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Charles

Charles’s book reviews

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.
04/01/2013
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.
02/20/2013
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.
08/14/2012
Cole Younger's autobiography is far from brilliant. Sketchy at best, downright evasive at worst, it presents in the broadest strokes possible a career of violence and theft that netted him a 25-year stretch in the penitentiary. He admits to only one crime - the attempt on the bank at Northfield, Minn. -- and blames much of his reputation on the wild speculation of others.

The best part of the entire book is a chapter near the end called "What My Life Has Taught Me," in which Younger makes some very good observations. Otherwise, this autobiography is deeply disappointing in both detail and substance.

And Quantrell was not a "southern hero," as opined by a former reviewer. Heroes do not massacre 200 men and boys.
07/16/2012
The only impossible thing about this short story is getting through it. Jumps around like a bug on a hot skillet, making it incomprehensible.
06/21/2012
Glib but relatively interesting story set in the flying branch of the armed forces of the future, and efforts to solve a life-threatening technical problem.
06/18/2012
Harmless, predictable short story about a man who is having hallucinations -- or so the government thinks. Very quick read, worth it if you just need to slay a little time.
06/18/2012
Mildly entertaining short story about the world's only green diamond and its disappearance during a dinner party. Good as a time killer, but not really memorable in any way.
06/18/2012
Superb, engrossing short story by one of the master writers of his day. Wallace's tale of equitorial Africa and the white man who keeps order among the tribes is fascinating from start to finish. Memorable.
06/18/2012
Coppel's short story about an alien race's plan to invade Earth is action-based and well written. Keeps you on your toes until the surprise ending. Well done.
06/18/2012