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Posts tagged book review

Book Review: Collected Poems of Edwin Morgan, Carcanet
September 27, 2013 | 9:47 am

Edwin George Morgan (April 27, 1920 – August 17, 2010), Scotland's first official modern Scots Makar (the Caledonian Laureate), died recently leaving a huge financial legacy to the Scottish National Party and to various literary and cultural causes, and a far greater poetic legacy to modern Scottish literature. His achievement is impressive in its sheer size and persistence as much as anything else: This 2012 ebook update of Morgan's 1996 collection comprises 858 pages of his poetry, commencing with an early poem, 'Sculpture', from 1939, as a prologue, and finishing with a personal 'Epilogue' by Morgan, composed in 1990. Reading...

Review: Wayward by Blake Crouch
September 18, 2013 | 10:00 am

When I reviewed Pines last year for another site, I enjoyed it but thought the ending was flat. Apparently I had missed the fact that Pines was the first book in a series. Wayward is the second book in the series, and I think the first book works much better now that there's a second. The basic premise of the series is that a genius, David Pilcher, foresaw the end of humanity and captured and froze select individuals to rebuild humanity thousands of years in the future. Pines covers Ethan Burke, a former Secret Service agent, waking up in Wayward Pines and...

Book Review: At Fear’s Altar, by Richard Gavin
September 16, 2013 | 4:00 pm

Canadian "numinous horror and esoterica author" Richard Gavin has released four collections since his debut "Charnel Wine" in 2004, and has garnered the kind of reputation that many writers would sell their souls for. This collection, his fourth, has received reviews varying from the enthusiastic to the ecstatic. There are thirteen stories, including a fictionalized prologue so dark that it definitely counts as one. There is the nightmare encounter with a dead god in "The Abject," where a wilderness becomes a metaphysical landscape that fulfils a myth in the most horrible but perhaps redemptive way. There is the new and quite...

Book Review: ‘The Dragon Masters’ by Jack Vance
August 31, 2013 | 7:57 am

Thanks to Jack Vance, my early teens were haunted by dragonish monstrosities with such names as Termagants, Striding Murderers, Juggers, and Blue Horrors. These weren't drawn from a young adult story, but from one of Vance's most concentrated, intensely imagined and effective evocations of a place and above all, a society, very remote from ours, in time, space, and mindset. "The Dragon Masters" was one of the classics that consolidated his early reputation, and it has worn very well with time. Note that this book is an example of how mutable the standards of story length can be, as well as the...

Book Review: Yesterday’s Classics E-Book Collection
August 27, 2013 | 8:09 pm

Yesterday's ClassicsIt's my last week of summer vacation, and I'll be spending it planning for the coming school year. I have been delighted to find a growing niche of publishers that are targeting the back-to-school market with specialized e-book collections, and this e-book collection comes from one such publisher. Yesterday's Classics is part of a website called The Baldwin Project, which formats children's classics and offers them in print, via email subscription, or online as a plain-text website or interactive learning portal. The first 225 releases are available in Mobi or ePub, in a bundle that they were kind enough to provide for me to...

Book Review: ‘Just a Geek’ by Wil Wheaton
August 20, 2013 | 11:00 am

Wil WheatonI got this book from the recent Humble Bundle, and I went into it expecting to like it. I was a huge "Star Trek" fan back in the day, and I never 'hated' Wesley Crusher the way some fans seemed to. I've also enjoyed his recurring bit part on "The Big Bang Theory," so I was expecting a fun read. And I got ... an OK read. My main issue was that although all of his stories were technically about separate incidents, the incidents all were about the same few themes, so they got tiresome. There was the "auditioning for a part if...

Book Review: ‘Dust’ by Hugh Howey
August 20, 2013 | 9:29 am

Hugh Howey"Dust" is the final instalment in indie darling Hugh Howey's Silo Saga, which began with "Wool" in 2011 and concludes with this just-released title. I picked it up on release day because I enjoyed the previous two volumes and also because Hugh Howey sells his work free of DRM, and I am all for that! "Dust" picks up where the "Shift" omnibus left off, with Donald and his sister Charlotte hiding in Silo One and trying to unravel the end game for the silo folks, while Juliette struggles as mayor of an untrusting Silo 18. While Lukas, her lover, picks up...

Book Review: ‘The Complete Symphonies of Adolf Hitler & Other Strange Stories’ by Reggie Oliver
August 5, 2013 | 12:35 pm

Former actor, and playwright and author Reggie Oliver has been named more than once as the rightful successor to M. R. James and Robert Aickman in the English tradition of the weird tale. "The Complete Symphonies of Adolf Hitler," his second collection from the superlative British independent house Tartarus Press (already featured in TeleRead), is another chance to find out why. Originally published in 2006, it was re-released earlier this year as an e-book, with original illustrations by the author, who is a talented draftsman as well. There are sixteen stories in this very generous, and generously priced, collection, plus an introduction...

Book Review: ‘Chain of Evidence’ by D.B. Corey
August 1, 2013 | 9:27 pm

Chain of Evidence[easyazon-image align="right" asin="0989369609" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515BmITRY8L._SL160_.jpg" width="100"] Sometimes a book needs to come with a warning. The publisher sent me a review copy of [easyazon-link asin="0989369609" locale="us"]"Chain of Evidence"[/easyazon-link], and I decided to start reading it over lunch. What she forgot to mention is that the villain is a necrophiliac. Good thing I have a strong stomach. Once I got past that, it was a good book. The antagonist was compelling, and the idea was intriguing. Harvey, the antagonist, is a medical examiner who uses his position to conceal his murders by making them look like the work of another killer. It's...

Book Review: ‘The Last Banquet’ by Jonathan Grimwood
July 31, 2013 | 10:04 am

Jonathan Grimwood's "The Last Banquet" comes garnished with superlatives, so much so that I'll promise to avoid serving up more stale double entendres about "a feast of a book." Suffice it to say that this life story of Jean-Marie Charles, Marquis d’Aumout, from his earliest memory in 1723 "crunching happily on a stag beetle" in the ruins of his starved parents' manor, to his death in 1790 with sans-culottes pounding at his door, has earned its author a Michelin three-star ranking that casts any Brit celebrity chef into the shade. Jonathan Grimwood has spent over 15 years writing genre fiction, chiefly...

Book Review: The Dying Earth Omnibus by Jack Vance (Vance Digital Edition)
July 28, 2013 | 9:00 am

The Dying EarthIn a Mad Men postwar MAD world of New Look housewives (and national security policy) and spic-and-span American Dream homes bloomed a sick, fecund flora of tainted growths with gorgeous, cloying scents, redolent of Clark Ashton Smith, Weird Tales and the last American offshoots of European decadence. The Dying Earth cycle of stories by Jack Vance, unfolding under a red ailing sun in a far distant future where technology has long grown indistinguishable from magic, carried the heritage of fantasy literature forward into the 1950s and set the scene for almost every subsequent development in the genre before Tolkien. Vance published...

Book Review: ‘Collected Poems’ by Lynette Roberts
July 27, 2013 | 3:06 pm

Lynette RobertsLynette Roberts (1909-1994), Welsh by name, descent, and election, in fact sprang from far more twisted roots than her association with the Dylan Thomas generation of modern Welsh poets might suggest. Although her two published books of poetry, "Poems" (1944) and "Gods with Stainless Ears" (1951),  were written in the small Welsh village of Llanybri, and weave Welsh scenes, history, myth, names and words into their texture, her pedigree is more that of a second Lisa St Aubin de Teran. She hailed from "Down Where The Moon Is Small" country, the Welsh community in Argentina, where her father was a prominent railway...