Category Archives: Books

Madeleine L’Engle‘s Kairos Novels

This Library of America collection includes the eight novels most readily associated with L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, including that book itself. These are divided in this instance into two smart little volumes, The Wrinkle in Time Quartet and The … Continue reading

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Naomi Booth’s Sealed

“Oh lord, keep me safe from harm. Oh lord, keep me safe from my skin.” This is a first novel? Wow. Absolutely stunning. Feels a bit like Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s … Continue reading

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Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light

No’am Newman penned this review. I first came across the strangely named Roger Zelazny in 1973-4, when I borrowed a friend’s copy of “The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame,” which is composed of short stories published in the pre-Nebula era. … Continue reading

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Aliens Omnibus Volume 7: “Criminal Enterprise” and “No Exit”

There are four films in the original Alien franchise. Two extra if you’re counting the amusing but unremarkable Alien vs. Predator films, which are more fun than the two sloppy prequels. Want more? Okay; there’s a movie adaptation for each … Continue reading

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R. F. Foster’s Luck and the Irish: A Brief History of Change, 1970-2000

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Malachy McCourt’s The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring is a ring fronted by a crowned heart held in two hands; usually gold (although I have seen them in silver), it symbolizes “friendship, loyalty and love.” Irish in origin, it has a rich history in Irish … Continue reading

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Roger Zelazny (writer) and David G. Grubbs, Christopher S. Kovacs, and Ann Crimmins (editors)’ Threshold, Volume One of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny

It was just past the Gloaming one summer evening when the postman made a special delivery to the Green Man mailroom, a rather large and quite sturdy package that contained the first four volumes of the six volume set of … Continue reading

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Lucy Burningham,  My Beer Year

With the subtitle of “Adventures with hop farmers, craft brewers, chefs, beer sommeliers & fanatical drinkers as a beer master in training”, it sounds like a lot to dig into. And it is; the Master Cicerone is beer’s equivalent to … Continue reading

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Jen Agg, I Hear She’s A Real Bitch

A look behind the kitchen door, into the world of restaurants, chefs and what it takes to thrive in this business, Agg’s unflinching look at her life feels like a master class in the art of running a restaurant, but … Continue reading

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Brian James Freeman (ed.), Reading Stephen King

I remember being eleven years old, clutching a shiny new paperback copy of The Shining. (Yes, my parents bought it for me. They were cool with me reading anything, as long as I was reading.) These essays may be preaching … Continue reading

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Leife Shallcross’s The Beast’s Heart

The retelling of fairy tales is a time honored tradition. As a result, Leife Shallcross’s The Beast’s Heart is in excellent company. This volume attempts to do a perspective flip, by focusing upon the Beast of Beauty and the Beast … Continue reading

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A Trio of Nonfiction Book Reviews for the End of Winter

Here’s a look at three books I’ve had to myself for far too long… Brian James Freeman (ed.), Reading Stephen King I remember being eleven years old, clutching a shiny new paperback copy of The Shining. (Yes, my parents bought … Continue reading

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Anthony Bourdain’s “The Nasty Bits”

(To keep things on the up-n-up, I must confess this is a re-print of the piece I wrote back in ’06. I could change tenses, and/or mention Bourdain’s passing, but I’m still in denial. So here ’tis, unsullied by the … Continue reading

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Jorie Graham’s The Dream of a Unified Field

Jorie Graham has been honored in just about every way it is possible for America to honor a poet, including the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for The Dream of a Unified Field, a selection of poems from 1974 to … Continue reading

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Liz Williams’ The Demon and the City

Elizabeth Vail is the author of this review. In this second instalment in Liz William’s creative and highly enjoyable Detective Inspector Chen series about the futuristic Chinese city Singapore Three, its favourite paranormal police officer Chen and his squabbles with … Continue reading

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Robin Williamson’s Four Gruagach Tales

Tim Hoke penned this review. Various Internet sources define a gruagach as a creature similar to brownie. In these tales, however — and Robin Williamson claims to draw from traditional Irish and Highland Scottish sources — a gruagach is a … Continue reading

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Jesse L. Byock’s Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer

Volsungasaga is the Norse version of the pan-Germanic epic that shows its southern persona in Das Nieblungenlied. Like so many national epics, it is a series of stories linked by a folk hero, in this case Sigurd (Siegfried in the … Continue reading

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Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings

Ellen Kushner’s first novel was Swordspoint, a romantic fantasy set in a universe strongly reminiscent of Jacobean and Restoration London, with admixtures of the Elizabethan and Georgian eras – life is bigger than life, intrigue is rampant, the City, which … Continue reading

