The Lame Best of 2012 List
Latest Posts / December 31, 2012

I was lucky enough to read many good books this year. I could not narrow it down to just ten of fifteen, it simply seemed unfair, too hard and frankly, not much fun. You’ll notice the list includes some classics, some older books as well as new ones; self-published indie books as well as ones by major publishing powerhouses; fiction, non-fiction and everything in between including a children’s book. Basically a list of books I read this year, not necessarily those that were published in 2012. So without further ado… Fiction     The 100-Year-Old Who Climbed Out Through the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson       The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs     The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón Pegasus Falling by William E. Thomas The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen Sikander by M. Salahuddin Kahn Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada     Shadows Walking by Douglas R. Skopp     Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander   Non-Fiction The Liberator by Alex Kershaw     Andrew Jackson:…

Thoughts on: War & Peace: Book 3 Part 3
Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / December 29, 2012

The French army is hurt, moving out of Borodino, it advances towards Mosco. Kutuzov, realizing that the French momentum cannot be stopped, gives up Moscow without a fight or sacrificing lives to defend it. This move is very unpopular and meets with general disapproval of the populace. The “haves” evacuate Moscow.

Fun Facts Friday: Manuel Puig
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 28, 2012

Today is the birthday of Argentine author Manuel Puig who was born in a small village in 1932 (d: 22 July, 1990)   Books by Manuel Puig   1 ) Puig loved American pop-culture. 2 ) After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, Puig wanted to become a screenwriter 3 ) Puig became a novelist once he re-wrote his failed screenplay into a novel. 4 ) That same book, Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, shocked the argentine establishment and was burned in Puig’s hometown of General Villegas. 5 ) Puig took on the popular Argentine serial novels with his next book Heartbreak Tango. 6 ) Puig, a gay man, was sent to prison for soliciting an undercover police officer. After his release, Puig went into a self-imposed exile. 7) Today Argentinean literature students learn that Puig belongs to the belongs to the Postboom and Post-modernist schools. 8 ) His book Kiss of the Spider Woman (El beso de la mujer araña) was made into a movie by the Argentine-Brazilian director, Héctor Babenco starring William Hurt and Raul Julia. The book was a Broadway musical as well. 9 ) In the movie Verde Tropical Puig is played by Fabio Aste. 10)…

Guest Review: The Jedi Academy Trilogy II: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars) by Kevin J. Anderson
Fiction , Guest Posts , Latest Posts / December 22, 2012

  Buy this Star Wars Book in paper or elec­tronic copy* Andrew: Orig­i­nally pub­lished at: 2/5 Rancors – Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy continues in this second volume, Dark Apprentice. At the conclusion of the first entry, Jedi Search, Luke Skywalker had laid the groundwork to start his new academy for training potential Jedi on the planet Yavin IV. Here Anderson explores the early days of the Academy itself, along with continuing the plotline of Admiral Daala’s exploits and also devoting a large amount of the story to a new storyline involving Princess Leia and Admiral Ackbar. There is a reasonably interesting story present in this book. Unfortunately, it is dragged down by pedestrian writing and Anderson’s inclination to directly spell out exactly what the characters are feeling and thinking. There’s not any room for subtlety and what drama there is gets undercut by passages that feel more like summaries than prose. The most engagingly written plotline in this book is the tragedy that befalls Admiral Ackbar on a trip to Vortex to visit the legendary Cathedral of Winds. In the aftermath of the Vortex disaster, Ackbar resigns from the New Republic government and returns home to Mon Calamari. Soon after, Chief of State Mon Mothma falls gravely…

Fun Facts Friday: Benjamin Disraeli
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 21, 2012

