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Reviews by Shanan Dean

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I found The Go-Getter to be a quaint little short story that offered a friendly reminder of what is required to be successful in any endeavour. While the writing lacked creative flair, the value of this story lies in its moral lessons of perseverance, persistence and doggedness. This story also spoke to me on a practical level regarding problem solving. As humans we exist to solve problems – it’s a natural part of the human condition to strive to solve problems. However, what we as humans often forget is that problem solving (& learning in general) is often a lengthy process of continual trial and error. Effective problem solving can often mean riding the emotional rollercoaster of failure after failure while diligently exercising patients and poise. If you are at a point in time where life just keeps knocking you on the nose or you find yourself constantly paddling up stream and getting nowhere, then this short story may give you just the moral injection you need – probably best consumed when you need it most.
Shanan Dean ... www.shanandean.com

Reviewed on 2010.12.23

The Year When Stardust Fell

by Raymond F. Jones

I was attracted to this read because I love dystopian sci-fi stories. This is an easy read with a relatively simple plot. A good read for young teenagers and adults seeking a light read. The first half of the story sets the scene and is a bit dull due to the shallow interpersonal relationships between the main characters. Enhancing the interpersonal complexity and tension would have done a lot to spice up the first half. The second half of the story really steps up a level and becomes interesting because this is where the main themes that Jones (the author) wanted to explore are exposed: The susceptibility of man to the forces of the universe, the desperation of human survival, the ‘social survival’ paradox of needing to both cooperate and compete with others in order to survive, and the vulnerability of humankind due to its heavy dependence on tools & technology. It is the exploration of these universal themes that make this story interesting. For those seeking in light & easy sci-fi read, I would certainly recommend it. For those who like heavy sci-fi or interpersonal ‘space-drama’ type sci-fi, there are better reads.
Shanan Dean ... www.shanandean.com

Reviewed on 2010.10.22

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Maria Elena Sandovici
Having lived in both Romania and the U.S., Maria Elena Sandovici soon discovered that life in a foreign country isn't necessarily easier or better than where you grew up. Her book, Dogs With Bagels revolves a lot around this theme. Today we chat with her about homesickness, using flawed characters and the meaning behind the title of the book.
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