Tag Archives: nonfiction

Humphrey Carter’s Benjamin Britten: A Biography

Whatever one may think of Benjamin Britten’s place in the history of music, there is no doubt that his life provides a fascinating and insightful look into the place of the artist in the twentieth century. In Humphrey Carter’s biography, … Continue reading

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William E. Deal’s Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan

If the title sounds daunting, don’t be worried. William E. Diehl’s Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan is a well-organized and eminently usable reference to the history, arts, and customs of Japan from 1185, the beginning of … Continue reading

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Various Authors on Where Writing and Gaming Meet

My recent nonfiction reading has tended to be driven by the fact that as a writer and gamer, I’m always looking for new tools to put into my virtual toolbox. Here’s three recent reads aimed in that direction. Beating the … Continue reading

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David Peterson’s The Art of The Mouse Guard: 2005 – 2015

Without doubt, the Mouse Guard series is one of the best illustrated graphic novel series I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. It certainly ranks up with Bill Willingham’s Fables, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and G. Willow Wilson’s Air for creating … Continue reading

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Audrey Isabel Taylor‘s Patricia A. McKillip and the Art of Fantasy World-Building

We’ve reviewed damn near every book that Patricia A. Mckillip has published over the many decades she’s been writing. Indeed the editing team is updating the special edition we did on her so that it can be republished this Autumn, as … Continue reading

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Alan Trist and David Dodd’s The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

I’m Uncle Sam that’s who I am / Been hidin’ out in a rock and roll band — ‘U.S. Blues’ by Robert Hunter What’s your favourite Dead song? Do you have a fair idea of what the lyrics for that song … Continue reading

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Kate Wilhelm’s Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop

I was prepared to like this book just because of the publisher’s name — and, of course, the fact that it is by Kate Wilhelm, one of science fiction’s legends: aside from the quality of her stories, in the 1950s … Continue reading

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Gary Westfahl’s Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction

Hugo Gernsback occupies a unique role in the history of science fiction, but exactly what that role is at present has generated a fair amount of controversy. He has been depicted as the visionary creator of a new genre of … Continue reading

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Dave Eggers’ The Monk of Mokha

Being half-Scandinavian on my mother’s side, I was introduced to the joys of coffee at an early age – by the time I was 5 or 6 years old, I’d say. With more than a dozen years as a coffee … Continue reading

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Cliff “Oats” Williams’ One More Train to Ride

This review was written by Craig Clarke. What does the average reader really know about the culture of the American hobo? Mostly they keep themselves out of sight due to the misdemeanor status of actions necessary to their survival (e.g., … Continue reading

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Luis Ortiz’ Emshwiller: Infinity x Two — The Art and Life of Ed and Carol Emshwiller

“I like the idea of going through different careers. It’s like being reborn a number of times.” That is probably the best summation of Ed Emshwiller’s life, from the horse’s mouth. Known to science-fiction fans of the 1950s, ’60s and … Continue reading

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Aleksander Pluskowski’s Wolves and the Wilderness in the Middle Ages

The wolf has been a potent image in myth, folklore, and fairy tales throughout history, and one would expect that to be particularly true of the Middle Ages, when so many of our legends and tales had their beginnings. Aleksander … Continue reading

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Gross and Altman’s “Slayers & Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy and Angel

Published just in time for the 20th anniversary of BtVS (whoa), this collection of comments, anecdotes and deep thoughts is obviously a treasure trove of delight for fans of the Whedonverse.  But it’s also a great book for anyone who’s … Continue reading

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Avram Davidson’s Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends

I have had the distinct pleasure through the years of being in line for a number of reissues and new editions of works by some of the great writers of the Golden Age of science fiction and fantasy. Maybe it’s … Continue reading

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Samuel R. Delany’s About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews

A bit of history: I don’t really remember when I started reading Samuel R. Delany’s novels. Looking at the list of his works, I seem to have pretty much kept up with everything through the mid-eighties, which is roughly the … Continue reading

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Alex Vernon’s On Tarzan

Tarzan is one of those icons of popular culture that has taken on a resonance that runs from the personal to the mythic. One of the ironies that underlies Alex Vernon’s On Tarzan is that old question that I confront … Continue reading

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Robert Michael’s “Bobb” Cotter’s Vampira and Her Daughters: Women Horror Movie Hosts from the 1950s into the Internet Era

