American Gods – Review

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Illustrations by Dave McKean

Published in 2001; 2017 Edition by The Folio Society

Pages: 537

Genre: Fantasy, mythology

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

Part I: The Story

“Shadow had done three years in prison.”

American Gods has been in the spotlight quite a bit lately with the recent television adaptation on the Starz network. This review, however, covers the book written by Neil Gaiman, upon which the show is based. American Gods follows the life of ex-convict Shadow Moon after he is released from prison, learns his wife died in a car crash, and meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. What follows is a meandering road trip across not only the geography of America, but the cultures and beliefs that came across the sea in the hearts and minds of immigrants. Continue reading “American Gods – Review”

When We Were Orphans – Review

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Published in 2000

Pages: 336

Genre: Crime novel

“It was the summer of 1923, the summer I came down from Cambridge, when despite my aunt’s wishes that I return to Shropshire, I decided my future lay in the capital and took up a small flat at Number 14b Bedford Gardens in Kensington.”

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro begins with a flashback to 1920s England from the protagonist’s vantage point in the 1930s. What follows is a strange and straining stream of consciousness that attempts to tie together the genres of drama, crime thrillers, and war. Such ambition could be lauded if it were successful; in the case of When We Were Orphans, however, the clues lead only to a disappointing conclusion. Continue reading “When We Were Orphans – Review”

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – Review

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Illustrations by Michael Whelan

Published in 1982

Pages: 224

Genre: Fantasy, western

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

It is difficult to find a more enigmatic line among Constant Readers (Stephen King fans) than the opener to The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. Beginning the tale of the eponymous character and his trek toward the mysterious Dark Tower, The Gunslinger combines the genres of high fantasy, Westerns, and horror to create an earnest, if somewhat problematic, introduction to King’s magnum opus. Continue reading “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – Review”

Sundown at Sunrise – Review

Sundown at Sunrise by Marty Seifert

Published in 2016

Pages: 366

Genre: True crime, historical fiction

“Henry Petrie was a proper Episcopalian who was prominent and well known in western Redwood County, a large rural county in southwestern Minnesota.”

Intimate and accurate details are absolutely integral to creating realism within fiction; Sundown at Sunrise by Marty Seifert, however, places all of these details in all the wrong places. The novel tells the fictionalized account of a real ax murder in 1917 rural Minnesota, but what promises to be a thrilling story of love and murder serves better as an instruction manual for early 20th century mechanisms and courting practices. Continue reading “Sundown at Sunrise – Review”

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – Review

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Published in 1990

Pages: 296

Genre: Fantasy, satire

“It was a nice day.”

Though this sentence isn’t necessarily what one would expect to begin a satirical story about the Antichrist kicking off the end of the world, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett does its best to wring the funny out of the potentially terrifying. Good Omens (as I shall refer to it from here on) follows the attempts of hilarious and well-meaning characters as they seek to save the world from a holy war between Heaven and Hell. Continue reading “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – Review”

On the Subject of Net Neutrality

I want to take a moment to interrupt the usual flow and pattern of my blogs and raise awareness of an issue that is relevant to everyone reading this. We all take the open and fair Internet for granted, but the time to defend this service is now at hand. Our freedom as Internet users is at risk because of the agenda of the new FCC Chairman who wants to put more power and money in the hands of big cable companies at the expense of consumers.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach their audiences.

If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.

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But on July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them. Websites, Internet users, and online communities will stand tall in order to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools to make it easy for your friends, family, and followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that we can stop censorship and corruption when the Internet comes together. Now, we have to do it again.

Internet services have basically become a public utility in the 21st century and big cable companies should not be allowed to skew the quality their services in favor of sites that can afford to pay them more. I will stand up on July 12th; I hope you will too.

You can learn more and join the action here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12

We will return to the regularly scheduled blogs next Wednesday with a review of one of my favorite books: Good Omens; The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Thank you for indulging this digression; I wouldn’t have posted this if it weren’t something I care about and feel must be shared.

Continue reading “On the Subject of Net Neutrality”

A Time to Kill – Review

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Published in 1989

Pages: 655

Genre: Legal, suspense, thriller

“Billy Ray Cobb was the younger and smaller of the two rednecks.”

The introduction of these two rednecks leads into a gruesome description of the heinous acts they perpetrate on ten-year-old Tonya Hailey. This sets the tone for John Grisham’s 1989 crime novel, A Time to Kill. The novel brings into question vigilante justice, the lack of trust in America’s judicial system, personal ethics, and digs deep into the psyche of humans and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to right a terrible wrong. Continue reading “A Time to Kill – Review”