Reviews by Rob Reader

Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great

by Elbert Hubbard

I can recommend Hubbards bios on Cromwell, Paine and Rousseau. Except for the aforementioned and his essays of John Knox and Wesley I must admit I was unable to finish the book.

I was drawn to the author when looking through the list of authors in the genre section of ManyBooks. This author had the same name as the co-founder of the Roycroft artist community which was responsible for much of the arts and crafts furniture constructed in the last part of the 19th century. I was much surprised to find they were one and the same person. His furniture and pottery were greatly superior to his writing.

Please do not take this as a negative comment concerning Hubbard. Very few of us do anything even remotely near the quality and originality of Roycroft.

Reviewed on 2013.05.09

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

by William Shakespeare

The plays of Shakespeare along with the writing of Chaucer are often credited as the founding of the modern English language. Many of the plays seem convoluted and somewhat awkward to modern sensibilities. Historians and critics challenge the interpretation of facts by the bard and recently a strange theory has arisen proposing that Shakespeare was actually born of a northern Italian family and brought to Stratford at an early age. If so he seems to have mastered the language rather quickly.

It is not the plays them self which attract me so much as the bard's turn of phrase and wondrous insight. Rather than attempt a review of this book, an almost impossible task I would simply like to list some of the phrases oft quoted from the masters body of work. If you do not appreciate them there is no point reading this volume.

He is little, but he is feared.
To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
Listen to many, speak to a few.
This above all; to thine own self be true.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.
God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.
The golden age is before us, not behind us.
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.
My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.
There is no darkness but ignorance.
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
They do not love that do not show their love.
'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.
Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.
I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man.
He that loves to be flattered is worthy o' the flatterer.
'Tis better to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

Please do forgive this exceedingly long list of quotes from the bard. However if these do not please you I suggest you may choose to refrain from this work. If they do please you be assured there are hundreds more to savor.
Please note the "Complete Works of William Shakespeare" are not truly complete.

Reviewed on 2013.04.30
Reviewed on 2013.04.29

Attack Of The 50-foot Verbose Mutant Killer Fountain Pens From Mars

by Mark Cantrell

As a former teacher I am generally undeterred by the insipid. An unending accumulation of student papers has caused this effect. This book however is beyond the pale. Hopefully Mr. Cantrell will succeed in future efforts. I wish him good fortune.

Perhaps this comment is unduly harsh. I have read nothing by Mr. Cantrell previously and will seek to do so as the opportunity arises. It is always easier to read than write and so hope for improvement is never unjustified.

Reviewed on 2013.04.29

more reviews ->