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Book Blog

July 18, 2021

Berlin Alexanderplatz (Review)

ecently I rode a bike the length and back of the Van Fleet Trail in Florida, sixty total miles of arrow-straight trail through thick Florida swamps. In the end, I barely made it, coasting over the finish line to collapse in a crumpled heap on a bench. Berlin Alexanderplatz was kinda like that. The novel is told in the whimsical, wandering form of Ulysses, a tale of an ex-con (Franz Biberkopf), released back onto the streets of Berlin in 1928. He makes a go at being honest, really tries by selling newspapers, shoelaces, and joining the Merchant’s Union. However, like […]
July 11, 2021

No Man’s Land (Guest Review)

ntil one of our neighbors down the street from us loaned me her copy of No Man’s Land by Wendy Moore I was unaware of this book and unaware of the history of Endell Street Hospital.  Thanks to our neighbor I now have had the opportunity to read it.  Per the dust jacket, this is the story of “The trailblazing women who ran Britain’s most extraordinary military hospital during World War I.”  The suffragette doctors, Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray, set up and ran the Endell Street Military Hospital in the heart of London.  The hospital, staffed entirely by […]
July 4, 2021

Mr American (Review)

hat better title to review on this Independence Day than Mr. American, a delightful novel from George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the groundbreaking Flashman novels. The novel begins with Mr. Mark Franklin, a soft spoken Yankee, debarking from a liner in Liverpool in 1909. In his possession are the following curious items: a copy of Shakespeare’s works, an old Mexican charro saddle and two Remington pistols in his battered luggage. And also, it seems a bank note for a large amount of money. Mark journeys first to London and meets the beautiful and vivacious ‘Pip’ Delys, a music hall […]
June 27, 2021

The Librarian of Auschwitz (Review)

‘ll admit I watch Handmaidens Tale and The Man in the High Castle, stories of fascism and purging that comes to our own United States. And always, as I see the political hero worshiping and the insurrection of January 6th, I think Yes, it could happen here. But that’s still only a possibility, of course, a worst-case fantasy. But if you really want to know what it’s like, and what this powder keg near which our own monkeys play with their matches, The Librarian of Auschwitz gives you a full, total accounting of a state gone mad. This is the […]
June 20, 2021

The Glass Teat (Review)

nother one of those lucky finds in a curb-side library, both books of Harland Ellison’s TV reviews that he wrote while on the staff of the Los Angles Free Press in 1968. It was meant to be a review of what was on the tube each week in the LA area. What it became was a radical criticism in the age leading up to the fall of Nixon. I lived though that time (I was ten) and living (I believe) somewhere in California. Life was nice with brown hills and humming power lines. The sounds from my parent’s TV during […]
June 13, 2021

Demon (Review)

nd now we are at the third and final book of the Gaea Trilogy, Demon, the last of John Varley’s famous scifi work from the late seventies/early eighties. I’ve brought you Titan and Wizard, and now this. So Cirocco Jones, one time space captain, one time wizard for the floating bio-wheel Gaea, has finally gotten herself cleaned up and back on the rails. And Gaea, living goddess, she is descending into madness, now taking on the role of a fifty-foot tall model of Marilyn Monroe. Yes, it’s come down to this. Gaea now lives in a fortified film lot, Pandemonium, […]
June 6, 2021

The Virginia Creeper (Review)

kay, so some of you are thinking that this is pretty strange, that I’m reviewing something that sounds like a gothic horror story. Nah, it’s just railroading, so it does make sense. See, my sister provoked my mom and I to ride the bike trail that follows the old roadbed of the Virginia-Carolina (or VC, hence the nickname “Virginia Creeper”) a couple of weeks back. The ride is a thrilling one, coming down from Whitetop, flying down a 3% grade across some significant bridges, following the river through thick woods and lush valleys, all the way down to the town […]
May 30, 2021

Captain From Castile (Review)

ere’s one that I’ve read before (and enjoyed) and have now reread (and enjoyed even more) – Captain From Castile by Samuel Shellabarger. It was written in the mid 40s and a big hit back then. Of course, here’s the caveat for this – occasionally it is a bit racist (in the faintest of ways). It carries a bit of white man’s burden (where whites are given the task of civilizing everyone, and the Aztecs are stone age barbarians). Fortunately his value-judgements don’t happen often and are just minor stones in the road of a crackling good novel. You read […]
May 23, 2021

Wizard (Review)

he second book of the Gaea Trilogy, the mid-point of the sprawling saga about this huge space-going alien with a world inside her. And now the world is at war. Cirocco Jones, the Captain of the wrecked exploration ship to Saturn and stairmaster of the greatest uphill climb the world has ever seen, has confronted Gaea, the God of this spinning hub, and accepted the job as Wizard. It seemed like a good idea at the time – it sounded like some sort of roving repair woman – it turn turned out to have consequences. Like, one big one – […]
May 16, 2021

Titan (Review)

ell, blogkids, after spending a couple of weeks reading meh books from the 70s, I finally turned away from the used bookshop piles and pulled something off my favorites shelf. And there it was, one of my old beloveds from my VPI college days, John Varley’s Titan. Okay, so Titan begins with a deep space mission to Saturn with a handful of astronauts. As they near the ringed planet, they discover a body never glimpsed before, a pinwheel-shaped form slowly spinning in its orbit, the radar returns indicating it as hollow, filled with air and life and obviously artificial. It […]