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Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

When it comes to Shakespeare, everyone is entitled to an opinion. When it comes to Yale professor, MacArthur fellow, and self- confessed “Bardolater,” Harold Bloom, you’re entitled to his opinion, as well. And in the 700-plus pages of Shakespeare: The … Continue reading

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Christa Faust and Gary Phillips, DC Comics novels – Batman: The Killing Joke

“Bullock moved like he was chasing a naked woman carrying a plate of barbecued ribs.”* Tritan’s first foray into novelizing classic DC comics stories dives into the Joker’s most infamous tale; The Killing Joke. When this novelization came to me … Continue reading

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Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers [trans. By Lowell Bair]

Alexandre Dumas père was, in real life, a character as colorful as his heroes. He was the son of Napoleon’s famous mulatto general, Dumas, became a successful playwright, had numerous mistresses, took part in the revolution of 1830, spent extravagantly, … Continue reading

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C.R. Maguire‘s A Whovian Feast: A Doctor Who Inspired Cookbook for Discriminating Fans and Chris-Rachael Oseland’s Dining with The Doctor

This review is really an acknowledgement that there’s a nearly inifinite number of writings about Doctor Who done by the fans of the show over the past fifty years. Yes there’s fanfic where they’ve created their own stories, some using … Continue reading

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Anthony Burdge, Jessica Burke, Kristine Larsen (editors), The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who

With essays covering the entire span of the various Doctor Who television series from 1963 onward, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who addresses various ideas of The Doctor as a mythic figure. Unfortunately, the central premise — the idea that … Continue reading

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Tanya Huff’s The Second Summoning

Tanya Huff’s The Second Summoning is, as might be expected, a sequel to Summon the Keeper. It is just as wryly funny, with the attitude we’ve come to expect from Huff, and is sometimes surprisingly insightful about the trials and … Continue reading

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Arnie Fenner and Cathy Fenner’s John Jude Palencar: Origins: The Art of John Jude Palenca

Eye candy is good and I always enjoy it — particularly really great eye candy. Eye candy is anything that’s most remarkable for its visual appeal. The term is often interpreted as derogatory, implying that the object relies solely upon … Continue reading

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Ursula LeGuin’s The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition

In October, Saga Press released Ursula LeGuin’s collected Earthsea works, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess. This collection includes the original trilogy: A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1971 ) and The Farthest Shore (1972), as well as … Continue reading

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Billy Collins’ Questions About Angels

Billy Collins served two successive terms as Poet Laureate of the United States, the highest honor this country can give a poet. Born in 1942 in New York City, Collins has published numerous collections and garnered, among other recognition, fellowships … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint’s A Handful of Coppers: Collected Early Stories, Volume 1– Heroic Fantasy

I haven’t read every bit of fiction Charles de Lint has written, but I’m working on it. This newest collection of stories, A Handful of Coppers, brings me a little closer. In it are tales, as the subtitle says, of … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint’s Svaha

Svaha is Charles de Lint’s science-fiction novel. It seems that every fantasy writer must write at least one science-fiction novel, just as every science fiction writer must experiment with fantasy of one sort or another. As a dystopian, post-Apocalypse science … Continue reading

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Excerpt from The Old Oak Chronicles: Interviews with Famous Personages by Professor Arnel Rootmuster (Royal Library Press; Old Oak Wood, 2008)

Our next interview is with the youngest faery to have ever have won the King’s Oak Leaf, awarded for extraordinary valor in service to the Faery King and Queen. Sneezlewort Rootmuster Rowanberry Boggs the Seventh is a mere 209 years … Continue reading

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Pat Cadigan and Paul Dini’s DC Comics Novels – Harley Quinn: Mad Love

“If resistance to Batman was a crime, then crime was a revolutionary act.” Everybody loves Harley Quinn. Well maybe Batman thinks she’s kind of a pain, but let’s not talk about him right now, shall we? Harley’s today’s star, and … Continue reading

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J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

Marian McHugh penned this review. Peter Pan is a classic tale that has been enjoyed by many generations since its original publication in 1911. Barrie originally wrote Peter Pan as a play around 1903 but due to its success Barrie … Continue reading

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Constantine Cavafy, The Complete Poems of Cavafy

Modern Greece has produced an amazing body of literature including works by such luminaries as Nikos Kazantzakis, George Seferis, and others. One of the most significant members of this select community is the poet Constantine Cavafy. The Complete Poems of … Continue reading

