My Reading List

I keep a stack of books and magazines on the nightstand next to my bed.  I intend to finish them all but invariably end up skimming some, crawling through others, and finishing only the best.

I decided that it was time I share my reading list with all of you.  If you’re interested in the same things I am (RPGs, fantasy, sci-fi, tech, politics, history, etc.) then I think most of my recommendations won’t fall on deaf ears.  If you love to read, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s start with my absolute favorite this month, a book that was meant to be only a reference or brief read but is turning into something much more than that.

The Kobold Guide to Game Design – Volume 1: Adventures

5/5 stars

Although I have been writing adventures for over 20 years I feel there is always more to learn, especially in fields you believe you have mastered.  Thus, I purchased the Kobold Guide to Game Design – Volume 1: Adventures.

I expected some good details on adventure construction, perhaps a step by step with a few pointers.  What I got was a detailed instructional that reads more like a fantastic story.  Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down!   People usually say such things only regarding novels, and this is the first “guide” I have ever found worthy of that phrase.  Do you find your mind wandering as you read a good book?  Do you get lost when a word triggers an idea that grows and flowers?  Before you know it you are 3 pages ahead and haven’t actually absorbed a single word because you were so lost in your own daydream!  This book inspires and I believe encourages this type of free thought.  I love that the authors provide a basic structure with loose ideas and some suggestions and concepts.  There isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” way to build an adventure, but there are perils and pitfalls- things to be avoided, and things to water and let grow.

The book is crafted by such creative greats as Wolfgang Baur and Ed Greenwood.  I’ve followed Ed Greenwood since the grey Forgotten Realms boxed set from the golden days of gaming and was very pleased to see his ideas incorporated into the book.  I did notice that by hosting numerous authors that the flow seemed a bit off.  That is my only complaint, and a very small one at that!

This book will stick with me for many years to come.  I have found a book that while serving as an invaluable reference also serves as a good read for game masters and developers alike.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for readability, creativity, and concept!


Inc. Magazine – September issue

1/5 stars

This month’s issue of Inc. Magazine was so jam packed full of advertising, inserts, and subscription renewal forms I couldn’t find the magazine!  Supposedly this issue focused on the fastest growing top 500 companies in the US.  After 3 unsuccessful tries to flip through the magazine and reading only a couple articles I tossed it to the wayside under a giant stack of preferable reading material.  This format is a perfect example of why paper format magazines are failing.  The old school Dragon magazine had the best format- all pages the same thickness with ads printed on the occasional backside of a page.  The ads were relevant to the material contained within the story.  Why can’t magazine companies grasp this concept?

I give this magazine 1 out of 5 stars for useless advertising and irritating inserts!


PC Magazine – September issue

3/5 stars

This month’s issue of PC magazine focuses on tips and tricks for your phone, laptop, and other tech gizmos.  Although these tips were cool I found half of them to be useless and the other half to be already known by the nerd community at large.  There were a few really good articles though and I generally find this magazine to be a pretty good read without a lot of fluff.  Straight forward articles that aren’t afraid to talk about downloading Torrents or other “taboo” web activities- my kind of people!

I gave this month’s issue 3 out of 5 stars for decent tips for newbies to the tech world, and brave journalists who aren’t afraid to write about the real dirt on the net.


The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text

5/5 stars

Lately I have been doing a lot of research regarding the Mayan calendar.  My search led me deep into the past and a theory which many may ridicule me for proposing.  It seems that long ago we were visited by aliens who manipulated the DNA of a primate and combined it with their own.  They created us in their image as slaves to work for them until they were able to leave this planet.  Their spaceship floated upon the water and was called Atlantis within which was what we called “the Garden of Eden”.  The snake represents DNA.  Call me crazy, but many old world cultures sport imagery of aliens, space craft, and advanced technology.  The double helix of DNA also makes a surprising number of appearances and landing strips for space craft as well as perfectly constructed stone blocks engraved by lasers dot our landscape.  To argue against the physical evidence is ludicrous.

Thus, I have delved into many of the ancient texts reading them in a new light.  One of these ancient texts was the Masoretic Text.  Long ago the Masoretic Text was translated into the old testament and then the new testament.  The people in charge of each translation are far from trustworthy sources and have ties with the Freemasons.  (I have been researching this secret society- or rather society of secrets as well and have found many connections to our history through symbolism used by this powerful group.)

Reading the Masoretic Text in it’s most basic translation sheds some light on key words like “god” actually being originally written as “gods” or “angels” both of which are interchanged on a number of occasions.  When you read this book interchanging “Alien” with “God” or “Angel” and DNA with “Serpent” a whole new world opens up in your mind.  A world much like our own- where truth truly is stranger than fiction.

The Masoretic Text gets 5 out of 5 stars for historical relevance to best of our ancestor’s ability.  It is not only what they wrote, but how it is interpreted that is important!


Nerd Girl (a blog)

4/5 stars

I stumbled upon her blog by accident, but found myself reading for quite awhile.  Could this be the female superhero version of NERD TREK?  I believe so!

Stephanie Robesky provides honest opinions and nerdy insight into applications, movies, and even her favorite coffee.  She doesn’t hold back and speaks her mind which is something I appreciate and encourage.  I think this blog is going to be a regular read of mine.  “Nerd Girl” will go quite nicely with a cup of Starbucks and a cinnamon roll in the AM.  Yes, Nerd Girl- I too am not ashamed to drink Starbucks despite the stigma and social pressure to drink the corner coffee stand’s locally raised organic blend.

I give Stephanie Robesky’s “Nerd Girl” blog 4 out of 5 stars for honesty and a very clean looking site!



Let me know if you enjoyed this post and I’ll continue to keep you all apprised of my adventures in the world of books, media, and magazines!

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.