Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lord Hornblower

by C. S. Forester

It was the best of books, it was the worst of books... Okay, that's a bit of hyperbole. Lord Hornblower, the penultimate novel of the Hornblower series, is a very good adventure. Once again Horatio Hornblower finds obstacles in his mission--this time his task is to recover a ship captured by mutineers. Once again he wrestles with self doubt. And once again he proves himself to be the resourceful, creative, and heroic commander that everyone else in the story knows him to be. But then Mr. Forester has to peg on another adventure, where Hornblower is less than exemplary and which ends... well, let's just say I was completely underwhelmed. I think I liked the ending of the unfinished novel better. In Mr. Forester's defense, he did need to follow history in this historical novel. Letting Hornblower enjoy a "happily ever after" at the end of the first adventure really wasn't an option. Anyway, don't let my grumblings dissuade you from checking it out.

LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Iterations

by Robert J. Sawyer

First read in March 2008.

On my shelf! Woo-hoo!
LibraryThing link

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Ghost Story

by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden has has had to work under difficult circumstances before, but none of them seem quite as challenging as being dead. Ghost Story begins where the story should end--the death of the protagonist. This being an urban fantasy, however, we instead get an adventure with Harry the ghost. After a brief visit to the afterlife, Harry goes back to Earth to try and find his murderer and prevent the forces of evil from preying upon three of his friends. He finds that a number of months have passed and things have gotten rather grim since his last adventure. With typical Harry Dresden determination, creativity, and dumb luck he manages to overcome the handicap of being a spectre and help save the day. At the end, he goes on to his Eternal Reward... well, maybe it would be more accurate to say he goes on to What's Next.

Overall, the story was okay. It wasn't a satisfying sequel to the previous novel, Changes, mainly because it didn't offer a happy ending. After the all out war in that book, I was hankering for a return to "normalcy". That didn't happen. Ghost Story was probably very realistic in that sense. As far as its quality as a Dresden Files novel, it was pretty typical. You've got to love the characters and the mystery unfolds well. For fans of the series, it's worth checking out.

LibraryThing link

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Truman

by David McCullough

This one's a huge book, clocking in at 977 pages. (not counting pictures and the bibliography) My review won't be anywhere near as long. When I first started on my presidential biography reading project, I was inclined to put the first two on my shelf. Then I started getting more jaded about my readings, not to mention running out of shelf space, and became less interested in building my own history collection. If my desires ever do turn back in that direction, this is one of the first books I'll try to obtain for my collection.

Mr. McCullough has done a wonderful job of presenting Harry S. Truman and the eras in which he lived. He starts the tale 40 years before Harry Truman was even born, touching on the white settlement of the area and how the two branches of Truman's family made their way to western Missouri. After Truman's birth, he continues to tell how Harry and his family are moved and shaped by the events around them. But by the time Truman reaches middle age, things begin to change--Harry Truman begins to start shaping the things around him. It's an interesting story of a man rising to a series of challenges and climbing to greatness. The biography is unabashedly positive towards its subject. As with the biography I read about Woodrow Wilson, I was prepared to not like Harry Truman. But Mr. McCullough got me viewing things through Truman's point of view and leaving me with a healthy respect of the man.

LibraryThing link

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Ramona the Pest

by Beverly Cleary

You could say this is one of the oldest books in my collection, even though a) I only bought it a few months ago and, b) it was only written in 1968. Ramona the Pest is one of the books I remember having when I was a kid. After reading Beezus and Ramona last year, I told myself I should reread this one. When, months later, I saw this on a clearance rack at Half Price Books, I knew it was an omen. Or maybe just a bargain. Alas, I discovered that it was not as funny as its predecessor. There were plenty of smiles and chuckles, but I think I only came close to laughing out loud once. That said, it still was a fun read. Whoever bought me my first copy of the book, all those years ago, had good taste.

And for some reason (nostalgia?), I'm keeping it on my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time

edited by Barry N. Malzberg

First read in January of 2009

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman

An excellent retelling of some Norse myths, from "before the beginning" to Ragnarok. Professor Gaiman injects the characters with personality and wit, making the stories that much more enjoyable.

Keeping this on my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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