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Posts tagged book reviews

Quote of the day: “What happens when The Guardian lets an author gloat about stalking a blogger”
October 20, 2014 | 10:25 am

Plagiarism or not, second-hand reporting or not, I can't do better than to simply repeat and link to the above headline. Here's The Guardian, defender of free speech and woolly thinking, running in full the ruminations of author Kathleen Hale on how she tracked down the perpetrator of a one-star review of her book - to her real-world address, in person, face to face. Admittedly, The Guardian doesn't take sides, simply giving the author's account, without implied endorsement even in the subtitle. But commentators on the story soon did, both for and against. A good many who weighed in on Kathleen Hale's side...

Book review: Love Is the Law, by Nick Mamatas, Dark Horse Books
August 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Author, teacher of writing, anthologist, jokester, sometime radical, father-of-adorable-infant and allround nihilistic kid Nick Mamatas has written across genres and voices with wit, zip, and flair through "six and a half novels" and a slew of shorter works. He was even partly responsible for bringing Edge of Tomorrow to our screens by adapting the Japanese original of the story, All You Need Is Kill, into graphic novel form. Love Is the Law is his foray into something like neo-noir or crime fiction, but definitely with a genre-spinning twist that loops in occultism and some urban fantasy as well as far-left...

Virtual Unreality looks virtually imbecilic from the cover on in
July 4, 2014 | 2:29 pm

Virtual UnrealityThis is a book non-review, because it's in large part a review of a book cover. And I apologize unreservedly to any genuine worth in the contents that I may have traduced - but I won't hold my breath. Because wouldn't life be wonderful if every book cover in the world, physical or digital, told you unerringly that its contents were crap?  Plus, if you're going to try to stoke a moral panic, you'd better make sure you get it right from the off, or you're likely to wind up looking virtually ridiculous. I is a writer. I tries to be...

Book review: The New Black, edited by Richard Thomas, Dark House Press
June 7, 2014 | 10:18 am

The New Black from leading indie publisher Dark House Press brings together 20 tales in the burgeoning genre of neo-noir, characterized by Dark House's materials as "a mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, the transgressive, and the grotesque all with a literary bent." That definitely, and accurately, describes the contents of the anthology, and Richard Thomas' s extremely detailed introduction goes about as far as anyone reasonably can in summarizing the genre's essential qualities and leading practitioners. It also comes with an evocative foreword, "Eye of the Raven," from Laird Barron, who could easily wear the neo-noir...

Biblionasium: Where kids write book reviews
March 29, 2014 | 2:33 pm

BiblionasiumDigital Book World has a great write-up about Biblionasium, a site I have not heard about until now which describes itself as a 'Goodreads for Kids.' They previously got around the whole 'social media websites and children under 13' privacy issues by limiting their young user's review-writing options to selecting pre-fab options from a drop-down menu. But in response to requests from teachers and librarians, they have now opened up true review-writing abilities for users of all ages. The write-up points out that the site does restrict these posting abilities so that parents and educators can pre-determine where this stuff gets...

Review: French Reader Series by Yves Thibault
January 30, 2014 | 2:25 pm

french reader seriesI found a great little series on the Kindle store that I think will really help me in my quest to read more French this year. I consider myself a high intermediate in reading (my spoken French is much more fluent) and while I can muddle through with a real book competently if somewhat slowly, I think my ability to improve via lessons has peaked. At this point, I will only improve via practice, practice practice! Enter this great little series. Each book features three short stories written in modern, colloquial French. The stories are chunked so that English translations are...

UK snark awards celebrate Hatchet Job of the Year for harshest reviews
January 15, 2014 | 10:30 am

In a welcome sign that snark survives this side of the Herring Pond, UK book-lovers' site The Omnivore has announced its latest Hatchet Job of the Year Award shortlist "for the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months." And there are some wonderfully brutal, unsympathetic, attacks in line for the final award, which will be presented in early February, with the grand prize of "a year’s supply of potted shrimp." The Omnivore's own manifesto for the Awards makes for some very interesting reading - not least for what it defends. "Newspaper book pages are...

Climate ebook titled ‘Cli-Fidelity’ exposes dangers of nuclear power grids
January 3, 2014 | 12:46 pm

cli-fidelityAcross the Pond, in the UK, British novelist Peter Romilly recently released his second novel with a climate theme, this one titled [easyazon-link asin="B00H7F33PA" locale="us"]Cli-Fidelity[/easyazon-link]-- and the punning title is worth the price of admission alone. It's on Kindle and ready to read, he told me in a recent email. While his first novel, titled 500 Parts Per Million, was about the dangers of climate change and global warming, and we've now reached the 400 PPM mark in regard to parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mother Earth, Cli-Fidelity is a cautionary tale about a nuclear reactor...

Book Review: Undead & Unbound
December 7, 2013 | 10:50 am

Undead & Unbound: Unexpected Tales From Beyond the Grave, put together by the horror and dark fiction authors and serial anthologists Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers, is anything but your usual grab-bag of selfies from the zombie apocalypse that fill the horror aisles these days. No surprise when it comes from Chaosium Inc., a publishing house that won its stripes producing rulebooks for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game before expanding further into horror fiction. The various revenants and walkers in these 19 tales include some of the most outre and genuinely disturbing I've encountered lately, though inevitably one...

Wife of Amazon founder reviews “The Everything Store”
November 5, 2013 | 9:15 am

everything store Editors Note: Both Susan Lulgjuraj and Joanna Cabot submitted stories on this topic, but each had a slightly different approach, so we'll run them both. Be curious what you all think. It turns not everyone is a fan. Certainly Brad Stone has learned that this week when the BusinessWeek senior writer's book was reviewed on Amazon by Mrs. Bezos herself. The New York Times caught the review for “The Everything Store,” a book on Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos. MacKenzie Bezos titled her one-star review “I wanted to like this book,” but she obviously didn’t. MacKenzie Bezos points to a mistake early in the...

When Traditional Publishing Disappoints
October 28, 2013 | 2:36 pm

This weekend, I read the final volume in a trilogy I had been reading throughout the year. I had been prepared for the disappointing ending by the groundswell of online rage about this book---the ending was a bit of a surprise, and not a pleasant one---so my response was a bit of a muted one. But my friends at GoodeReader were not as subdued, and their review was downright scathing. But in her review, Mercy Pilkington makes a point that I thought was an interesting one. Overlooking for a moment the content of this particular book itself, she remarks that the...

Should authors review other authors’ books?
September 9, 2013 | 1:09 pm

A recent New York Times Bookends feature focused on writers reviewing other writers—specifically the argument of "should they or shouldn’t they?" Zoë Heller and Adam Kirsch discussed the topic, touching on why some authors are reluctant to review others, but also why it's important to do so. Heller writes: "Some recuse themselves from reviewing any contemporary fiction at all. Others review only those novels they can praise in good faith. Still others adopt a tactful, discursive reviewing style that allows them to write about books they don’t rate without actually copping to an opinion." Kirsch writes: "Write a bad review and you make an enemy for...