Book Reviews Information

Beyond Bodybuilding: Stranger in a Strange Land -- A Book Review


When America's foremost literary critic, Harold Bloom, professor emeritus at Yale was asked to define literary greatness, he did so as follows,"I have tried to confront greatness directly: to ask what makes the author and the works canonical. The answer, more often than not, turned out to be strangeness, a mode of originality that either cannot be assimilated, or that so assimilates us that we cease to see it as strange.

The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators, by Gordon Grice


The black widow spider is notorious for eating her mate as they copulate, but how many of us know much more than that about this beautiful, mysterious, spider?Grice collects black widows and keeps them in jars and studies them, and he tells us more than we care to know at times. But it is not just black widows that interest Grice, it is rattlesnakes, praying mantis, tarantula, pigs, dogs, and the recluse spider.

Book Review: Money Without Matrimony


MONEY WITHOUT MATRIMONY: The Unmarried Couples Guide to Financial Security, Sheryl Garrett and Debra Neiman, Dearborn Trade Publishing. Paperback $21.

For Fans of Seinfeld-like Coincidences


Isn't That Bigamy (c) 2005, ISBN 1411634241, Mike Vogel, Lulu PressYou have just broken up with your girlfriend who leaves you in a busy restaurant with no way home, a tough waitress dumps a drink in your lap for no reason, and now you have to walk home with a wet crotch. If that is not enough, while walking across a bridge, you witness a mob hit quite by accident.

Washington Historian Remembers Harriet Lane, the Greatest First Lady


Washington Historian Remembers Harriet Lane, the Greatest First LadyWASHINGTON DC: She was the first White House Hostess to be called "First Lady." Enough said.

Why Malta? A Mystery-Thriller Author Tells Why


"Why Malta?" my new Maltese friends kept asking me when they find out that my mystery-thriller The Cellini Masterpiece is set on Malta. Mind you, only the Maltese ask that question.

Lethal Option - Book Review


"This has to be one of the best detective novels I have read in some time - right up there with Lawrence Sanders! P.J.

ARTURO EL REY - Book Review


This large (about 378 pages), fantasy-adventure novel should give best selling authors like Stephen King heavy competition. Fantastically interwoven with elements of King Arthur's realm, including a little Arthurian romance, Arturo el Rey will keep the reader captivated.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - A Review


If writing was a religion, it shall be easy to deem 'Harry Potter and the half-blood prince' as the penultimate blasphemy, an utmost sacrilege. A book that discredits its own magnitude, it is a joke in the Queens' English that bravely illustrates the argument for its painful ineptitude.

Metaphorically Selling


The Big IdeaA lot of people consider selling a very difficult task. Unfortunately for them, selling is an activity that forms part of everyone's daily routine.

A Coaching Book Review


Win-Win Partnerships - Be on the Leading Edge with Synergistic CoachingWin-Win Partnerships takes Coaching and Partnering to a new level. This book explores much more than employer/employee relationships.

Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry Book Review


Author: Thomas C. Oden Paperback: 384 pages Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1st ed edition (May 1, 1983) Language: English ISBN: 0060663537Book Content:Introduction: What is Pastoral Theology?I.

Headlong Into Quicksand: The Tale of Today in America


America´s 220 years of Democracy (of its 400 years) is longer than the Greek 100 (of 1000), the Roman 150 (of 1000), or the British 180 (of 1600.) These European democracies are the only large ones ever.

The Bible Code II: The Countdown, by Michael Drosnin


Sir Isaac Newton knew about the Bible code 300 hundred years ago when he described it as "a cryptogram set by the Almighty?.The riddle of the God-head, the riddle of past and future events divinely fore-ordained.

The Isaiah Effect, by Greg Braden


Why do some prayers seem to be answered while others not? "The secret of prayer lies beyond the words of praise, the incantations, and the rhythmic chants to the `powers that be."We are only using a small part of the "equation" of prayer and those elements that we are missing are emotion, thought, and feeling; it is these elements that when properly aligned are the formula for creation.

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Clive King, who has died aged 94, was the author of several children's books and is best known for Stig of the Dump, the original and imaginative fantasy story of the friendship between Barney, a boy of the modern era, with Stig, a boy from long, long ago who lives in a nearby chalk pit in a home created from things he can creatively and skilfully repurpose from waste, including a chimney from tin cans and windows from glass bottles....

Films based on books might have the intolerable disadvantage of people smugly claiming "the book is so much better", but they also result in a huge boost at the box office.

According to new research from the Publishers Association, films based on books take 44% more at the box office in the UK and 53% more worldwide than original screenplays.

..."In short, published material is the basis of 52% of top UK films in the last 10 years, and accounts for an even higher share of revenue from these leading performers, at 61% of UK box office gross and 65% of worldwide gross," the report reads.

The New York Times has a rare interview with Anne Tyler to coincide with the publication of her latest novel, Clock Dance. Tyler rarely does interviews because she dislikes the way they make her feel the next morning. "I'll go upstairs to my writing room to do my regular stint of work and I'll probably hear myself blathering on about writing and I won't do a very good job that day. I always say that the way you write a novel is for the first 83 drafts you pretend that nobody is ever, ever going to read it."

The good news for fans is that Tyler has no plans to retire: "What happens is six months go by after I finish a book," she said "and I start to go out of my mind. I have no hobbies, I don't garden, I hate travel. The impetus is not inspiration, just a feeling that I better do this. There's something addictive about leading another life at the same time you're living your own." She paused and added: "If you think about it, it's a very strange way to make a living."

The New York Times reports on the changing face of the romance novel genre:

...The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don't always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, Ayesha at Last, takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett...

...."Readers want books that reflect the world they live in, and they won't settle for a book about a small town where every single person is white," said Leah Koch, co-owner of the romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif. Last year, six of her store's top 10 best-selling novels were written by authors of color, Ms. Koch said.

Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.

In a brief statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Barnes & Noble said CEO Demos Parneros (who had been named CEO in April 2017) had been terminated for "violations of the Company's policies." While not saying what policies Parneros violated, B&N said his termination "is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies, or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto." In addition to being fired immediately, Parneros will not receive any severance, B&N said. B&N said Parneros's removal was undertaken by its board of directors, who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, celebrated novelist Junot Díaz adamantly denied the allegations, including a claim he once "forcibly kissed" writer Zinzi Clemmons.

Díaz, who was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, said he was "distressed," "confused," and "panicked" by the accusations, but insisted he had not bullied the women or been sexually inappropriate.

Harlan Ellison, a major figure in the New Wave of science fiction writers in the 1960s who became a legend in science fiction and fantasy circles for his award-winning stories and notoriously outspoken and combative persona, died this week 84. During his life, he wrote more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts. The Guardian recommends five of his best...

Donald Hall, a prolific and award-winning poet and man of letters who was widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died. He was 89.

Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":

There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"

...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."

Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.


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