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Behind The Curtain Of 101 Books

I was looking at my About Me page recently and realized that it was pretty light on content. Not much there.

Honestly, that’s purposeful. When I started the blog, my goal was—and still is—to make 101 Books about the books, not me. This isn’t a personal blog. It’s a niche blog on a very specific subject.

Throughout, I might share a few tidbits about my life here and there, if it fits within the context of the post, but that’s about as far as I’ve gone.

Along the way, I try and spark discussion and maybe provide you with a little tidbit or interesting aspect of a novel that you never knew or thought about—something that I probably just learned myself.

All that said, there is a dude who writes this blog. That dude is me. Or is it me is that dude? Or maybe I am that dude. Yes that’s it.

So the blog’s grown and all that over the last two years, and I figure it’s only fair to let all of you who read this thing every day to at least know a little bit about me—more than the short sentence on the About Me page.

So, here goes.

I’m a guy. I’m 36. I like books. I’m married. I have a little boy. He’s 2. He likes Thomas the Train and Lightning McQueen. He’s a budding Joycean scholar as well.

I live in Nashville (awesome city), by way of Atlanta (great city, but way too much traffic).

This blog, and the reading that goes with it, is my evening job. During the day, I work as a web writer for a guy named Dave Ramsey.

He has a nationally syndicated radio show, about personal finance, and has written a couple of New York Times best-sellers. Basically, we help people get out of debt and drop their credit cards like a bad habit. At my day job, I write articles like this and this and this.

I like to run, at least now. I used to hate it. Three-and-a-half years ago, I had never run more than 2 miles at one time. Now, I’ve run one full marathon and 5 half marathons.

I spent three weeks in law school. I hated it, dropped out, and got a second bachelor’s degree in English. Best decision I ever made. You might have heard the saying “Quitters never win”? That’s nonsense. I would much rather cut my losses and quit, than “save face” while doing something I hated.

I’m a pretty hard-core sports fan—especially college football and the NFL—where I cheer for the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Falcons. If you’re a Florida Gator, you’re only marginally welcome on this blog. That’s a joke.

I’ve been known to play a round or two of golf. Actually, growing up, I wanted to be a pro golfer. I once hit a man in the center of the back with a golf ball. True story. You can read about it in this book. Maybe that’s why I’m not a pro golfer.

I’m a Christian. I don’t mention that often because that’s not the point of the blog, but does my faith impact my opinion on certain novels? Probably. So there’s that.

I’d rather eat my own finger than eat at McDonald’s, and politicians make me only slightly less nauseous than McDonald’s food. I often eat edamame and Diet Dr. Pepper for breakfast.

I once vowed to never vote for a politician who ran negative campaign ads. That hasn’t turned out so well. You can only write in Monty Python so many times.

Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie. Pearl Jam is my favorite band. Lost and The Wire are my favorite TV shows. My wife says I have a man crush on Leo Dicaprio. That’s not true. It’s actually Eddie Vedder.

I like green grass and long walks on the beach and the number 3…okay, this is getting out of hand.

You get the point. So there’s a little more about me—in case you were wondering, and maybe you weren’t.

Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled programming. It’s all about the books!

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51 Comments Post a comment
  1. and all this time I thought Nickleback was your favorite band…

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  2. Dominick Sabalos #

    I’m just coming to the end of a second watch through of The Wire, as it happens. Amazing show – even season five seems less disappointing the second time around. I just recently found out Omar is based on a real guy (who plays a supporting character on the show) too.

    Can’t get with you on Lost though 🙂

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  3. I’m a Cane so Gators? HISSSSSSS
    I love McDonalds. SO bad I know but the chemicals are sooo yum. I mean the FRIES the FRIES are so yum.
    Pearl Jam! Man my brothers are Pearl Jam addicts. They even went to the Unplugged show and came out on TV. They’ve seen them like a gazillion times. I love them too but don’t worship at the altar of Eddie Vedder 😀
    3 and 8 are my lucky numbers. OK so this was fun. Yay

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Wow. Awesome about the Unplugged Show. Watched that many times back in the day. I’ve seen them probably 5 or 6 times live, but never in that intimate a setting. Eddie Vedder did play solo at the Ryman in Nashville a couple of years ago. That was an amazing show.

      Like

      August 22, 2012
  4. Books, Pearl Jam, running, hating McDonalds. I knew there was a reason for following your blog! Except i hate the number 3.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Nice! Favorite Pearl Jam song?

