Fun Facts Friday: Walt Whitman
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 31, 2019

Walt Whitman (31 May, 1819 – 26 March, 1892) was an American journalist and essayists – I believe he also wrote a poem or two. Mr. Whitman is, of course, one of the most influential poets in the American catalog. Books by Walt Whitman*  Mr. Whitman was born in Huntington, Long Island. In addition to being a published poet, Mr. Whitman held jobs of a government clerk, teacher,  and journalist. During the American Civil War Mr. Whitman worked part-time in the army paymaster’s office volunteered as a nurse. His essay “The Great Army of the Sick” which was published in 1863, talked about his experiences during that time. In 1855 Mr. Whitman published his notable poetry collection Leaves of Grass, using his own money. Leaves of Grass, a poetry collection, is a play on words in Mr. Whitman’s usual self-deprecating style. “Leaves” refers to sheets of paper, “grass” means things of little value. The intent of Leaves of Grass  is more or less “Sheets of crap”. In a delicious irony, Mr. Whitman, who left school at age 11, and he became a great American poet, couldn’t believe that an uneducated English common could have wrote the great plays which are attributed to one…

Book Review: Death in Shangri-La by Yigal Zur
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / May 29, 2019

It took me about a quarter of the book to realize that I’m actually reading two different stories, in two different tones. The first, a noir style narrative, reminiscent of Cold War novels, where an operative, Dotan Naor, is a macho, somewhat sexist loaner being forced to work with a partner who is out of her element. The second, a narrative a-la a travel guide about India, its history, geography and culture.

Graphic Novel Review: The Flash, Vol. 4: Running Scared by Joshua Williamson

About: The Flash, Vol. 4: Running Scared by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Pop Mhan) finds Barry Allen, the title hero, at a breaking point where he is about to lose everything and everyone close to him. This graphic novel collects issues of The Flash #23 – 38. 136 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 9781401274627 My rating for The Flash, Vol. 4: Running Scared – 4 Buy The Flash, Vol. 4: Running Scared from Amazon.com* More Books by Joshua Williamson* Thoughts: This graphic novel start with Barry Allen’s secretive persona, the one where he hides his superhuman abilities from close friends, start to catch up with him. This is the kind of stories I like, those that have personal, not necessarily world shattering events even though The Flash, Vol. 4: Running Scared by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di GIandomenico and Pop Mhan) combines them both pretty well. Barry Allen keeps doubting himself, he can’t decide if he wants to tell the truth to his friends and put them in danger, or keep up the lies which mount up. Lucky for him the Reverse Flash wants some good ol’ fashioned revenge and saves him from his tortured self… maybe. I really enjoyed the…

Fun Facts Friday: William Trevor
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 24, 2019

William Trevor (24 May, 1928 – 20 November, 2016) was a playwright and novelist from Ireland. Books by William Trevor* Born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, as William Trevor Cox to a middle class family, Mr. Trevor graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a history degree. He worked as a sculptor under the name Trevor Cox and to make extra money he worked as a teacher. In 1954 Mr. Trevor and his wife of two years, Jane Ryan, immigrated to England. In England Mr. Trevor worked as a copywriter and art teacher. Mr. Trevor won the Whitbread Prize three times, the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and is a five time nominee for the Booker Prize. He won the prestigious Hawthornden Prize for his second novel, The Old Boys, published in 1964 During the 1970s, Mr. Trevor had great success in television and the theater. During 1973 alone he saw three of his plays performed in London theaters and three of his dramas were produced for television. Mr. Trevor was awarded an honorary Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1977 for “services to literature”, became a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2002. In…

Book Review: D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose

About: D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose is several short historical accounts of women spies, tied into a single narrative. Ms. Rose is an author and journalist whose work appeared in such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Saturday Evening Post, among others. 400 pages Publisher: Crown Language: English ISBN-10: 045149508X My rating for D-Day Girls – 3 Buy D-Day Girls from Amazon.com* More Books by Sarah Rose* Thoughts: This book sounded very interesting to me as I enjoy the many narratives and stories World War II has produced. D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose tells of these stories, focusing on women who spied for the Allies. The book follows three women as they were recruited as spies and sent behind enemy lines, and unheard of act back then. They had to be tough, smart, have a good head on their shoulders, and thing quick on their feet. To be fair, I knew most of what is written in this book from other books I’ve read. This is the first book though, that I’ve…

Graphic Novel Review: The Flash, Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded by Joshua Williamson