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William Eggleston and John Szarkowski, William Eggleston’s Guide

William Eggleston is one of a small group of people who created color photography as a viable medium in art. William Eggleston’s Guide, the catalogue for an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976, is … Continue reading

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Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

The universe of Tim Burton  is shielded by a thin curtain. This little book  is worth a look  to see inside the mind behind  the epic movie-making grind.  From Frankenweenie to Batman,  Pee Wee Herman, Edward Scissorhand.  A world exists, … Continue reading

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Dave Pegg and Nigel Schofield’s Off the Pegg

Dave Pegg has been in the music business for more than 50 years. He started out on the Birmingham pop scene in the middle of the 1960s, first as a guitarist then turning to bass. He played in various groups … Continue reading

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CP Lee’s Like the Night (Revisited) — Bob Dylan and the road to the Manchester Free Trade Hall

The 1966 concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall is the most legendary single performance of Bob Dylan’s career; perhaps of the entire rock era. This concert, at which an irate fan shouted “Judas!” at Dylan, almost immediately entered the … Continue reading

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Ursula K. LeGuin’s Lavinia

Ursula K. LeGuin seems to be getting better as the years go by. Her newest novel, Lavinia, is a historical fantasy that is in some ways even more ambitious than her previous work. First, some background: in book VII of … Continue reading

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Emma Bull and Susan Gaber’s The Princess and the Lord of Night

Marian McHugh wrote this review. Emma Bull is best-known to readers as a writer of urban fantasy novels, including War for the Oaks, Bone Dance, and Finder. She is also a musician involved with the bands Cats Laughing and the … Continue reading

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Helen Brennan’s The Story of Irish Dance

Kim Bates penned this review. Helen Brennan’s The Story of Irish Dance is an engaging, personal, informative, and opinionated look at the reclamation and revival of traditional Irish Dance in the past 40 years — it’s the sort of story … Continue reading

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Robert Frost’s A Boys’ Will and North of Boston

A Boy’s Will was Robert Frost’s first published collection, seeing print when he was nearly forty, in 1913. North of Boston, published in 1914, was his second collection. Published together, they provide a good signpost at the point where 19th-century … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint’s The Very Best of Charles de Lint

In his introduction, Charles de Lint informs us that he approached this project with some trepidation. And with a publisher dead-set on a title like The Very Best of Charles de Lint, it’s not hard to see that any author … Continue reading

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Eric Brown’s Helix

Elizabeth Vail penned this review. In a future not quite comfortably distant from our own, Earth is a wreck thanks to pollution, civil strife, and an almost complete political breakdown. In an effort to continue the human race, the European … Continue reading

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Robert Holdstock’s Avilion

Even before the untimely passing of author Robert Holdstock, it would have been impossible to read Avilion as anything other than a tale of partings, a resolution to many of the threads woven through the Ryhope Wood cycle. Now, it … Continue reading

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Patricia A. McKillip’s The Moon and the Face

In The Moon and the Face, Patricia McKillip revisits Kyreol and Terje from her lovely Young Adult novel Moon-Flash. Kyreol and Terje, having followed the river to the Dome in book one of this duology, now push beyond the new … Continue reading

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Patricia McKillip’s Moon-Flash

It’s quite gratifying to revisit books from one’s childhood. Actually, it can be gratifying or disastrous. I’m pleased to say it was the former for me with Patricia A. McKillip’s Moon-Flash. Originally published by Argo Books in 1984, Moon-Flash is … Continue reading

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Glenn Yeffeth’s Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Discuss Their Favorite Show

If you’re not a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this book isn’t for you, and this review isn’t, either. If you are a fan, it’s only fair to let you know my take before I comment on anyone else’s: … Continue reading

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Tanya Huff’s Summon the Keeper

Summon the Keeper is quite possibly the first of Tanya Huff’s books that I read – she’s another one of those writers who has a long history in my library. This one is a contemporary urban fantasy that is hilariously … Continue reading

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Wisława Szymborska’s View With a Grain of Sand

Wisława Szymborska is a highly regarded Polish poet who has a long and distinguished career. Born in 1923 in Kornik, in western Poland, she studied Polish Literature and Sociology at Jagiellon University in Krakow, and has published sixteen collections; her … Continue reading

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Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart

Rebecca Swain penned this rrview. Take a deep breath before you start this book. It’s a heavy 701 pages of adventure and sex. It’s also one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long time. I recommend it … Continue reading

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