Laughing at My Nightmare – Review

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

Published in 2014

Pages: 252

Genre: Nonfiction, humor

“The forest of pube-y leg hair sprouting from my brother’s calf bristles the tip of my nose as he stands over me on the floor of our rented minibus, yanking my shorts off.”

If ever there was a first line that encapsulates the voice of a writer in 33 words, this is it. Shane Burcaw, at the age of 21, released Laughing at My Nightmare in 2014, which is a glimpse into the life of someone living with a terminal disease (though isn’t life technically terminal anyway?). The memoir follows Shane from his diagnosis, through the difficult years of trying to be normal in elementary and middle school, and ends in the wake of the founding of his non-profit of the same name. Continue reading “Laughing at My Nightmare – Review”

The Wars of the Roses – Review

The Wars of the Roses by Desmond Seward

Illustrations by Frances Button

Published in 1995; 2011 Edition by The Folio Society – Third printing 2013

Pages: 372

Genre: History, nonfiction, English history

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

 

Part I: The Story

“During the last years of the fifteenth century, on a morning in late summer, a small man stood alone by himself in a meadow in the English Midlands.”

The Wars of the Roses, by Desmond Seward, tells the story of one of the most politically intriguing and ruthless stretches of time in the history of England. Brother fought brother and nobles were slandered in the pursuit of power and control of the nation. This book, reproduced by The Folio Society, dives into the gritty details of the conflict and creates a story by following the threads of five people who played integral parts during the decades of death and deliverance. Continue reading “The Wars of the Roses – Review”

Tuesdays with Morrie – Review

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Published in 1997

Pages: 192

Genre: Nonfiction, memoir

“The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves.”

Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, is probably one of the most famous works of writing to come out of the 1990s. After being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a professor of sociology decides to use the remaining time he has to spread a message of love and hope. Throughout this process, he is reunited with a former student who helps him as he makes the transition toward his next journey after life. Continue reading “Tuesdays with Morrie – Review”

Cabinet of Curiosities – Review

Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions by Guillermo del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree

Published in 2013

Pages: 263

Genre: Nonfiction, collector book

“For Guillermo del Toro, it all starts with the eye – or, more accurately, the lens.”

Guillermo del Toro has come to prominence in the Hollywood system for his work directing the films Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and Pacific Rim (2013); however, the truth of the artist and his abilities exceeds that with which many of us associate him. The aim of Cabinet of Curiosities, co-written by del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree, is to open the doors into a visionary filmmaker’s mind and conjure all the wonderful, strange, and sometimes frightening aspects of his genius. From famous movie monsters to Pre-Raphaelite painters, comic books to art cinema, the scope of influences del Toro harnesses in his work is as engulfing as the man’s kind personality.

Bleak House.jpg
The entryway of del Toro’s Bleak House.

Continue reading “Cabinet of Curiosities – Review”

Mere Christianity – Review

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Published in 1952

Pages: 227

Genre: Apologetics, theology, Christianity

“Every one has heard people quarreling.”

Many people are familiar with C. S. Lewis through his science fiction and fantasy novels, but the author was much more than a fiction writer. A war veteran, an academic, a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien (for a time) and a former atheist, Lewis converted to the Church of England and became what is known as a Christian apologist; those who seek to defend the faith using reason and logic. In Mere Christianity, Lewis attempts to filter the basic beliefs of Christians and present them in a way that is palatable. Continue reading “Mere Christianity – Review”

Reading Tally for 2017

Happy New Year!

Another year of wonderful books, active discussion, and new aspects to the blog! My audience grew, I created Twitter and Goodreads accounts, added more content by beginning Music Monday posts, and continue to enjoy working on this blog. It is time again to tally up the thousands of pages, and dozens of books, while looking back at what I read. I find it intriguing to reflect on what I read this year and think about what was going on while I hid my face in those pages.

You will find below the total number of novels, fiction books, nonfiction books, and graphic novels I read in 2017, in addition to the total amount of pages, and what I read each month; the type of book is listed before the title and the authors are in parentheses.

I look forward to what 2018 has to offer and, as always, thank you for reading!

Novels (Nov): 35
Graphic Novels (GN): 8
Non-Fiction (NF): 9
Fiction (F): 3

Total Books: 47
Overall Total: 55
Page Total17,213 Continue reading “Reading Tally for 2017”

On Writing – Review

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Published in 2000

Pages: 291

Genre: Nonfiction, memoir

“I was stunned by Mary Karr’s memoir, The Liar’s Club.”

It is difficult to find a more well-known contemporary writer than Stephen King; often seen as either the king of horror (pun slightly intended) or the harbinger of the demise of “true literature” (whatever that is), King can be polarizing, but it is difficult to argue he doesn’t know his stuff. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is his attempt to put to paper what he knows about the craft, what formed him as a writer, and other advice to aspiring authors in one volume that is as illuminating in its content as it is refreshing in its execution. Continue reading “On Writing – Review”

Louis Armstrong – Review

Louis Armstrong by Hugues Panassié

Photograph collection b Jack Bradley

Published in 1971

Pages: 148

Genre: Biography, nonfiction, music criticism

“The New Year was being celebrated in New Orleans.”

If you are from my generation or younger, you may be familiar with the gritty voice singing “What a Wonderful World,” but Louis Armstrong was most famous as a jazz musician; his playing takes center stage in Louis Armstrong by French music critic Hugues Panassié. Split into three sections, the book gives an account of “Satchmo” and his career blowing people’s minds with his unique trumpet playing.  Assuming they already know much of his life story, Louis Armstrong is a great addition to any fan’s bookshelf. Continue reading “Louis Armstrong – Review”

Killing Monsters – Review

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones

Published in 2002

Pages: 261

Genre: Nonfiction, mass media, child psychology

“My first memory is of tearing the monster’s arm off.”

Media violence is a phrase that is inherently volatile due to the images it conjures in its readers. Spurts of blood, the deafening reports of gunshots, and screeching victims are all terrifying to think of, but even more so when considering a child being subjected to them. Killing Monsters, by Gerard Jones, seeks to better understand how media violence affects children and whether those effects are inherently and exclusively negative.

Continue reading “Killing Monsters – Review”