This biography of the man who took a mediocre comic book company, previously known as Timely, and transformed it into the multi-media empire that is Marvel is a fun, bouncy and entertaining, yet honest portrait of one of recent pop cultural history’s most fascinating, sometimes contradictory, occasionally controversial and always surprising figures. Rather than the […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee"
Almost 40 years after Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith returns with the 9th novel about stalwart Russian detective Arkady Renko. Somehow, Renko is still surviving as an honest, resourceful and determined cop in the corruption-plagued land of Vladimir Putin. Is the man supernaturally vigorous? The question deserves thought, considering that here, again, he is subjected […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Siberian Dilemma"
The coffeehouse at Windber’s Grand Midway Hotel has been a weekly rollercoaster since we recently reopened on Saturday nights. Last week was very encouraging with a very decent number of paying customers, including people seeking guided tours of this small Pennsylvania coal town’s famously haunted late 19th Century hotel and buying some esoteric gift items/souvenirs. […]Read more "COFFEEHOUSE NIGHTS: 21 September 2019"
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Classic Novel, 1926). How many of us sit down to read older books that have been long been proclaimed ‘classics’? Like many avid readers, I tend to read more recent titles for the most part. And it is a painful truth that not all books that critics acclaim will […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Sun Also Rises"
Firefly: Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove & Nancy Holder (SF/TV Series Tie-In Novel, November 2018). A cult classic TV series that infused future space adventure with thematic elements comparable to Wild West adventure, Firefly spawned a feature film that has achieved similar status. But only now have we begun to see tie-in novels. Big Damn Hero is the first, […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Firefly: Big Damn Hero"
Chaucer’s People by Liza Picard (Historical/Literary Nonfiction, American Edition 2019). Liza Picard has written a series of books on various aspects of English history. For her latest, published in England in 2017, with its American edition now out, she uses Geoffrey Chaucer’s best known work as a springboard into an entertaining and informative account of what […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Chaucer’s People"
Director George Miller makes a stunning return to his classic post-apocalyptic future series with Tom Hardy very ably filling the role Mel Gibson originated years ago. Miller also co-wrote this all-out, non-stop spectacle with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouvis. This time, a game and indomitable Charlize Theron provides the heroic loner with a fierce if sometimes reluctant […]Read more "FILM REVIEW: Mad Max, Fury Road (2015)"
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo (Historical Fantasy Novel, October 2018). This involving novel takes “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington Irving’s classic short story of love, jealousy and the supernatural, and simultaneously expands and re-imagines it with Katrina as the central character. As in the original, Katrina becomes the unwitting focal point […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel"
With the Grand Midway’s owner Blair Murphy out of town, your truly opened and ran the weekly coffeehouse at Windber’s fabled haunted hotel. We had a nice turnout from 6 till 9, then things slowed considerably for the last 2 hours. The turnout was mostly, but not entirely of regular attendees. A full-sized coffin, recently […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights, September 13, 2018"
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Literary Biography, 2017). This thick, detailed, well-written and insightful biography of one of American’s most beloved authors is already a Number One Best Seller, so my saying it’s deserving of a wide readership may be considered gilding the proverbial lilly. But what the heck? […]Read more "REVIEWED: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder"