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Book Blog

August 4, 2013

The Serene Invasion (Review)

Finally, a book for the left! I’ve grown tired with right-leaning sausage-grinders. I’ve also grown tired of the old plotline, that aliens who come to earth have a hidden agenda. I got through Live Free Or Die with bleeding eyeballs. So it’s nice, sometime, when aliens ARE beneficial, when communication and coexistence and cooperation actually work. It’s just too bad that in doing so, The Serene Invasion loses a bit of its edge. The the race we name as the Serene come to Earth and make big changes. I’m not sure why they dome some of our cities, since they […]
July 28, 2013

A Storm of Swords (Review)

It’s 1am, I’m in the epilog, and com’on, George, let’s wrap this thing up. 924 pages. Not that it isn’t good. The Storm of Swords is the third installment (some 1800 pages in) of The Song of Ice and Fire saga, a massive and sprawling tale from George R.R. Martin. It moves well, and most chapters always have a reason for being. Better yet, he engages in a practice I most fully approve of – killing off main characters. But that’s the joke I’ve seen on the net – “Whenever a fan asks Martin when the book is coming out, […]
July 21, 2013

Stories of the Sea (Review)

I‘m really slanted on this book. See, it led to the resolution of a wonderful life-moment for me, just before it was too late. I picked this up at Slightly Foxed. Published by “Everyman’s Pocket Collection”, it is truly a pocket collection, dozens of great sea stories packed into a small hardcover – pocket-sized – book. I’ve read collections before – rather like them. A good collection will give you a wide range of selections; perfect for airplane rides – you get one you don’t like, skip to the next. And this, let me tell you, is one of the […]
July 14, 2013

Cannibal Reign (Review)

I can’t tell for certain if author Thomas Koloniar was influenced by the story The Road. There, something happens, something that causes earthquakes, clouds the sky, and slowly kills off all plants and animals. As for the humans, well, they are forced to snack on the “other white meat”. Here, we know it’s a meteor. We see it coming as we establish our characters and then it hits – boom, and that’s pretty much it. One group is in a well-stocked missile complex, one set is in Hawaii (with the US Fleet and controlled borders) and a smaller group is […]
July 7, 2013

15 Views of Orlando (Review)

Carl Hiaasen sneers at Orlando, making it the butt of his Florida-bashing jokes. My model train club (based on Orlando) models Jacksonville (since it’s railroad-sexier). Orlando is a sprawling, simmering, distracted city. To those who use it for nothing more than the home-work drive, it’s little more than a blur beyond the I-4 guardrail. But I’ve lived here for thirty years, bicycled its streets, explored it from end to end. And when I heard about this collection of short stories punch-pinned across the city’s map, I had to check it out. In this collection, fifteen local authors have a go […]
June 30, 2013

Dick Trevanion (Review)

Readers talk about “junk novels”, novels they read for low effort and high pleasure. My brain surgeon sister reads bodice-rippers. Everyone below the age of thirty reads Harry Potter. And me? I read old adventure stories. That’s why Project Gutenberg is such a find. You can get anything there. I touched on that in my recent Dog Ear piece about a test download that caught my interest. The only thing I regret about my choice is that I couldn’t recommend it to my late father. He’d have loved this one. You see, Dick Trevanion lives on the Cornish coast in […]
June 23, 2013

The Enlightened Cyclist (Review)

Hey, I like BikeSnob’s writing – he’s a blogger who is going big with his books. Good for him. He also writes in a witty, flowing fashion. But…. (You knew there was a but coming) The Enlightened Cyclist is a look at the idea of commuting by bike (something I do two to three times a week) (see my bike blog on this site for my postings). I love cycling in the worst city in the United States for bikes. The weather is hot and/or rainy, the motorists are reckless, pushy and distracted. But it’s riding, and that’s brilliant. Beats […]
June 16, 2013

The Forgotten Soldier (Review)

My brother passed this one to me (I could have done with a guest review, too, but I only got the book). Okay, first off, make sure you aren’t depressed when you read it. I’d finished it right before my dad’s passing and it’s a good thing. I don’t think I’d have made it otherwise. So the book is Guy Sajer’s memoir from World War Two. As a young French male (in living in occupied France), it made sense to him to join the German Army. Before everyone shouts “Boo! Hiss!”, we need to put ourselves in his place. If […]
June 9, 2013

Out on a comet (Review)

I‘ll admit I was curious to read this after coming across a spin-off in The New Jules Verne Adventures. Fortunately I knew what to expect, that the story was dreamlike and possibly ludicrous in some of its scientific aspects. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Starts well, with two protagonists on the Algerian coast agreeing to duel over a woman. Then in sweeps a comet, one that somehow (we’ll use this word often) manages to gouge out a couple of chunks of Earth, a significant portion of the Mediterranean Sea, a dose of atmosphere, and pockets them all neatly into […]
June 2, 2013

New Jules Verne Adventures (Review)

Years ago, I read a great book by Philip José Farmer titled The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, a cool steampunky book about why Fogg was actually making his round-the-world journey and the secrets behind it. It was very interesting, but what stood out for me was the appendix by H.W. Starr entitled “A Submersible Subterfuge or Proof Impositive”. Here, the writer pluckily dissembles the Nemo legend, providing firm evidence that he was not a haunted revolutionary but a greedy (and self-centered) pirate. That I still remember it three decades later points to how cleverly it was written, and the […]