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Book Blog

October 11, 2020

Contact (Review)

ust like everyone else, I’ve seen the movie. But if you haven’t, Contact is about a driven young woman, Elenore Arroway, who loses her father and, indirectly because of his teachings, becomes and astrophysicist. Too driven for any sort of real life, she finds herself running a part of the SETI program (the search for extraterrestrial life). And wouldn’t you know (hey, it’s fiction – can’t have it any other way) that she’s on duty and present when a clear alien message comes in. Happily, they find out that it’s a coded picture. Unhappily, they find out it’s one of […]
October 4, 2020

Night Flights (Review)

he fifth of the Mortal Engines series, a YA franchise where, following the 60-second war, towns rebuilt on tracked platforms and chase each other, practicing “Urban Darwinism” by eating each other. And there’s airships and strange tech and interesting people, the usual. It’s a breezy-easy read, perfect for YAs and for reviewers who need to come up with a review a week to keep the blog fires burning. About the book – this time its about Anna Fang, anti-tractionist terrorist, kick-ass air captain, and later a nasty cyborg that launches an all-out global war. But this is about young Anna, […]
September 27, 2020

The Three-Body Problem (Review)

p front: Fantastic book! I’m not sure how this one showed up on my shelf. I was looking for something to read and found this at the bottom of a pile (actually, I do think I know where it came from). But this is a review, not a confession. The Three-Body Problem is a story from China by Cixin Liu, one of the greats of Chinese literature. It starts off in our real world, during the horrors of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. And all that seems normal enough (it its humanically horrible sort of way). Then we get a strange […]
September 21, 2020

Candide (Review)

he driving idea of Candide comes from the titled character, a young man of some privilege who lives in a nice castle and has food, entertainment, a girl he’s sweet on, everything he could hope for. More in amusement than anything else, he chats with the court’s learned philosopher. Doctor Pangloss, with smug certainty, denotes that everything is here for a reason, and hence (by the chain of logic) this reality must represent The Best of All Possible Worlds. Hence the alternate title to the book, Optimism. And hence the coming irony. Of course, almost immediately, Pangloss has his way […]
September 13, 2020

A Man Without A Country (Review)

s with Kurt Vonnegut and his style, we hop all over the place, looking at the world through this lens and that, reflecting as randomly as a pond on a sunny day. And I rather like it. A Man Without a Country was written at the end of the author’s life, a look at his own history, his experiences in World War Two (and the bombing of Dresden), as well as the current political climate (which was during the Bush/Cheney years). And a note on that – everything he said about the corruption, the abuse of power, the criminality of […]
September 6, 2020

The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye (Review)

couple of weeks ago, I had a rushed book-selection. I thought I had Covid-19. Yow. Isolated overnight in my den (on the floor, poor me). The next day, I cleared the wife out of my path of egress and bolted from the house (heading towards a testing site, then my mom’s beach place). Would be a couple of days away. And before I went, I grabbed the closest thing with words, my collection of Popeye cartoons (from 1930-1934). This constituted Volumes 1 and 2 of the collection by Fantagraphics Books on this, massive things about 20 inches tall (which made […]
August 30, 2020

The Lost City of Z (Review)

knew a girl, once, who dreamed of hiking across Brazil and the Amazon. If I still knew where she was, I’d send her this book if only to give her the relief of lost dreams. If you like outdoorsy things, backpacking and camping, you might find this book interesting. So, in the early part of the last century, the English were sending out explorers all over the globe, driven to fill in those blank spots on the map. You know, that whole “Dr. Livingston, I presume” stuff. And one of the most famous at the time was Percy Fawcett, a […]
August 15, 2020

Trail of McAllister (Review)

an, I used to read these Western things when I was a teen, and Author Matt Chisholm is still pumping them out. But after my last slow thick book, a fast cowboy novel was just what I needed. So in this one, we open with five hard men chatting in their nasty little shanty. Turns out one of them “got him”, meaning he ambushed someone and shot him right off the edge of a canyon, leaving his body to fall into the river. As a reader, our first question is “who did you shoot?” And little by little, it is […]
August 9, 2020

Kara Kush (Review)

art of the reason I desperately had my wife pinch-hit for me last week is the fact that Kara Kush is 575 pages long. But no, it’s not just that. The problem I had was that this book was a very slow read. Sounded like it should be interesting – an American who grew up in Afghanistan finds himself as the de facto leader of the Mujahideen when the Soviets invade in the early ‘80s. Like Batman, he has wealth, connections, and even a secret cave to base. Add to this the discovery of a vast horde of ancient gold […]
August 2, 2020

Anne of Green Gables (Guest Review)

finished reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time yesterday.  Even though I have long known of this book, but have not had occasion to read it until it was a selection of my book club, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it.  It was not just an interesting read and a very good story, but also very inspiring without being even the least bit preachy. It is a simple but also moving story of a young orphan girl, Anne Shirley, sent by mistake from the orphanage to a brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, […]