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Reviews by Benjamin

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

I'm an English student in France. This ebook has allowed me not to always have to have my actual book with me, which is very practical.
Concerning the novel, it is a very rich and dense piece of writing. The full understanding of its satire requires a deep knowledge of the XVII and XVIII centuries.
For example, the reader should know about the political and religious intrigues that took place. For instance, the voyage to Lilliput allows Swift to develop a criticism of the conflict between Whigs and Tories in England.
Of course, this novel is still interesting for readers who, for one reason or another wouldn't do background research : Gulliver's Travels also deals with philosophical issues such as power and moral virtues among others.
Another interesting feature is the fact that even if Swift's satire contains a bitting satire and a deep reflection on mankind, Gulliver's Travels is suprisingly very pleasant to read for the reader that only wants to enjoy the pleasure of fiction.
All things considered, reading this book is a great adventure, whoever the reader is.

Reviewed on 2011.07.17

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

(Age:14 y.o Country:new zealand Read book 2 times)

This book always excites me no matter what. This is a very wonderful book that has given me a more, lets say..... better perspective on speech and on life, though hard to grasp nearly every line because of the "old English" used throughout all the story, however I do find reading it to be ever so interesting, I just find that some bits are pointless and not needed at all.

all in all very good but not one hundred percent

Reviewed on 2010.08.11


When this novel first came to my attention, I was excited, since Richard Herley had already authored one of my favorite books, the outstanding The Penal Colony. Then, when I read the blurb and realized what Refuge was about, I admit my excitement faltered a bit. I felt the post-apocalyptic, I'm-the-last-man-on-Earth survival milieu had already been pretty well strip-mined in a hundred works ranging from I Am Legend to Children of Men to The Stand, and I thought it would be difficult for an author to come along in 2008 and give the genre a treatment that was anything other than derivative and tired.

Happily, I was wrong. Herley immediately puts his stamp on the proceedings, much as he does in his other works, with concise, economical detail, great pacing, and a level of research and thinking-through that leaves the reader wondering why other novelists didn’t think of these things. His chops as a writer are simply amazing - several wide cuts above the average writer of popular fiction. Several themes from Herley’s other works are revisited here, most notably the villains’ Christian/Satanic delusions and the protagonists’ struggles for survival in a wild, uncaring natural world, but it’s a very different novel to The Penal Colony.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you like brainy, propulsive thrillers with characters who are complex, flawed and not always easy to love, this is the book for you. And as the book is available for free download (with donations accepted via the honor system) on Feedbooks, Manybooks, or his own website,, there’s no excuse not to.

Reviewed on 2009.09.03


The first time I read The Penal Colony was 1998 or so; I spotted a well-used paperback copy in a pile of abandoned belongings at a college dormitory. I took it, began to read, and was instantly absorbed. I was blown away by the story, the characters, and through it all the language: sometimes sharp and precise, other times poetic, always compelling and memorable. I consider myself a fairly well-read person, in terms of classic literature as well as modern best-sellers, and without hesitation, I put The Penal Colony on my "Desert Island List" of ten books that I would take with me to my own exile on Sert.

Up until a few years ago, this book was hard to find: out of print (at least in the USA), and precious little information available on the internet. Now it's here, easy and inexpensive to download, and it's an absolute gem of a book. The ideas, situations and characters will stay with you for life.

Reviewed on 2008.11.24

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Pat Dunlap Evans
When Pat Dunlap Evans isn't dreaming about vacationing in Hawaii, she enjoys exploring the minds of her characters and writing about their inner st
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