Temper by Nicky Drayden (Fantasy Novel, 2018). Drayden’s second novel, like its predecessor, offers elements of multiple genres (including SF and horror), but overall it’s mostly a fantasy. The setting is the southern tip of an alternative Africa. Here magic of a sort is a commonplace and a pair of Gods (one allegedly all-good, the other […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Temper"
We had quite a good and varied crowd at last night’s coffeehouse at Windber’s Grand Midway Hotel. Plenty of regulars, a few past guests we hadn’t seen in a while and a sprinkling of total newcomers. It being the last one before Halloween night, I again donned the creepy Bell Boy costume from last weekend’s […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights: 25 October 2018"
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Novel, 2018). Whether it’s the mood of the country/world, various authors responding to what’s in the news or just plain coinicidence, I’ve noted several recurrent themes in novels (and even nonfiction books) I’ve been reading. For one thing, I’ve been encountering plots involving women in either […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Map of Salt and Stars"
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston (Historical Folk Memoir, 2018). Zora Neale Hurston was one of the bright lights in the flowering of African-American culture centered in Harlem in the 1920s. An acclaimed novelist, antropologist and folklorist, she published numerous short stories, nonfiction articles, essays and seven books in her […]Read more "REVIEWED: Barracoon"
Searching for the Amazons by John Man (History versus Myth, February 2018). Historian John Man specializes in topics related to Asia. In addition to being thorough and doing excellemt research, he is also a skilled writer, making the past come alive. For instance, last year’s excellent biography of Saladin, which I reviewed in an earlier blog […]Read more "REVIEWED: Searching for the Amazons"
The God Gene by F. Paul Wilson (SF novel, 2018). Wilson’s new novel is a direct sequel to Panacea with the same two lead characters (Dr. Laura Fanning and former CIA agent Rick Hayden). There are frequent references to that work and before the main plot of The God Gene comes to fully dominate things, there’s a subplot tying […]Read more "REVIEWED: The God Gene"
Dare Not Linger by Nelson Mandela, Mandla Langa and Graca Machel (Memoir/Biography/Recent History, 2017). While thoroughly readable and interesting, this book is a somewhat odd blend of personal memoir and political biography. It was originally conceived as the former, a direct sequel to the former South African President’s best-selling account of his life and his famous […]Read more "REVIEWED: Dare Not Linger"