Fun Facts Friday: Dr. Samuel Johnson

Dr. Samuel Johnson (18 September, 1709 – 12 December, 1784) was an English write, poet and essayist who has made large contributions to English literature.

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Book Review: A Lion in the Grass by Mark Zvonkovic

This was a surprising book, unlike many of the espionage novels I’ve read before. The story takes place over 70+ years in which the protagonist finds himself on the edge of history, like many of us do.

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Book Review: A Quiet Madness: A biographical novel of Edgar Allan Poe by John Isaac Jones

I don’t know much about Poe’s life, besides the bullet points many people are familiar with. I thought the author did a good job re imagining his life, habits, and most of all motivations. I especially enjoyed the chapter in which Poe wrote his most famous poem “The Raven” and how it came to be.

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Fun Facts Friday: O. Henry

O. Henry (11 September, 1862 – 5 June, 1910) was an American writer, known for his short stories.

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Book Review: Comrade Koba by Robert Littell

It is unclear what role Koba plays in Stalin’s government, except that he is a very high, and admired advisor. Koba, like Stalin, also came from Georgia and, like Stalin, excuses the crimes which the regime commits as a path to a greater “worker’s paradise”. It is a very interesting exercise to explain such concepts to an audience, especially if they’re ten year olds. Koba, at points, seem to be trying to convince himself of the deeds he is a part of, instead of convincing Leon

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Book Review: Stan Lee: A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz

This is a short biography on one of the most influential men in American pop-culture, and a true American success story. The book tries to tie Stan Lee’s stories and ideas to Jewish culture and Jewish religious book, some of the passages are a stretch, but all of them are interesting and show an understanding of the author of the characters he created.

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Fun Facts Friday: François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand

François-Auguste-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand (4 September, 1768 – 4 July, 1848) was a French author and diplomat, known as one of the first Romantic writes of his country.

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Book Review: Pont Neuf by Max Byrd

A historical fiction story following two female reports during World War II. Annie March arrives in France, 1944 after D-Day, her mentor is Martha Gellhorn, an ace reporter, editor, who is in a troubled marriage to writer Ernest Hemingway. Annie gets to know several soldiers and takes on photography to tell her story.

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Book Review: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

Book Review: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

What gives this book its unique voice is that the memoir is told through the eyes of Mr. Bryson as if he went back in time to his childhood in Des Moines, IA but retained his talent for writing and life experience – yet writing from the perspective of a child with a wink and a nod towards the appreciative audience

Book Review: The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg

Book Review: The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg

I found the setting of a claustrophobic small fishing town of Fjällbacka to be the most intriguing character.  Läckberg does a masterful job capturing the feel of a small town with lots of bad history to bury, where every ripple causes a big effect in the lives of many people.  The seemingly idyllic town, where rich people flock to buy summer houses for peaceful, restful and pleasant vacations, holds many dark riddles which the townsfolk would rather be left uncovered.

Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

However, this is a fun book; the book can be ridiculous at times and riveting at others. The character of Salander, who was somewhat believable in the first novel is taken to extremes in this one, but is still great fun even though the “chance encounter” plot twist is a bit overplayed.

Book Review: James Monroe by Gary Hart

Book Review: James Monroe by Gary Hart

The book is a good discussion starter about President Monroe, it is by no means a complete biography, but it’s not meant to be either.  The narrow scope of the book is interesting, concise and well written; a welcomed introduction a president many have forgotten.

Beirut 39: New Writing from the Arab World Edited by Samuel Shimon

Beirut 39: New Writing from the Arab World Edited by Samuel Shimon

Beirut 39 edited by Samuel Shimon is a collection of stories and poems.  The collection is the product of a literary competition in the Arab world, young authors and poets, all under 40 years of age, competed in a contest sponsored by, among others, Banipal magazine in the Hay festival. The best 39 short stories, […]

Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I liked Little Bee and the ending caught me a bit by surprise and I liked the distinct voices author Chris Cleave tries to use – it made the story more interesting and gave us a bit of background about Little Bee without having to resort to flashbacks.

Book Review: Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland

Book Review: Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland

There is something about the Romanov’s which has always been lighting up people’s imaginations, whether it’s the rumors about their death (helped immensely by misinformation from the Russian government), or the enormous wealth symbolized by the fabulous Faberge eggs or the legends of the survival of Princess Anastasia.
In “Eye of the Red Tsar”, a fictional tale with historical accuracy, author Sam Eastland introduced his audience to the Tsar’s personal detective Inspector Pekkala. We first meet Pekkala in exile at the harsh forests of Sebria, where he works in the gulag as a tree marker.  Pekkala has survied this punishing task for almost a decade, shattering the record for a job that most people last in a few months before dying.

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

The book touches on many themes, such as the role Jewish writers and artists played in American pop culture (like it or not comics are American mythology). However, escapism is probably the most important theme, whether it is from Nazi occupied Europe or from one of the characters sexual identity or physical weakness.

Book Review: Infamous by Ace Atkins

Book Review: Infamous by Ace Atkins

The story is told through the eyes of an invisible observer, a fly on the wall. We, the readers, do not hear what any of the characters think but we observe them from a close distance.The storytelling is riveting and exciting; the characters are interesting, engaging and dimensional. I don’t know if Mr. Atkins meant to make George Kelly a likable figure, but to me he was the most likeable person in this unique cast of characters.

Book Review: Booth’s Sister by Jane Singer

Book Review: Booth’s Sister by Jane Singer

 From what I understand, author Jane Singer used Asia Booth’s diary as her basis for this book which makes her take on the events following the assassination of President Lincoln unique.

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