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Reviews by Charles

A Conjurer's Confessions

by M. Robert-Houdin

I had my eReader do text-to-speech on this book as I drove in my car. Even with a droning monotone male voice, the energy of the author still comes through. A great short memoir on the early days of stage magic.

Reviewed on 2013.08.02


by Hugh Walpole

Sweet, gentle, exceedingly well-written book about a year in the life of a small English boy. While not as boisterous as "Penrod" or as exciting as "Tom Sawyer," Walpole's "Jeremy" is still an important entry in this genre and serves one enormous purpose: it introduces us to the characters and situations that he continues in two followup books that are far, far better reads -- "Jeremey and Hamlet" and "Jeremy at Crale."

Hugh Walpole has, unfortunately, dropped off the modern literary radar screen, and that's a shame, because few writers have been able to hang words together so powerfully or evocatively as he.

Reviewed on 2013.04.01

The People of the Abyss

by Jack London

Interesting because it paints a graphic portrait of the deplorable living conditions among London's poor, this work by Jack London is still a pompous pain in the arse in almost every other way. It's mostly a socialist screed that uses purple prose to identify problems and then -- like socialist screeds everywhere -- uses class envy and warfare to denigrate people who have it good in life. Then, it doesn't offer any solutions. Garbage, start to finish, and necessary to read only for London completists or like-minded socialist idiots.

Reviewed on 2013.02.20

The God in the Box

by Sewell Peaslee Wright

Before reading this I was completely unfamiliar with Sewell Peaslee Wright, and now I have sought out and downloaded everything I can find that was written by him. He was a master science fiction/adventure writer, and "The God in the Box" is just one fine example of his page-turner style.

In fact, he wrote an entire series of stories based on the main character in "The God in the Box," all of them written when John Hanson was an old man and chronicling the adventures of his youth in the Special Patrol Service.

You'll enjoy this one, and others by Wright. He's articulate, has great plots and keeps the story moving.

Reviewed on 2012.08.14

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Author of the Day

Elin Barnes
Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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