Sir Benjamin Disraeli was born today, 21 December 1804 (d: 19 April, 1881), he was a man of many interests but today he is known most as a statesman but he was a prolific author as well.   Book by Benjamin Disraeli   1 )      Disraeli’s nickname was “Dizzy”. 2 )      In the 1820s Benjamin dropped the apostrophe from his last name (D’Israeli). 3 )      Disraeli is considered to be the pioneer of the political novel 4 )      His title was 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. 5 )      Although he was born Jewish, Disraeli was baptized at the age of twelve. Despite Disraeli being an observant Anglican. This was due to his father’s dispute with their synagogue. The elder D’Israeli would remain against organized religion for the rest of his life. 6 )      Disraeli’s his career was marked with criticism tainted with anti-Semitism including cartoons, nicknames (“Shylock”, “abominable Jew”) as well as being portrayed in an act of ritually murdering the infant Britannia. 7 )      Disraeli’s father, Isaac, was a historian and literary critic. 8 )      Disraeli faced financial disaster while gambling in the stock market. He and publisher John Murray attempted to publish The Representative, a newspaper to promote South…

Book Review: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
3 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / December 20, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather on Blogcritics. About: O Pioneers!By Willa Cather was written in 1913 and is considered the first novel of the Great Plains trilogy. The novel has many themes including isolation, love and feminism. 128 pages Publisher: Dover Publications Language: English ISBN-10: 0486277852 My rating for O Pioneers! – 3 Buy this book in paper or FREE in electronic format  More Books by Willa Cather Thoughts: I’ve only been recently introduced to the writing of Willa Cather. I believe it was on some “top 100” list (who said they’re lame?) and figured I’ll give it a try. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather is considered a classic and I can certainly understand why. The writing is outstanding and it has all the makings of the great American novel. The story tells of hard work, wide eyed innocence towards the future and opportunities abound as seen through the eyes of the immigrant class. The scenery plays a major part in the novel, the lyrical episodes about the pastoral land are sprawling and majestic. As is with many other novels, the setting of the harsh and beautiful land is playing out as another character in the…

Book Review: Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo by Alex Raymond and Don Moore
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / December 18, 2012

Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo: The Complete Flash Gordon Library 1937-1941 by Alex Raymond and Don Moore is an outstanding book which will introduce new readers to the wonderful art of Alex Raymond, drawn to the exciting story of Don Moore. For those who are familiar with the art and story, the format would make the book easier to read and the clear and clean pages make the images jump up much better than the cheap Sunday newspaper.

Bookish Beer – The Raven
Latest Posts / December 17, 2012

As I do when I’m at my local liquor store, I try to pick up a beer or two if it looks interesting and sounds good. Most of the time I stick with Sam Adams, a safe bet (Cherry Wheat … not so much), but every now and then I take a chance and, more often than not, pleasantly surprised. When I saw The Raven Special Lager you know I had to pick it up. Notice the great bottle caps, great packaging and catchy phrase: “The Taste is Poetic”. But, packaging aside, the beer is actually…. very good! I bought it for a party we hosted which had a nice mix of people from the US and abroad, they all agreed that it was a descent beer and actually went quite fast. Anyone who opened the fridge took The Raven first and commented on how good it was. I hope they’ll make more literary beers, it’s a great way to introduce authors into people’s homes who otherwise wouldn’t even bother opening a book. I wonder how many people looked up who Sam Adams was after they saw his name on the shelf? Just keep the quality high! Zohar – Man of la Book…

$50 Giveaway & Book Review: A Hard Act to Follow by Henry Bushkin
Latest Posts / December 15, 2012

About: A Hard Act to Follow by Henry Bushkin is a memoir by Johnny Carson’s friend, longtime money-manager about their relationship. This is a very personal book told in a very personal way and sheds some light, for outsiders like me, on the whole entertainment industry. The giveaway is held by the book tour promoters – please see the form and instructions below. My rating for A Hard Act to Follow – 4 Thoughts: A Hard Act to Follow by Henry Bushkin (website | Facebook | @henrybushkin) is a tremendous insight into the world of entertainment and the private world of celebrity talk show host Johnny Carson. Mr. Bushkin was Carson’s lawyer officially, but he was much  more than that, a tennis partner, adviser, enforcer but most importantly a friend who lent a trusted ear and provided advice with Carson’s benefit in mind. The book tells of the 20-year relationship between Bushkin and Carson, filled with wonderful stories about a man who many Americans spent a lot of time watching, but never really knew. One of the themes of the book is the price of fame, which seemed to be a theme I encountered in several books this year. While Carson was…

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