      Like

      August 22, 2012
      • That’s a tough one! Today i’m going to go with Of he Goes. And Oceans.And Given to Fly. And State of Love and Trust.

        Like

        August 22, 2012
        • Great choices. Love Off He Goes, especially. Yield and Vs are my two favorite CDs, so anything off those works for me.

          Like

          August 22, 2012
  5. Nel #

    As an English grad who is tired of the “What are you going to do with that?!?” question, I deeply appreciate that you got an English degree as a second bachelor’s. I have further proof that an English degree isn’t just for stupid people who don’t know what they’re doing with their lives.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Absolutely. If you want to teach or actually write as a profession, then English and/or Journalism are great majors. I think the people who use English as a fallback major because they don’t know what else to do…those are the people who get in trouble.

      Like

      August 22, 2012
  6. Cool guy! I lurk here a lot and all this time i pictured you out like some charles xavier.. Love your blog!

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  7. Jason #

    I have a Bachelor’s in History and a Master’s in Education, but am strongly considering getting a second Bachelor’s in English myself; I find myself continually more drawn to writing and literature as I search for gainful classroom teaching employment. Good to know of another person who truly feels they made the right decision in doing so! Also, favorite season of The Wire? I’m going with 2.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Matt #

      Jason- since you already hold a Bachelor’s and a Master’s, I’m willing to bet that you can get your Master’s in English without doing any more undergrad work.

      Like

      August 22, 2012
      • I bet you’re right. Good luck with whatever you decide.

        As for The Wire, I’m partial to season 3 with Stringer Bell going down. Such a good show.

        Like

        August 22, 2012
      • Jason #

        Good call, Matt. That is something I had thought of to a point as well. And yes, Season 3 is also great. I think it might be time to re-watch the series once again…

        Like

        August 23, 2012
  8. I like reading about people and who they really are. Great read! Thank you.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  9. Meredith #

    I can never watch the Wire until I move away from Baltimore. While I live here, I think it would just freak me out.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  10. I owe Pearl Jam a debt of gratitude, because their album “Ten” saved my life when I became disturbed (memories of a gross nature shifted my focus to no focus), i played the album for eight months of the year I spent at Pitt. (no chance you like their football team. I’m so apathetic that football only occured to me when it interupted my travels there). I am now majoring in English, concentration Creative Writing. Words are sometimes my hammers I make people “reasonable” with in my world and they are less than more carresses, that hopefully when I grow into my own, the carresses regard my gratitude for vitality. If someone stole my treasure chest of words, than a breakdown complete with the drooling thing would follow. I commend you for setting goals, taking risks, and parenting a two year old with your wife as well. I liked the wire and suddenly one night I decided it lacks imagination. I never watched it again. Hey, I knew already a very gifted individual dances behind the curtain, for his own laughable moments. Thank you very much.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Very cool. Thanks for the compliments and keep at the creative writing! I loved my creative writing workshops.

      Favorite song off Ten? I’m partial to Black and Porch myself.

      Like

      August 22, 2012
  11. Lost is one of my favourite shows, too. And hurrah for former English majors (which regiment?)! English was the only major I considered. I love to write, read, and analyze, so it was the perfect option for me.
    And McDonald’s is gross, but sometimes I can’t resist a milkshake…I have no desire to know what’s in them.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  12. Reading about your support for the Bulldogs makes this very contrary Gator want to work in a UF reference in each future comment 😉

    I’m with you on the McDonald’s issue, though.

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Oh no! I figured there was one or two of you out there. You’re still welcome here, but please don’t stop visiting after we put a hurtin’ on the Gators this October. 🙂

      Like

      August 22, 2012
      • Gators are going to stomp who, now??
        (Sorry, my fingers slipped.)

        Like

        August 24, 2012
  13. I’m wondering if your family thinks reading takes away your time with them? Because that’s something like what I experience when I read 😦

    Like

    August 22, 2012
  14. Erik S. #

    When do we get to hear about the book you are working on? You mentioned it on Facebook, but I’ve not heard much about it on your blog yet…

    Like

    August 22, 2012
    • Well, the book itself is still in proposal form. I’ve done two revisions and my agent currently has the second revision. Once we get the proposal where we like it, we’ll start pitching it to publishers. I can always self-publish, but I’d like to go the traditional route if I can. I’ll talk about it more here once I have more concrete details and am confident it’s going to happen. I would love for it be in print this time next year, but we’ll see. Thanks for asking.