Well hello there, boys and ghouls!  Devilishly delightful weather we’re having, wouldn’t you say?  Time to curl up with something scary, lie on your bed of needles, and while the day away until the sun sets and things really get … Continue reading

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Joseph Stanton’s The Important Books: Children’s Books as Art and Literature

I am more than a little pleased to learn that I am not the only person who would think of comparing a children’s picture book with Les Tres Rich Heures du Duc de Berry, which is exactly what Joseph Stanton … Continue reading

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Constance W. Hassett’s Christina Rossetti: The Patience of Style

I suppose it’s accurate to say that we live in an archaeological age. We in the West spend a great deal of time investigating and re-evaluating the past, sometimes to our benefit, sometimes not so much. There are, for example, … Continue reading

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Denis Wood and John Fels’ The Natures of Maps

You may wonder why the pages of Green Man Review, a ‘zine devoted to the roots of arts and culture, which purview most often results in insightful and intelligent studies of music, speculative fiction, and film, should play host to … Continue reading

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Piers Vitebsky’s The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia

Siberia, that vast tract that covers the Russian North from the Urals to the Pacific, is one of the most inhospitable places that humanity has found to live, equaled only by its American counterpart (although Siberia does hold the record … Continue reading

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Jayme Lynn Blaschke’s Voices of Vision

Jayme Lynn Blaschke is a freelance interviewer, which earns him points for courage under fire: interviewing is not really very easy, and writers and editors are sometimes among the most difficult of subjects. Voices of Vision is a collection of … Continue reading

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Joseph W. Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Where to start a discussion of a book on mythology that is itself nearly a legend? Joseph W. Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces is one of those landmark works of twentieth-century thought that have opened up new territory … Continue reading

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Joseph Campbell: Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal

Joseph Campbell, to those who have an interest in mythology as something other than stories, is a name that should be instantly recognizable. Through his writings he has pulled together the strands of mythology, folklore, psychology, and how they all … Continue reading

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Suraiya Faroqhi: Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire

We tend to think of the Ottoman Empire as monolithic: a unitary state ruled from Istanbul and subject to a uniform system of laws. A moment’s reflection will lead to the inescapable conclusion that this couldn’t possibly be true: at … Continue reading

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Suraiya Faroqhi: The Ottoman Empire and the World Around It; Handan Nezir Akmeşe: The Birth of Modern Turkey: The Ottoman Military and the March to World War I

The Ottoman Empire and its successor, modern Turkey, have time and again played an important role in European politics, and yet there are vanishingly few sources in English to bring us the viewpoint of the Turks themselves, or, indeed, to … Continue reading

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Peter Faulkner and Peter Preston eds.: William Morris: Centenary Essays

Don’t ask me how to discuss a book of essays on the life and work of a figure who was surely among the last Renaissance men. William Morris was a poet and polemicist, artist and designer, politician and businessman, and … Continue reading

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W. R. J. Barron, editor: The Arthur of the English: The Arthurian Legend and Medieval English Life and Literature

Originally published in 1999, The Arthur of the English is the second volume in a series of scholarly anthologies centered on the Arthurian literature of the Middle Ages. The series as a whole is a cooperative effort of the University … Continue reading

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Audrey L. Becker and Kristin Noone’s Welsh Mythology and Folklore in Popular Culture

Welsh Mythology and Folklore in Popular Culture, edited by Audrey L. Becker and Kristin Noone, is, as one might expect, a scholarly anthology focusing on the influence and outright appropriation of Welsh mythology and legends in popular culture through the … Continue reading

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Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava

There are memoirs, and there are cookbooks. A few authors have combined the two, but none that I’ve read have been so successful at it as Diana Abu-Jaber with her delightful The Language of Baklava. Abu-Jaber has previously written two … Continue reading

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Jessica Warner’s Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason

The consumption of alcoholic beverages is nearly as old as civilization itself.  Alcohol has played a major role in the history and folklore of every society. Jessica Warner makes a persuasive case in Craze that the so-called gin craze in … Continue reading

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Those troublesome Irish: Three books on Irish rebellions

If you wanted to take a short course in the history of Irish rebellion — a subject as old as a peat bog and as contemporary as today’s news — you could do much worse than to read these three … Continue reading

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