Kindle Matchbook

I've seen this all over the web today. Amazon has just opened a new program called Kindle MatchBook. If you buy certain books, you can get the e-book for a greatly reduced price (from $2.99 down to $0). More than that, the deal applies to any books you've ever bought from Amazon in the past, provided that they are on the list. Just go the above link, and check; Amazon knows what you've purchased. (Big Brother is watching you, and he has Really Good Deals!)Amazon listed three books for me, … [Read more...]

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin

Rachel Griffin, youngest child of the Duke of Devon, has read (and memorized) almost every book in the family library. She's blessed with a perfect memory; anything she's seen or heard she can relive exactly as it was, and she's smart enough to take good advantage of it. She's also skilled at riding, whether on horse or broom. Now, a precocious thirteen year-old, she's heading to Roanoke Academy in New York there to stay, according to family tradition, in Dare Hall. Once there she'll learn … [Read more...]

City of the Beasts

A rare negative book review from January, 2003, of Isabel Allende's City of the Beasts. I find that I still feel the same way a decade later.Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold's mother has cancer and is going to a special clinic with Alexander's father; he and his sisters get dispatched to live with aunts for duration. In Alexander's case, it means that he accompanies his eccentric, acerbic Aunt Kate on an expedition to the farthest reaches of the Amazon River, in search of a murderous … [Read more...]

Ghost Story

Ghost Story is the 13th novel in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, immediately following after Changes. I'm going to review it a little differently than usual.Usually when reviewing a book I give a little background, and then describe the setup; then I might make some general remarks; and then I say whether I liked it, and whether it's worth reading. And I don't do spoilers. The trouble with this book (and with the series in general) is that I can't even discuss the setup without giving you … [Read more...]

Dresden Files: Changes

Harry Dresden has a problem…and if I told you what it was, you'd have to kill me.Having revisited the first eleven novels in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, I grabbed the twelfth, Changes, eager to see if that last chapter was as disturbing as I'd been warned.Now, here's the problem. I want to tell you all about this book. I want to explain what's going on. There are many details to linger over. But I don't do spoilers. And in a long-running series like this, with long-running s … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Napoleon

But was he outraged! You might have thought he was Napoleon and she was asking him to come and deploy the tin soldiers in a nursery.— Rex Stout, The Black Orchids. (The "he" is Nero Wolfe, of course.) … [Read more...]

Galactic Patrol

E.E. "Doc" Smith is the father of the Space Opera, and Galactic Patrol is the first book in his classic Lensman series. (You can tell it's a classic series, because the cover tells you so.) Smith is often overlooked these days; his prose is purple, his plots are pulpy, and his characters aren't particularly complex. On the other hand, he's good fun; and as John C. Wright points out, Galactic Patrol...has no trace of cynicism, modernism, irony or any of the mustard gas of modern political … [Read more...]

The Dresden Files

Harry Dresden's a man of the dirty streets of Chicago, a tarnished knight who can't resist helping the next damsel in distress to come along. One of his enemies bought a burial plot and tombstone for him; it says, "Harry Dresden — He died doing what he thought was right," and in all likelihood that's a true prophecy. Oh, and he's a wizard-for-hire. Call it wizard-noir.There are currently fifteen volumes in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. I started reading when there were six or s … [Read more...]


Brandon has a nice piece on Rudyard Kipling's Kim, which he read recently. For those who don't know, Kim concerns the coming-of-age of an English orphan, raised in the slums of Lahore, in the Punjab, and his induction into the Great Game of espionage between Britain and Russia over the future of India. It's a time and place that Kipling knew full well, it's fascinating, and I need to re-read it Real Soon Now. … [Read more...]