Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Celebrating Krampusnacht!

A very strange take on The Rocking Horse Winner
Particularly disturbing...
The two below are my favorites (especially the first of the two, because there is so much more going on there than the old Germanic folklore)
And, finally...
some slightly more modern takes!
Have a Scary Krampusnacht!

(And a Merry Christmas)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Deputy Sheriff of Commanche CountyDeputy Sheriff of Commanche County by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps suffering from not being the total surprise the first Burroughs Western held for me, this one didn't so totally blow me away. But, still, a great book and, like Bandit this is a secret treasure--I mean, they don't seem to get the praise they deserve because they have been hidden so long in Tarzan and John Carter's shadows...

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review: The Bandit of Hell's Bend

The Bandit Of Hell's BendThe Bandit Of Hell's Bend by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm going to sound back-ass-ward here, but I have previously tried to read examples of the author's Tarzan stories and his John Carter series. I made it through neither book.

This book however, I found to be quite a page-turner. Much is said, both in academic reviews online and in the introduction/forward to the volumne I read, about Burroughs' first-hand knowledge of frontier life in the American Southwest of the 1880s and 1890s, but this came over as pure glorious pulp.

There's lots of misunderstandings, fiery women, taciturn men, tough hombres and Eastern dandies. There are also some (admittedly) racist portrayals--especially of the Asian cook--though I actually found both the Apache raiders and the Mexican bandit were shown to have quite a good sense of pride and honor (and even the cook was smart and loyal).

I thought the ending happened rather abruptly considering the tight spot the author worked his characters into, but it wasn't enough to diminish my enjoyment of this unexpected treasure!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

At Long Last Update

So, I received an email from a fan--I know, incredible enough right there!--who wondered why I had no page showing my books. I had no answer. Now, that page exists. Click the link to the right, under pages.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

REVIEW: The Glass Minstrel (Hayden Thorne)

The Glass MinstrelThe Glass Minstrel by Hayden Thorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was cold a lot during this book. And that’s a good thing.

A moving story about the aftermath of “an event” that managed to push me in several different directions. Early on (about a third of the way in), I worried that the author had tipped her hand too early; I felt (and continue to feel) the emotional impact of “the event” could have been so much deeper had it been played out to us gradually (i.e., the final fates of Heinrich and Stefan revealed only in the last chapters of the book). But I freely admit that to be a minor and very personal quibble since, as I state in my opening, this is not so much a story about an event, but rather the aftermath.

The setting was wonderfully realized—in addition to being cold I was often (in?)explicably hungry for warm sweetbreads. Technically the book was remarkably sound. It seems so much of the fiction I’ve read of late has surrendered mechanics for drama. I’d rather read a well-written book than an exciting one—which is another personal quibble undoubtedly marking me as wholly divorced from the popular tastes of my fellow man. Thorne knows how to write.

The interwoven story of young Jakob held probably the least interest to me, and seemed a recurring and unwanted distraction (in large part because, having been in his shoes, I expected it to end absolutely humiliatingly—which it actually didn’t, so that was some compensation). In the end it was all Schiffer for me, whom I presume I was supposed to dislike from the start (and I did); his emotional journey was the one that brought the warm tears to the close of this winter tale.

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REVIEW: The Great Derangement (Matt Taibbi)

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American EmpireThe Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire by Matt Taibbi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok, so now I have a small crush on Matt Taibbi.

This book was hilarious. I suppose I had heard of Taibbi before--I'm a bit of a political junkie--but this is his first book I've read. He conveyed a great voice, with sarcasm (and scorn) but also sympathy (and pathos) for those who might at first blush seem the least deserving of either.

The book is a bit too anecdotal, it might have been nice to have a more chronological account of his adventures (I wouldn't have minded spending more time listening to his stories); I wondered at his globetrotting in a few places and how he managed his various subterfuges (he hints at problems arising from his various facades but doesn't elaborate much). This was definitely the highlights.

Recommended, especially for those to whom little (or nothing) is sacred. I mean that in a good way.

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