About: The Flash, Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico) is a graphic novel where The Flash is fighting a litany of villains, or is he helping them?  This graphic novel collects The Flash #14 – 20. My rating for The Flash, Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded – 4 Buy The Flash, Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded from Amazon.com* More Books by Joshua Williamson* Thoughts: Frankly I did not expect this graphic novel to be this good. The Flash, Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded by Joshua Williamson (illustrated by Carmine Di GIandomenico) combines great visuals and character driven story in one fantastic package. Even though the main story line focuses on Thee Rogues and their issue, there are several short, but to the point, stories focusing on Barry Allen’s relationship with his girlfriend, Iris West, and Wally West (Kid Flash). The main story line adds some vagueness to the question of whether The Rogues are good or bad. The best villains are ones that do bad things for good reasons. The writers seem to have a problem though, what to do with Iris West? She’s supposed to be an ace reporter, yet can’t figure out that Barry Allen is The Flash? Is she waiting…

Fun Facts Friday: Frederic Prokosch
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 17, 2019

Frederic Prokosch (17 May, 1906 – 2 June, 1989) was an American writer, known for his novels, poetry, excellent translations, and literary criticism. He is mostly known for his novels The Asiatics and The Seven Who Fled. Books by Frederic Prokosch* Mr. Prokosch was born in Madison, WI. His family of intellectuals (his father, an Austrian immigrant, was a professor at Yale University) traveled a lot. He was an excellent squash player, and represented the Yale Club (where he got his Ph.D from Yale University) in the New York State championship. During World War II, Mr. Prokosch was a cultural attaché in Sweden. After the war Mr. Prokosch settled in Rome as a lecturer in the University of Rome. Considered as a master of the craft, Mr. Prokosch’s had a following of notable figures including Thomas Mann, Sinclair Lewis, Albert Camus, Thornton Wilder, T.S. Eliot, Thornton Wilder, and Dylan Thomas. Among Mr. Prokosch’s literary accomplishments is the fact that he was an accomplished forger. He created a set of pamphlets he tried to pass off as originals. Eventually Mr. Prokosch confessed to his forgery “prank”, which was written about by Nicolas Barker in The Butterfly Books: An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Twentieth Century Pamphlets….

Book Review: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
4 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / May 16, 2019

About: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick is a non-fiction book for the information age, talking about how people send information (and misinformation) from tum-tums in Africa, to Ada Lovelace, Alan turning and every “expert” on Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Gleick is an author who explores the consequences of science & technology on our society & culture. 544 pages Publisher: Vintage Language: English ISBN-10: 1400096235 My rating for The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood – 4 Buy The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood from Amazon.com* More Books by James Gleick* Thoughts: If I  had to describe this book in one word it would be “ambitious”.  The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick encompasses many subjects, some more complicated than others, into a strong and enjoyable narrative. Mr. Gleick covers a lot in this book, one has to read it with an open mind even though sometimes I felt as if he is trying to convince me of a conclusion he already made, and is now trying to find evidence. This book, however, did open my eyes. There are subjects I thought I knew a lot about, but this book made…

Book Review: Metropolis by Philip Kerr

About: Metropolis by Philip Kerr is a novel featuring German detective Bernie Gunther, this time between World War I and II. This is the fourteenth book in the series, sadly published after Mr. Kerr’s death. 384 pages Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Language: English ISBN-10: 0735218897   My rating for Metropolis – 5 Buy Metropolis from Amazon.com* More book by Philip Kerr Thoughts: I have enjoyed the Bernie Gunther books previously, and was surprised to see this unfamiliar one pop up in my browser. I quickly found out that Metropolis by Philip Kerr was published after the author’s untimely death last year. This book is chilling, not because of the murders which occur, but because of the first hand eye witness to the rise of Nazism and Hitler. The excuses people make, to themselves and others, to support such regime while spitting on actual war heroes (for example) in order to make themselves feel better about their support. Bernie Gunther, the protagonist, doesn’t actually care, as usual. He is not a political animal, but a policeman stuck in a gray zone in which no one in particular gets his alignance. But at least he hates Nazis (and Communists). After World War I,…

Graphic Novel Review: The Flash, Volume 2: Speed of Darkness by Joshua Williamson

About: The Flash, Volume 2: Speed of Darkness by Joshua Williamson (with the creative team of Felipe Watanabe, Oclair Albert, Chris Sotomayor, Steve Wands, , Jorge Corona, and Ivan Plascencia) is a graphic novel continuing the story of Barry Allen and the trouble in Central City. This graphic novel collects The Flash #9-13. 128 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401268935 My rating for The Flash, Volume 2: Speed of Darkness – 3 Buy The Flash, Volume 2: Speed of Darkness from Amazon.com* More Books by Joshua Williamson* Thoughts: This graphic novel was Kid Flash (Wally West) heavy, and more than one version to boot. I’m not a big fan of Kid Flash, or kids saving the day and such, but I still enjoyed The Flash, Volume 2: Speed of Darkness by Joshua Williamson (with the creative team of Felipe Watanabe, Oclair Albert, Chris Sotomayor, Steve Wands, , Jorge Corona, and Ivan Plascencia). This whole graphic novel, from the values it presents to the look and feel are feel good and do away with the darker side of DC (contrary to the title). The plot itself is a bit weak and seems to be a vehicle to show off a new villain…

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