Reviews and Comments


Joined 1 year, 8 months ago

Writer and software engineer in the US Midwest. I enjoy poetry, horror, some f/sf, some mystery, some literary fiction (but not the kind where the main character is a professor and nothing happens).

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I highly recommend these poyums

5 stars

Pennie sometimes reminds me of Stevie Smith, sometimes of Robert Burns, sometimes of Dorothy Parker, but her voice is her own—sometimes raw, often wry, always authentic. Not every poem is a masterpiece, but several are. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who likes poetry, and to many people who don’t. Note that many of the poems are in Scots, but even if you stick to the English language poems it’s a rewarding read. (I was able to get the gist of the Scots poems, I think, but I’ve seen several of Pennie’s “Scots word of the day” videos.)

Stephen Graham Jones: The Angel of Indian Lake (2024, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) 4 stars

The final installment in the most lauded trilogy in the history of horror novels picks …

The Indian Lake trilogy reaches a thrilling end

4 stars

Not a standalone novel; you need to read the first two books first. But this is a glorious high-speed, multi-car pileup of an ending to the trilogy, if every third car is being driven by a murderer and some of the remaining cars are possessed by ghosts. If Hollywood turns these books into movies, I’ll be first in line to give them my money.

Virginia Woolf: Orlando (1992) 4 stars

In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the …

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

4 stars

Orlando is the fictional biography of an Elizabethan nobleman who becomes a woman and lives on into the 20th century, where they quickly become adept at road rage. For all its weirdness, this is one of the more accessible of Woolf’s novels. Among other things, the story examines the nature of gender, of sexuality, and (since Orlando is a poet) of literature. Be prepared to stumble over moments of casual racism.

Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki: Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism (1963, Schocken Books) 4 stars

Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism

4 stars

This book was originally published over a century ago, so I don’t assume that it gives me an understanding of contemporary Buddhist thought. However, it is an accessible introduction to the main outlines (which is all the title promises) of an unfamiliar religion. I suspect, though, that the Buddhism expounded by Suzuki was “seminary Buddhism,” not Buddhism as understood by most practicing Buddhists.

Stephen Graham Jones: The Only Good Indians (Paperback, 2021, Gallery / Saga Press) 4 stars

Ten years ago outside Browning, Montana, four Blackfeet shot some elk, and then went on …

Review of The Only Good Indians

4 stars

I used to live near a fancy restaurant that served elk steak. I never tried it, but if I ever again see elk on a menu, no matter how many years from now, I’ll remember this book. The story is also memorable for its original use of points of view, and its peek into the psychology of a non-human intelligence. As usual with stories by Stephen Graham Jones, this a deeply emotional journey.