Category Archives: Books

Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 (book review)…

Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 by Joseph R. Lallo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Totally enjoyable!

Having become a fan of Joseph’s writing with his ‘Book of Deacon’ saga i was pleasantly surprised when this turned up in my Bookbub alerts at 99p, and curious as to how he would get on in the Steampunk genre – i simply couldn’t resist.

And i’m glad i didn’t resist. Joseph’s writing is as good in this series as it is in the Book of Deacon series, the characters are excellent, nothing is ever too far fetched, etc..

And i simply had no choice but to buy the 4th book in the series and jump straight into that.

Anyways, for anyone into Steampunk or even anyone who is Steampunk curious or even you’ve never heard of Steampunk, you can’t really go wrong with this trilogy in one cover. Start reading today!

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BUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese Thought (book review)…

BUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese ThoughtBUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese Thought by Inazo Nitobe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always found Japanese history, particularly that of the Samurai, fascinating. But living on the other side of the world in a completely different time in a completely different culture one can never truly know what these people and the time and place they lived in was really like.

What we can do is simply enjoy these snap shots from the past about a culture long gone that we may still have something to learn from.

Originally published in 1900 the setting for this book is between the end of feudalism and the beginning of modern Japan and is, to my mind at least, a wonderful view of the past and what that can possibly mean for the future.

A very interesting book for anyone who enjoys reading and learning about Japan, especially the historical influences of Bushido on modern Japan.

I gave it 4 stars as it does use some very long words and i did find myself using look-up on my Kindle a great deal which does detract from the flow of the book. But it’s definitely worth the effort and you do learn a few things along the way.

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Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel (book review)…

Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal Mercier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As someone who totally enjoys their philosophy Huxley style, i found this book absolutely wonderful and incredibly thought provoking.

I really do love good philosophers who are able to place deep philosophical discourse into novels that can either be read just as stories and/or as works of philosophy. Aldous Huxley was a master at this after becoming annoyed that only academia would ever read his philosophy papers and wishing for a far further reaching demographic than academia – which Huxley certainly achieved. Peter Bieri, AKA Pascal Mercier, while not having written as much as Huxley certainly matches him, IMHO, for depth of thinking and skill of writing.

What i really enjoy about the philosophical novel is that, to my mind, it frees up the thinking of the philosopher to say much much more than if they were simply writing an academic paper. In the novel form the philosopher can ascribe thoughts and ideas to fictional characters and not then have to carry any burden for holding such a view point themselves, whether they do or not, they can simply blame it upon the character and distance themselves from it entirely. While in academic philosophy what is written is pretty much always blamed on the philosopher and history has shown that philosophers have expressed certain views while muting others in order to appease and placate the ruling powers of their societies, peers and academia. The philosophical novel, is in my opinion, far more honest than the academic paper.

Anyways, get your thinking cap on if you want to read this one. It’ll certainly get the neurons fired up.

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After Alice (book review)…

After Alice by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading other reviews one has to agree that Gregory has a penchant for using words that are far too big and little used. But then i think one is maybe missing the point…

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were very much books of the Victorian age and Gregory’s writing in his spin offs from both simply tends to keep with the language of that age and the words used – he is, after all, a Victorian spin off specialist so why be surprised at the Victorian use of words in his writing? I would definitely say that all the words i had to quickly look up on my Kindle were Victorian throw backs and to be quite honest they didn’t detract from Ada’s story at all for me. If anything, they brought a genuineness to Ada’s story in the they kept with the upper middle class Victorian world in which this is set.

And i also find it nice to learn a few new (old and forgotten) words to baffle people with. Pompous as accused by curmudgeons or simply having fun with language?

There are certainly worse writers out there for using overblown language, and they have no excuse at all for doing so as they are writing contemporary fiction, not Victorian spin offs.

If you can’t be bothered with a little, Victorian style language then maybe this book isn’t for you. But if you can just accept it’s there for a valid reason and deal with it accordingly and enjoy expanding your vocabulary a little along the way then you’re in for a good yarn.

I read this immediately after reading the original 4 books on Wonderland and i felt it flowed really well from those.

Although, unlike the original Alice books this book is certainly not for young children. It’s definitely aimed at a more mature audience – those who enjoyed Alice in their childhood who would like to revisit Wonderland as late teens and adults perhaps.

The story does end with several loose ends, which i hope means Gregory will be coming back to Wonderland in the future to finish these loose ends off.

I for one enjoy Gregory’s writing and will always be a fan of his books.

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The Hunting of the Snark an Agony, in Eight Fits (book review)…

The Hunting Of The Snark by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last of the 4 books in the Alice series. Although it’s not actually about Alice, it’s simply a poem about hunting Snarks, but it’s well worth reading if you’ve just read Wonderland and Looking-Glass.

I would have given this 5 stars as it’s a great poem, but the layout on this version leaves a lot to be desired. But it is a free version so shouldn’t really complain.

Would recommend paying a few pence for a version with a better layout.

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Through the Looking-Glass (book review)…

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, that was quite the adventure.

Like a lot of people, i had these books read to me when i was a young child and have never read them since. And my only idea of the story of Alice is the film version, which isn’t correct at all. So it’s certainly been interesting to revisit them as an adult and understand them as someone’s dreams, especially when dreams take on a whole different meaning as adults.

I definitely would recommend all adults re-reading, Wonderland and Looking-Glass, fun books that give a little better perspective on life in general.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (book review)…

Alice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A classic book that will stand the test of all time, for adults as well as children.

Best of all, it’s completely free on Kindle. What’s not to like?

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Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (book review)….

Alice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll
My rating:
5 of 5 stars

I’m having an Alice binge at the moment and decided i needed to go back to the very beginning of the story to see how it came about.

This book is great, not just having the original story, but also letters to and from the author at the time. A wonderful piece of literary history.

And now i’m straight into ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, which is the re-written and fleshed out edition of this original.

Definitely something all adults should go back and read – and learn not to take things too seriously.

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The Shipping News (book review)….

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read ‘Accordion Crimes’ years ago, i set Annie as a saved author in my ‘Bookbub’ account in the hope of getting a cheap copy for my kindle so i could read it again sometime.

But instead of the hoped for ‘Accordion Crimes’, ‘Bookbub’ sent me an email for this book instead and i jumped straight onto it in the hope of more of the fantastic writing i had enjoyed so much in ‘Accordion Crimes’, and i wasn’t disappointed.

Once again, Annie’s writing and attention to detail is incredible, and she really takes you on the journey of the main protagonist as he settles into his new life in Newfoundland.

One thing this book does do is convinces me that i never, ever, want to go to Newfoundland, and it does make me wonder why Annie would buy a summer house there – possibly for inspiration?

Anyway, if you’re looking for a great read you can’t really go wrong with Annie Proulx, and i very much look forward to ‘Bookbub’ sending me some more great offers of her books in the future – i certainly won’t hesitate to buy any of them.

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The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (book review)….

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful, thought provoking collection of short stories from someone who knows how to write short stories.

Well worth the 5 star rating i gave it.

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