Fun Facts Friday: Pío Baroja
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 28, 2018

Pío Baroja (28 December, 1872 – 30 October, 1956) was a Spanish writer, biographer and physician. Portrait by Joaquin Sorolla (1914) Books by Pio Baroja* Born as Pío Baroja y Nessi in San Sebastián , his father was Serafin Baroja, a noted writer at the time. Baroja started writing seriously at the age of 13. Even though he was a licensed physician, he only practiced for a short time in Cestona. His time as a student, however, was not wasted as it was material for his novel The Tree of Knowledge (El árbol de la ciencia – 1911). Other jobs the writer had were managing bakery of his aunt Juana Nessi ,and running for the Spanish parliament as a radical Republican. In 1899 the author met the Oscar Wilde and Jacques Élisée Reclus. In 1903 Mr. Baroja visited Tangier as a war correspondent for the newspaper El Globo. Ernest Hemingway was a fan of Mr. Baroja. When they met in October 1956 Mr. Hemingway said: “Allow me to pay this small tribute to you who taught so much to those of us who wanted to be writers when we were young. I deplore the fact that you have not yet…

Book Review: My Brother Job by Shemi Zarhin
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / December 26, 2018

About: My Brother Job by Shemi Zarhin is an Israeli novel, unfortunately this novel has not been translated (yet?) into English. Mr. Zarhin is an author and movie directory.   424 pages Publisher: Keter Books (2017) ASIN: B076455LBQ   My rating for My Brother Job – 5 Books by Shemi Zarhin* Thoughts: The way My Brother Job by Shemi Zarhin is written is almost biblical, very lyrical almost as if it belongs to a different day and age. Regardless of the story-line, the words just flow one after another in perfect harmony. The plot is fast, interwoven with true events and one never really knows where fiction starts and reality ends. Job is a wonderful protagonist, he is likeable most of the time, and very conflicted (maybe even schizophrenic). I really enjoyed the way the author toyed with words. I did not find the writing cumbersome at all, but instead enjoyed the way the words rolled, I even had to read some passages out loud, simply because it was clear to me that this was the way the author meant for them to be read. I was never sure about anything in this story, at the end I was starting to doubt…

Graphic Novel Review: Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar by Tom King
4 Stars , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / December 24, 2018

About: Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar by Tom King (illustrated by Mikel Janin, Joëlle Jones, and Travis Moore) is a graphic novel which follows the complex path that Batman and Catwoman lead to their wedding. This graphic novel includes Batman #38-44. 168 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401280277   My rating for  Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar – 4 Buy  Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar from Amazon.com* More Books by Tom King Thoughts: Again I find myself enjoying the heck out of Tom King’s run of the Dark Knight from Gotham. Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar by Tom King (illustrated by Mikel Janin, Joëlle Jones, and Travis Moore) is another enjoyable gem in the series which I’m enjoying a lot more than I should. Again, the writing is top notch and the stories are solid and surprising. An entire issue teasing a relationship between Batman ( Bruce Wayne) and Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), but done in a creative way. The one shot of Catwoman (Selina Kyle) looking for a wedding dress was surprisingly charming, even to this old man. A whole issue dedicated to Poison Ivy taking over the world begs the question whether she’s…

Fun Facts Friday: Rebecca West
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 21, 2018

Rebecca West (21 December, 1892 – 15 March, 1983) was a British journalist, author and travel writer. Books by Rebecca West* The author’s birth name was Cicely Isabel Fairfield, she took her nom de plume from a Henrik Ibsen work called Rosmersholm, who rebellious heroine was of that name while training to be an actress in London. In 1947 Time called her “indisputably the world’s number one woman writer”. The Dreyfus affair made a big impression on Ms. West, showing the will to persecute minorities based on weak evidence and mob mentality. West, a leftist, was against the Bolshevik Revolution, and she paid a heavy price among her friends who refused to admit its failings even when faced with eyewitness accounts. West understood the evil which the Nazis stood for and attacked the Conservative government for its stance on appeasement, and the Liberal left for their stance on pacifism. West was a staunch anti-communist, but she never joined the conservative movement which held her in high regard. She wrote literary criticism for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and The New Republic. When writing a review of H. G. Wells‘ novel Marriage, Ms. West called the…

Author Q&A with Jason McMillan
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / December 20, 2018

