse. I love zombie movies but haven’y read any book on Zombies. I read one of your interviews as well and that has really got me to my feet to pick up your book.
    I also aspire to be a writer. I hope 1 day I also publish a book! Glad to meet you 🙂

  11. i have a huge range of books to be read this year – Alice Munroe short stories, Ender’s Game trilogy (have only read the first one), Divergent Trilogy and if I’m up for it, Game of Thrones. I’m almost done The Secret Garden, a children’s classic which my daughter is reading at school. Most years, I read at least one book from a Japanese author (if reviews show that translations for the work was well received).

    Have you read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams? I think you will like it if you haven’t read it yet – especially if you enjoy British humour. Wasn’t a fan of the movie though – complete let down. But I’ve been fan of the Hitchhiker series for 20 years and have read it over and over again.

    1. I remember Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from my high school days. I remember watching the movie thinking, “I don’t think this is what the author had in mind.” That’s about as far as I went with the book!

      1. One more book I forgot to mention – I bought Ranger Martin last fall and it’s on my list too! 🙂 I feel that it’s a good book for the summer – especially while camping.

  12. John Grisham is an awesome writer. I haven’t read all of his books, but I’ve read most of them. On my Kindle bookshelf, I have mostly AZ stories. I’m going to have to add yours to my bookshelf soon!

  13. I used to be very dismissive of John Grisham without ever reading his books. My Dad, who loved Grisham, reminded me that I shouldn’t judge until I’d read at least one. Wise man- I did and I really enjoyed it. I’ve only read a couple over the last few years but they are incredibly well written and plotted and yes, make for great movies (The Runaway Jury in particular).

  14. Welcome back to the fiction reading world, Jack. 😉
    My bookshelves are so full that we have to switch rooms and buy more shelves. Some authors: Dean Koontz, Graham Greene, Patricia Briggs, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, James Patterson, John Grisham, Joan Aiken, Franck Thiliez, Fred Vargas, Alicia Gimenez Bartlett, etc.
    My Tolino and my Kindle comprise – among other awesome books – Charlotte Gerber’s ‘I Dream of Zombies’ and Jack Flacco’s ‘Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse’.

  15. What a great way to learn about the author, than to read all his books. Great Idea, Jack and Ernest Hemingway is a good as your next bibliography project.. I’ve read every Stephen King, Charles Dickens and Poe book, and it’s really neat to watch as the author evolves in their story telling. I’ve never done Ernest though and maybe I should

  16. A lot of those books are also movies. Do you watch the movies after you’ve read the books? A Walk To Remember and The Client are both great movies…and books! So you have written a zombie novel…I love this genre! And I am running out of Zombie books to read that I like. I will definitely order this up on my kindle.

    1. I’ve actually watched most if not all the movies first, then read the books. Love the differences and the similarities, however I find the books much better. More details, of course!

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