On the nightstand

Book Blog

July 29, 2012

Nausicaa (Review)

It happens sometimes, with work and class and trains and general malaise, that I don’t get a book read in a week (before I had a weekly column, I was even slower). I’m currently wending through the Odyssey, which is a pretty stiff read. However, I was interested to find a character in it with the unlikely name of Nausicaa, which was also the character of an amazing translated Japanese comic I’d read over the years. Turns out that’s where it’s author/artist, Miyazaki, got it from. It’s been a while since i read it (I’ve got them all here next […]
July 22, 2012

The Time Traveler’s Wife (Review)

Got this as a loaner from a friend. She didn’t tell me anything, so I went in cold. Quite a book. Hokay, imagine that a guy has a chromosome disorder, something that when he is stressed or upset or sometimes just random, he flushes, sweats, pukes, then jumps through time. And he always leaves his clothes behind. So first off, he’s good at mugging people. And picking locks. And running. But more important are the places and times he goes to – eras and locales that mean something to him. He watches his mother’s horrible death from every angle. He […]
July 15, 2012

Battle-Chasers (Review)

There are two types of fantasy: there is the fantasy where everything is so alien, you scratch your head trying to remember what a mulack is or what the heck a void-princess does. And there is the fantasy straight out of D&D, with all the character classes and all the races and beings and whatnot. Elves and orcs and wizards and fireballs, basically saving-throw fantasy. Battle-Chasers falls into the latter. Now don’t get me wrong – that’s not a bad thing. Tigana was a super book (reviewed HERE), but it was high-fantasy, certainly an effort (and well worth it). Battle-Chasers […]
July 1, 2012

The Point of Honor (Review)

We’ve all been through high school. And we’ve all experienced the bully who will just not leave us alone, who makes our lives living hells for no reason we can discern. Nothing will stop them it seems. Not avoiding them, not standing up to them, nothing. Being in a Navy family had its advantages – I just had to endure until we moved away. And so Lieutenant Armand D’Hubert, a staff officer assigned to the 7th Hussars in Strasbourg finds his nemesis, a fellow Lieutenant, Gabriel Feraud. Feraud has just gutted a native in a duel only this morning, an […]
June 24, 2012

Troy (Review)

I like the story of Troy. I liked the Iliad. I liked the recent movie (everything but the last 10 minutes – can’t Hollywood keep a you-go-girl moment out of a movie where it doesn’t belong?). I like Agamemnon’s political manipulations. I like Menelaus and Paris squaring off, with the latter’s failings. I like the sulking Achilles. I enjoy his opt-out strike, where the Greek king is nearly chopped off at the knees when his hubris gets the better of him. It’s a story with so many things to like. And Richard’s Matturro does a fine job with his Troy, […]
June 17, 2012

Casca, the Outlaw (Review)

Let me just say that this review has all sorts of tangles to it. I’ve reviewed the Casca series in total recently (HERE). I really liked them, not for their literary sake, but just for the blunt idea of the thing (an eternal mercenary that fights in every battle across history). I’d read up to #22 where I’d finally stopped, but mentioned they were up to #37. So at Oasis 25 (a scifi convention I attended as a dealer), my booth was right next to Michael Goodwin’s, who’s written two of these himself. It was one of those bookish-small-world moments, […]
June 10, 2012

The World Set Free (Review)

According the Wells, all it will take for world socialism and sunlit-fields-upon-high utopia are radioactive volcanoes. The World Set Free was written in 1913 (under the looming war). In its format, it’s very similar to In the Days of the Comet, another Wells’ book. We have a “Dickens” view of the world, bleak and unfair and evil (I agree with him on this). The middle act is the disaster, the events so amazing that it would take Hollywood in all its CGI to do them justice. And after that, the level world reexamines itself, sorts itself out, corrects itself (and […]
June 3, 2012

Footprints of Thunder (Review)

It was the cover that caught me in the used bookstore, of a dinosaur foot standing next to a sand castle – says a lot when you think about it. But it irked me that the footprints on the beach beyond were singular – what was this dino doing? Hopping? Footprints of Thunder had a couple of things that twitted me – not seriously, mind – I rather liked the book. For instance, it starts with a team of scientific hobbyist investigating strange occurrences – fish and flowers and corn which fall from the clear blue sky. However, it appears […]
May 26, 2012

…Something I Could Quit (Review)

The wordy name for this book is I wish there was something that I could quit. What drew me to it (on the CD shop bookshelf) was the old drawing of a railroadman leaning out of a tower, pocket watch in hand, watching a set of 1950’s diesels blur past. The 50’s are great fodder nowadays; full of irony. So the story is about four young folks, Laura (a gloomy rock-throwing-at-military-trains nutcase), Aaron (the nutty-yet-earnest fellow living in his dead tour van in her driveway), Susan (the bartender seeking a strong man and…) Jemuel (her boyfriend, baby-weak yet organized to […]
May 20, 2012

Pandemonium: Smoke (Review)

I’ll remind you that while I was in London a few months ago, we visited the Tate Modern with its display of John Martin Paintings. I also picked up a hard back from the gift shop, Pandemonium, a series of short stories based on the paintings reviewed. I loved the paintings and really loved the book (limited edition – I snagged number 7 out of 100). I reviewed it HERE. With great expectations, I ordered Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke, a book purportedly focused on London, mostly Dickens’ London, but London all the same. Got it and read it in […]