      Like

      August 23, 2012
      • Erik S. #

        Cause you know most of us will want to read it!

        Like

        August 23, 2012
  15. Good quick bio. I am a Dave Ramsey fan. I am an accountant and I recommend his progams to my clients quite often. Hope your book does good and maybe the bio will bring renewed interested.

    Like

    August 23, 2012
    • Thanks Stephanie. We just released a new version of Financial Peace. Check it out if you have the time.

      Like

      August 23, 2012
  16. Ha! I am the ghost of the future that might have been. Or your antithesis. Or something clever and symbolic. I’m also 36 and went to law school. My instinct was to quit, but I saw it through to the end even though I always hated it. I never took the bar, never went into practice and ran up a mountain of debt for no good reason. Second bachelors would have been awesome. Coulda woulda shoulda.

    Like

    August 24, 2012
    • Ha. Very similar experiences. The possible debt was definitely a strong motive for me to go ahead and get out before I got in too deep. I hope you’ve found something you’re excited about doing!

      Like

      August 26, 2012
      • Thank you. I’ve got a tolerable job that pays the bills and plenty of art and writing and reading in the off time. I figure it’s a very lucky few in this world that get to make a living doing what they love, so the trick is to not stop doing what you love while you’re busy making a living,

        Like

        August 26, 2012
  17. Neil Sagebiel #

    Thanks for the peek behind the curtain, Robert. Great to get to know you better. I hope to meet you in person someday. I also like to run. One marathon and many halves, but that was 20 years ago. Now in my mid fifties, I’m more than content to run 5K. Econ major, English minor. Now a writer. Go figure. Also Christian. Amen.

    Like

    August 24, 2012
    • Mid 50s? I never would’ve guessed it. From your pics, I placed you at about 45! Would love to play a round with you sometime. Let me know if you’re ever around Nashville.

      And congrats on the success of The Longest Shot. That’s just been awesome to watch. I haven’t read it yet, with all these novels waiting on me, but it’s on my to-read list!

      Like

      August 26, 2012
  18. Elizabeth #

    Oh, JJ Abrams… why must you spend the first three seasons of an amazing TV show creating unsolvable mysteries then spend the next trio having the characters milling around and the final episode attempt to tie together all the loose ends in a crazy scramble?

    Like

    August 27, 2012
  19. I loved Lost. There’s nothing like it on television anymore. I think I read somewhere that you don’t write fiction. May I ask why not? After all those classics, do you ever feel the urge to try your hand at it?

    Like

    April 7, 2013
  20. nickjames #

    Nice to hear about the second bachelors degree being English, as well. I just graduated with a degree in Mathematics and decided to not go to graduate school & be on my road to being a mathematician. I chose English (creative writing) instead for a second bachelors. Haven’t been happier, honestly. Also, your blog combines three things that I’m most obsessed with: books and lists and book reviews. One day I will do the 101 book challenge and perhaps start a blog on it. Anyways, I think your blog is awesome. I enjoy reading all of the informative reviews.

    Nick.

    Like

    August 21, 2013
  21. Sue #

    Great blog! I’m working my way through the list of famous books set in each state (on Arkansas now – A Painted House/John Grisham). I think the Time 101 list looks like a good one to hit next! Thanks for sharing your reviews – can’t wait to work my way through more.

    Like

    December 15, 2013
  22. Reblogged this on The Book Report with Elaine Charles and commented:
    Robert Bruce’s journey through Time Mags 100 greatest novels

    Like

    June 18, 2014
  23. wildheartnorth #

    Thank you for your blog. I have been trying to venture to different avenues in regards to my book that i usually read. Lots of books to pick from.

    Like

    July 24, 2015
  24. Don’t forget Number 9, number 9 ….

    Like

    July 24, 2015
  25. Dave Ramsey–good advice. We gave each of our kids his book on basic finance. I even reviewed his Makeover for The Christian Library Journal. Great idea for a blog.

    Like

    August 14, 2015
  26. Great blog, which I should expect from a Pearl Jam fan as we all have impeccable taste! Eddie Vedder is a fine man crush to have. I’ve had a girl crush on him for twenty years.

    Like

    March 25, 2016

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