Jason McMillan wrote The Grey Zone, his first novel which takes place in a future where The United States has joined the Global Federation of Nations to implement the Basic Human Standard, which improved life for much of the world. Mr. McMillan has been kind enough to answer a few questions about his first book and writing. The Grey Zone is available for purchase at Amazon.com Q. How did you go about writing your first book? A. Well, I was reading a book about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombings. I was struck by the similarities in McVeigh’s beliefs and common political beliefs concerning the federal government today, as well as the similarities between McVeigh’s violent actions and the violent actions of ISIS or the IRA. I wanted to explore an American society in which radical belief can quickly morph to radical violent action and decided that, in order to best explore common American domestic terrorism, it would be best to place the story some time in the future where I could control the circumstances in which that terrorism arose. That was, I believe, November or December of 2015. I wrote a short story on the subject, part of…

Book Review: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
3 Stars , Fantasy , Fiction , Latest Posts , Science Fiction / December 19, 2018

About: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas is a novel which imagines the world if time travel was invented in the late 1960s by four female scientist, and a murder being investigated across time. This is Ms. Mascarenhas’ first novel. 336 pages Publisher: Crooked Lane Books Language: English ISBN-10: 1683319443   My rating for The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas – 3 Buy The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas from Amazon.com* More Books by Kate Mascarenhas* Thoughts: The premise of The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas sounds very interesting, a mystery being investigated across time, starring a mostly female cast. The book has a lot in it, a murder-mystery which drives the plot, but I found the world building a lot more interesting. The author envisioned a futuristic world where time travel is a business, used mostly for commercial purposes and military logistics. It is not available to the general public even though they are aware of the technology and reap its benefits. The chosen time travelers are beholden to the company, who is beholden to no one. They have their own rules, laws, and currency (since those apply differently based on which era…

Graphic Novel Review: Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan
4 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / December 17, 2018

About: Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan (art by Miguel Sepúlveda and Ed Benes) is a graphic novel continuing the story of the Red Lanterns, fueled by anger and rage. This graphic novel collects Red Lanterns 8-12, and Stormwatch 10.   144 pages Publisher: DC Comics (March 12, 2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 9781401238476 My rating for Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns – 4 Buy Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns  from Amazon.com* More Books by Peter Milligan* Thoughts: As I stated in my thoughts on Blood and Rage (vol. 1), I was pleasantly surprised by this run since I’m not a Green Lantern fan in his standalone stories. Once again, however, I was pleasantly surprised reading the continuation in Red Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Death of the Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan (art by Miguel Sepúlveda and Ed Benes). The first volume introduced some great characters (Rankorr who is still half human, and Bleez which is certainly poised to become the breakout character), and this volume expands on them as they each go on different paths. The art is very cinematic, the book looks great and very…

Fun Facts Friday: Shirley Jackson
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / December 14, 2018

American author Shirley Jackson (14 December, 1916 -8 August, 1965) born on this day. She is best known for her excellent short story The Lottery. Books by Shirley Jackson* 1 ) Jackson believed in white and black magic 2 ) The author influenced Stephen King and Neil Gaiman 3 ) Jackson’s husband, Stanley Hyman, is a noted jazz and literary critic. 4 ) When The Lottery was published in The New Yorker (26 June, 1948) many readers cancelled their subscription in anger. 5 ) South Africa banned The Lottery all together. Jackson took it as a compliment. 6 ) Jackson completed six novels. 7 ) Jackson, a housewife as well as a writer, said that writing is “the only way I can get to sit down.” 8 ) Jackson died of heart failure, thought to be brought on by smoking and weight issues. 9 ) In 2007 the Shirley Jackson Awards were established. The prize is awarded in several categories (short fiction, novellas, etc.) to stories in horror , the dark fantastic ,and psychological suspense. 10) Stephen King wrote: that “there are few if any descriptive passages in the English language that are any finer than this; it is the…

Book Review: Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis

About: Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis is a non-fiction book about a British spy operating in occupied France. Mr. Lofits was a corporate attorney, but is now a full time writer. 384 pages Publisher: Gallery Books Language: English ISBN-10: 1501198653 My rating for Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy – 5 Buy Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy from Amazon.com* More Books by Larry Loftis*   Thoughts: The one thing which I immediately realized by reading this book is that the author has much sympathy for his subject. Odette Sansom, Lise, was not just the most decorated woman, but the most decorated woman of the whole war. Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis tells an amazing story, and it’s one of those book which I love, the author taking a real story and writing it as if it were a novel. Mr. Loftis creates a nerve wrecking narrative, filled with excitement and heroism. I found the writing to be…

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