User Profile


Joined 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I try to review every book I finish. On Mastodon:

This link opens in a pop-up window

Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture, #2) (2022) 5 stars

After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume …

I am in the key demographic, I think

5 stars

The second installment in The Final Architecture series is smartly crafted with good pacing, action scenes which are able to keep one's interest, and well thought-out character details which increase the interest we have in the primary and secondary players. It is all quite a feat. We spend maybe a third of the book in the viewpoint of the brain-hacked Intermediary navigator Idris Telemmier who is the target of galactic powers who want to possess him. He manages to become indispensable in yet another way straining credulity somewhat, as more light on the nature of Unspace and the hostile Architects is shown by means of a mysterious artifact. There is a galactic war, ruthless gangsters, sympathetic aliens, and sassy robots too in case the Architect plot grows dull. It all comes together in the end as a massing of forces for the third installment of the series but for me …

Pump Six and Other Stories (AudiobookFormat, 2010, Brilliance Audio) 4 stars

A set of dark futures from the mid-2000s

4 stars

This is the first collection by an author who has won nearly all the important science fiction awards for fiction. All the stories are dark, but the interessing thing is how different the dystopias are from one another while the down-trodden characters are all coping with things in similar fashions. I could not listen to all of them in a few marathon sessions because of the deep gloom they all display. There a a couple of stories which made me angry, too, though the problem was not the writing but subject matter. Some readers might need warnings about content. The author has a gift for constructing an imaginary world so detailed in its claustrophobic aspects which constitutes a cruel trap for the characters who often are driven to violence by their situations. The two novellas The Calorie Man and Yellow Card Man were in my opinion the best, each inspiring …

The Remains of the Day (Paperback, 1999, Faber and Faber) 4 stars

In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a …

A man looks back on the worth of his life

5 stars

Like many of my contemporaries I watched the Merchant Ivory film made from this novel when it came out years ago, but I wanted to take this in as an unabridged audiobook of the Booker Prize winning novel. I was already listening to another audiobook at the same time, but once I started this one it grabbed me so completely I just wanted to listen through to the end. The evocation of the inner life of the main character, Mr. Stevens, through very precise diction is simply masterful, along with the switches between the recollections from the pre-war episodes and the narrator's present-day were deft and illuminating. Stevens is the most polished sounding unreliable narrator imaginable, voiced perfectly by Nicholas Guy Smith in the audiobook version with just enough inflection to guide the listener to the meaning that likes just behind the words. The film concentrates most on the unrequited …

reviewed Prose Poetry by Paul Hetherington

Prose Poetry (2020, Princeton University Press) 4 stars

An interesting survey of what's out there #poetry #book #review

4 stars

This book is a survey of the writing style known as prose poetry from its early inception in the 19th century up to the latter part of the 20th. It takes pains to draw out the important techniques and methods used by prose poets and their popularity and it uses short quotations from a number of prose poems as it goes. Of the poets mentioned there is good representation of underrepresented communities and women.

The first problem is to define what poetry is, for many still feel that the name is a contradiction in terms. And in recent times it has become even more difficult to distinguish it from ultrashort prose items such as flash fiction. There are questions of whether prose poetry is distinct from poetic prose and whether the piece is necessarily brief. The simplest definition states that prose poetry is just poetry without imposed line breaks, but …

How to Be a Stoic (Hardcover, 2017, Basic Books) 4 stars

An engaging guide to how Stoicism--the ancient philosophy of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius--can provide lessons …

A basic overview for the interested

4 stars

This was a series of lectures by a philosophy professor and social critic from City University of New York which is intended for someone who might have heard about Stoicism but does not know what it is all about. A certain amount of repetition is to be expected in this format, unlike what you might expect from an edited hardcopy volume (which has been published under the same name by the author). The emphasis is on pragmatic application of Stoic thought rather than comparison to other systems of belief, though there is a section on this included. It does address popular misconceptions of the philosophy by those who espouse it as a path to wealth and fame over the last few years. The audio comes with a pdf going over the points in an easily browsable format including suggested readings and questions for the student. I found it a pleasure …