On the nightstand

Book Blog

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 […]
May 26, 2013

Whiskey Beach (Guest Review)

I’ve mentioned this book-elf before, a dynamic reader, writer, and good friend Lynn Perry. She’s penned (or is that key-boarded) another good review, this time for a Nora Roberts story. Enjoy!   Well, if you think Ms Roberts authors books aimed mostly about and for women, think again.  Whiskey Beach delves deeply into  life of Eli Landon, a Boston criminal attorney accused of killing his wife in a fit of jealous rage. Though there is not enough evidence to convict Mr. Landon, there are those that believe he committed the murder and got away with it.  Although judged innocent of […]
May 19, 2013

Wool (the Silo Saga) (Guest Review)

Another guest review, again from my dad (who apparently grinds through books at a predaceous rate in his peaceful retirement). The point is, the guest review is supposed to give me a break while I get books I’m reading read. Now I’m interested in reading this myself. Perhaps I’ll read it and post my views… All of the human race lives in a concrete silo sunk 150 stories into the ground of a ruined and desolate planet. The ruined land is swept by toxic winds and corrosive dust, nothing can live on the surface. The only part of the silo […]
May 12, 2013

Micro (Review)

I can just see how this came about: Michael Crichton sitting around one night, watching a documentary about all the insect life in a rain forest and some of the amazing ways bugs find to eat other bugs. And he’s thinking, Hmmmm. What if I introduced really small humans into this world? At least Fantastic Voyage had a bit more premise. So the thought is that an evil corporation needs to shrink work teams down to explore all the amazing lifeforms, drugs and properties of Hawaiian rain forests (which is like saying that someone develops commercial air transportation just to […]
May 5, 2013

Deception Point (Review)

Okay, so we’ll start with the turnoff – the suspense. It’s so thick, you can cut it with a knife. Actually, you could shovel it with a snow shovel. Intelligence officer Rachel Sexton (how subliminal!) is told that there is something wonderfully amazing just beyond the next chapter. What this wonderfully amazing thing is, we don’t know. She is led by the nose, first by her boss, then the President of the United States, then by an F-14 pilot, all the way up to the Arctic Circle. All for this wonderfully amazing thing. What is it? You’ll have to go […]
April 28, 2013

The Night Circus (Guest Review)

Another Dad-review. If you were wondering where I got my voracious appetite for books, now you know. Why he has forsaken beloved paper for that glowing screen of electrons, I can’t say. Imagine, if you will, one day the field is empty, the next the circus is there.  A cluster of black and white striped tents surrounded by a tall iron fence.  You go to the main entrance where a sign states simply “Gate opens at Nightfall, closes at Dawn.”  Over the entrance in Baroque letters is “Le Cirque des Reves. You wait impatiently for sundown when the gate opens […]
April 21, 2013

A Clash of Kings (Review)

It’s easy to hate House Lannister. After all, they murdered the rightful King. They throw kids off roofs. They behead main characters. They are mercenary and cunning and bad to the bone. And now Queen Cersei has planted her slightly bastardinous (if not incestuously-created) son Joffrey on the throne. Judging from the number of self-crowned kings that spring up (four, at least, not counting Daenerys lurking off in the east with her three dragons), I’m not alone in hating them. Oh, we have battles galore, small skirmishes, sieges, and expeditions beyond the northern wall. We’ve got politics. We’ve got intrigue. […]
April 14, 2013

The Scarlet Pimpernel (Guest Review)

On my first day as a rocket scientist at Nasa, they jammed me into a pod with a fireball of a secretary, a wiry blonde with  a winning smile and a very sharp personality. After she marked her turf (and scared me silly), it came out that we were both writers. Lynn Perry and I have been friends ever since. So here is her take on Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s classic. I am a reader….my bulging book shelves, decades old library card and financially abused Kindle account reflect my love of books.  Most recently, I reached into history and re-read The […]