A Wizard of Earthsea – Review

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published in 1968

Pages: 183

Genre: Fantasy

“The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.”

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin, follows the young wizard Ged from his humble beginnings to his ascension to greatness. Taking advantage of many tropes of the fantasy genre, the tale spans years of Ged’s life and hits the highlights rather than diving into the everyday minutia of Earthsea. Though the story follows the well-trod road of the hero’s journey, there is little to elevate it above other spell-bound tales. Continue reading “A Wizard of Earthsea – Review”

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Music Monday – The Dear Hunter: Act I

Album: Act 1: The Lake South, The River North by The Dear Hunter    Cover

Released: September 26th, 2006

Band Info:

The Dear Hunter was formed in 2005 after Casey Crescenzo was kicked out of his previous band, The Receiving End of Sirens. What was originally a side project while he was in TREOS, The Dear Hunter became Casey’s full-time project and he recorded the first album, Act I: The Lake South, The River North, almost entirely on his own with help from friends and family. Telling the tragic life story of boy a growing up at the end of the 19th century, the band released the first three acts in 2006, 2007, and 2009 before taking a departure with their 2011 release, The Color Spectrum. This collection contained nine four-song EPs; each individual EP corresponded to a color for a total of 36 songs of various genres and moods. The band followed up with another stand-alone release, Migrant, in 2013 before returning to release the fourth and fifth acts in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The Dear Hunter has released seven full-length albums in the eleven years since their first album, continues to tour, and will be releasing a new EP this December titled All is as All Should Be.

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Oh, and he also builds his own guitars. I present: Casey Crescenzo.

Continue reading “Music Monday – The Dear Hunter: Act I”

Killing Monsters – Review

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones

Published in 2002

Pages: 261

Genre: Nonfiction, mass media, child psychology

“My first memory is of tearing the monster’s arm off.”

Media violence is a phrase that is inherently volatile due to the images it conjures in its readers. Spurts of blood, the deafening reports of gunshots, and screeching victims are all terrifying to think of, but even more so when considering a child being subjected to them. Killing Monsters, by Gerard Jones, seeks to better understand how media violence affects children and whether those effects are inherently and exclusively negative.

Continue reading “Killing Monsters – Review”

Music Monday Announcement

Stories are an integral part of the human experience, and this interaction transcends verbal or written storytelling; it is at its most visceral through music. Alongside reading and writing, music has been a part of my identity since I was very young, and though I hadn’t previously found a way to combine it with this blog due to its literary foundation, I think I have finally been able to merge the two.

I have seen the Music Monday tag appear over at The Tatted Book Geek and thought I might put my own spin on it; rather than posting individual songs on a Monday, I will focus on concept albums and bands I listen to that I believe excel at telling stories through their songs.

Due to the amount of albums I have amassed so far, I will be posting every other Monday to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed by the addition of these posts to my writing schedule, as well as to keep you in anticipation of the following entries.

I want to emphasize from the beginning that these will not be album reviews; all of the albums and songs that I share have a special place in my heart and come with the highest recommendation I can give. I own many of these albums on vinyl (one of the few things I collect) and will include pictures of these when I am able.

The underlying reason behind this twist in the meme (besides gushing about my favorite records) is that a lot of the bands I listen to don’t get much radio play, if any at all, and since many have concepts in their albums and songs, I thought this would be a great way to share their music while simultaneously diving into their deeper layers.

My Music Monday posts will begin next Monday, November 6th, with Act I: The Lake South, The River North by the Dear Hunter.

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The image featured in this post can be found through the hyperlink below.

Act I Album Cover

Mort – Review

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Illustrations by Omar Rayyan

Published in 1987; 2016 Edition by The Folio Society

Pages: 222

Genre: Fantasy, satire

 

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

“This is the bright candlelit room where the lifetimers are stored – shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for every living person, pouring their fine sand from the future into the past.”

The eponymous character of Mort, by Terry Pratchett, is an awkward, lanky, redheaded teen sent by his father to learn a trade because, well, that’s what parents do with children who can’t really contribute at home. When no one else picks him, Discworld’s anthropomorphic manifestation of Death appears and chooses Mort as his apprentice. Continue reading “Mort – Review”

The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories – Review

The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov

Published in 1976

Pages: 211

Genre: Science fiction, short story collection

“Here I am with another collection of science fiction stories, and I sit here and think, with more than a little astonishment, that I have been writing and publishing fiction now for just three-eighths of a century.”

The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories is a short story collection by Isaac Asimov that not only showcases his writing, but gives insight into the background and origin of each story. Asimov is one of the most famous science fiction writers, and it is easy to see why his range and skill with words continue to be celebrated. Since this is a collection of short stories (and the first one I have reviewed on the blog), I will give short descriptions of each story and then my overall impression of the book.

Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Continue reading “The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories – Review”

Blue Like Jazz – Review

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Published in 2003

Pages: 240

Genre: Nonfiction, semi-autobiographical, spirituality

“I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.”

Though the subtitle of Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller, may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, “nonreligious thoughts on Christian theology” is precisely what the book covers. This is a book that does not seek to preach or convert, though it does play to a certain audience; people within or without the church who have reservations about their faith and are looking somewhere other than religious officials for advice fall into this category. Through his ever-present and well-written voice, Miller makes reading the book more like having a casual conversation with a friend than a lofty discussion of Christianity. Continue reading “Blue Like Jazz – Review”