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Tag Archives: reviews

The Wall of Storms – Ken Liu

You know the world isn’t perfect, but you’ve never ceased to believe that it could be perfected. Book two of The Dandelion Dynasty (see my writeup of book one) opens in the so-called Reign of the Four Placid Seas, with Kuni Garu, now Empereror Ragin, trying to stabilize his kingdom by advancing the careers of […]

Cheese and Culture – Paul Kindstedt

A cheese scientist at the University of Vermont by trade, Kindstedt’s Cheese and Culture traces the history of cheese and its role in Western Civilization. I grimaced at “Western Civilization” in the subtitle, but was reconciled to it because, as Kindstedt argues, cheese as it is currently known is a largely western phenomenon because lactase […]

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

If it wasn’t clear from my relative silence, the last six weeks or so has been exceptionally busy, which has slowed both my reading and writing. I only managed to finish one non-academic book in October, barely slipping Margaret Atwood’s Booker Award Winning The Blind Assassin in under the wire. An astute reader, however, will […]

The Human Division – John Scalzi

I finished this book a few weeks ago and this is the last of the backlogged reviews, if only because life has gotten in the way of my reading. Every book in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe is quite a lot of fun, being smart, clever, and modern military sci-fi. The core premise of […]

Foundation and Empire – Isaac Asimov

The second of what my edition still somewhat quaintly refers to as “the foundation trilogy,” Foundation and Empire picks up the centuries-long epic from where the first book left off. Since I didn’t do an actual review of Foundation, I should recap. In the waning days of the Galactic Empire, the great psycho-historian Hari Seldon […]

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

But Petersburg’s daily round – tranquil, luxurious, concerned only with phantoms and reflections of life – continued as before, so that it was not easy, and needed a determined effort, to form any true idea of the peril and the difficulty in which the Russian nation was placed. Now that he was telling it all […]

Brunch: A History – Farha Ternikar

You don’t eat brunch. You do brunch. I took a break from reading War and Peace to breeze through Ternikar’s slim history of Brunch from its origins in Great Britain in the late 1800s to its global phenomenon. Although it began in Great Britain, Ternikar shows that Brunch took root in the United States. One […]

Rabbits and Boa Constrictors – Fazil Iskander

….a stubby boa suddenly interrupted the Great Python. This particular boa was known for his unceasing inquisitiveness, which had already led him to swallow bananas instead of rabbits, and he had even had the audacity to convince others that they were rather tasty. Fortunately, none of the other boas followed this example of free thinking. […]

The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons

“The core offered unity in unwitting subservience,” she said softly. “Safety in stagnation. Where are the revolutions in human thought and culture and action since the Hegira?” “My God,” whispered Meina Gladstone…”I’m doing all of this on the strength of a dream.” “Sometimes,” said General Morpugo, taking her hand, “dreams are all that separate us […]

The Post-Office Girl – Stefan Zweig

And when at eight in the morning Christine sat down, she was tired–tired not from something achieved and accomplished, but tired in anticipation of everything ahead, the same faces, the same questions, the same chores, the same money. “Yes, my friend, from down in the muck the world doesn’t look that delightful.” Christine, the eponymous […]