Book Blog

December 5, 2010

Beyond Potter

Okay, this is my book blog. What’s the point of this blog? Well, let’s see. What would you say if you had a friend that ate at some nasty place, some sticky-elbow fast food joint. Every day, same burger, fries, and a coke. Conversely, perhaps you have been to France and walked the boulevards and enjoyed intimate dining in a street-side cafe. Or you’ve sat on a pier-top restaurant off the California coast, enjoying a local wine with your pasta as the sun slides into the golden ocean. Or perhaps you’ve been to cooking school and learned every detail of […]
December 6, 2010

Yesterday’s Jam

To continue my point from the earlier post, a bit of script from a great show, the IT crowd. Postman: Moss. Amazon thingy. Moss: Ahh wicked. I know what this is. It’s the new Harry Potter. I got the child edition and the adult edition just to check there are no differences in the text   Think about it.
December 9, 2010

War of the Worlds (review)

What can I say. If it wasn’t for H.G. and his nightmarish vision of apocalypse, I might have become some sort of illiterate dummy. As it was, when I was about eleven, I read below par. It didn’t interest me, I didn’t care, it was boring, yada. Then my mom (bless her heart) sat me down every night and made me read for 30 minutes. Didn’t matter what. The TV guide, the back of a cereal box, anything as long as it had words on it. So I read a little of this and a little of that from the […]
December 14, 2010

Live Free or Die (review)

You know Iran can’t have a nuclear power plant. But did you know Disney could? This pissed me off a decade ago, so I wrote a scathing novel about theme parks growing into “duchies” with their own laws, courts, and (it turned out) armies. And as I wrote it, I found myself really chewing on those enablers of theme parks, the shambling middle class. With their annual passes and their comfortable entertainment expectations, my novel did everything it could to give them a wake-up slap, a cosmic black eye. One agent asked me, “So, if you piss off everyone, who’s […]
January 9, 2011

Kindle missionaries

D’ja see that new Kindle ad where cool looking people tote kindles about in bike baskets and the back pockets of stone-washed jeans? Young people all looking so active. And the only thing they aren’t shown doing? Reading. Because the thing about kindles is not quietly reading on it, it’s about bragging about how quickly you can get your books, how cheaply, how many books it holds. Ever had a kindle-ninny tell you what they were reading? No, its just about their device. Really, how many times do you have to say, “So, just what the fuck were you reading […]
January 23, 2011


A thought came to me while reading the second book of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” series. While I’m enjoying it, really enjoying it (I’ll review it sometime), I did find myself focusing on the prose. Yes, I understand it’s a juvenile series (at least I hope it is). I understand that the writing is pretty basic. No clever flow, no startling visual imagery, no insightful character development, no creative language use. The story (while good) is just shipped to us, a simple description of events. She’s not alone in this – consider top-selling general-audience authors and you have Clive […]
March 10, 2011

Metagame (review)

A friend of mine sent this to me with guarded praise. “It’s not great, but it’s interesting”. Quite a rave. And let’s just be clear that when I read, my editing light is lit. I love well-crafted prose, and the horn goes off when something jostles the story flow. For example, in Metagame, we have “R-shaped streetlights” (an issue of case, I think). A smiler: “Lily let go of D_Light’s hand, no longer needing him to guide her; he, however, did not let go of hers.” And this jolly description: “Even so, D_Light thought he could make out a large […]
March 12, 2011

Keen Prose 1

I’ve started the “Keen Prose” thread, where I’ll post phrases from authors whose pen’s I’m not fit to lick. It’s the word choices and phrases that bring smiles, and convey buckets of meaning in the tightest structure.   “On the following morning, whilst Major Sands was sulking, like Achilles, in his tent…” The Black Swan Rafael Sabatini Footnote: I’ve always loved Sabatini – next to Wells, he is the author who’s work comes across as poetry to me. And Major Sands in The Black Swan is the smoldering dufus who is being outwitted and outdone by the flashing hero, Charles […]
March 26, 2011

The Egyptologist (Review)

The act of observing an event changes an event. And sometimes, the act of reviewing a book ruins it for the readers. This is true for Arthur Phillip’s novel, The Egyptologist – how can one review a book for curious readers yet put up spoiler alerts? Rest assured – I’ll do my best not to give away any of the succulent moments or the gripping ending. So here goes… The novel takes place directly in 1922, and indirectly in 1954. told entirely through correspondence. The primary writings are from the Egyptologist himself through his combination of his working journal and […]
April 3, 2011

The Ragged Astronauts (review)

My Florida room looks out across green native foliage. Beneath its wide widows is the grande shelf, three decks straining with books, the “I might want to read this again” books. Many of them I’ve read in college or before. Many of them are yellowing. But they are (or were, to that younger self I was) great books. The Ragged Astronauts comes from a time before many Avatar / Potter fans were born, 1986. Back then, youth still cared about the environment (to the point they didn’t throw their plastic bottles all over it). We were still jazzed about the […]