Friday, September 25, 2009

No. 46 - The Complete Plays of Aristophanes

edited by Moses Hadas

Started: September 25
Finished: October 8

Notes: I consider myself pretty well read in classical literature, though admittedly it's been years since I've dipped into any of the ancient literature or histories. Here I'm checking out Aristophanes, a Greek comic playwrite who lived about 2,500 years ago. Aristophanes has come highly regarded to me from a friends, specifically the play "Frogs." Besides entertainment, I also often read for educational purposes; hopefully this will be a little of both.

Mini review: Another book I'm glad to have read but also glad to have finished. Seems I've been reading a lot of those this year. Of the 11 plays here, "Frogs" was by far the funniest and my favorite, with "Birds" being the next best. While only one editor on this book, there were four or five translators, some of whom were quite good but others that were lacking. Glad I read it. There was some funny stuff here. And it was interesting to be reminded of how modern the ancient Greeks really were.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No. 45 - Dark Deceiver

by Pamela Palmer

Started: September 23
Finished: September 25

Notes: Stop laughing. Please, stop laughing. Yes, I'm reading a Harlequin romance novel, but at least it's one of their Silhouette Nocturne novels, which means it's a speculative romance novel, usually involving horror and/or fantasy elements. This is the first Harlequin I've ever read. Will it be the last? Probably, but who knows? I'm mainly reading this one for experimental reasons, to expand my writing and reading experience a bit, but I've also heard from women friends that Pamela Palmer is a good writer. Here goes.

Mini review: Actually, this was a pretty good book, the writing style reminding me of Dean Koontz from about 20 years ago (before he'd gotten boring and predictable). Of course, there were a few love scenes and such that felt a little juvenile to me, bu then I'm a guy and this is the first Harlequin romance I've ever read. Will I read another? I won't be jumping to do it, but this particular novel was the second book of a trilogy, so I might want to seek out the other two books.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No. 44 - Darkness Weaves

by Karl Edward Wagner

Started: September 20
Finished: September 23

Notes: I'm in the mood for some Sword and Sorcery, so this book by the noted horror/fantasy author Karl Edward Wagner is a natural. This is the first novel of his I've read, though I've been familiar with his short stories for years.

Mini review: Fantastic! Awesome! Not perfect by any many, but the best Sword and Sorcery novel I've read in a long while. The biggest problem was the editing job was just atrocious, but the writing was fun and dark in that 70s slightly unbelivable and comic-bookish sword and sorcery kind of way. I liked this novel even better than Wagner's short stories, so I'll have to search out some more.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No. 43 - Don Pendleton's The Executioner #365: Collision Course

by Nathan Meyer

Started: September 17
Finished: September 20

Notes: Thought I'd get back into a little Executioner action. Man, I've been reading plenty of pulp fiction of late, and that's what I consider The Executioner series, modern pulp fiction. In this one, Mack Bolan is on the trail of illegal arms dealers.

Mini review: This one started out a bit disjointed, but eventually the ball got rolling pretty good. Near the end is my favorite action scene in the whole book, but then the very ending felt cheesy to me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Robert E. Howard quote

Came across this great quote from pulp author Robert E. Howard. It's from a letter he wrote to a friend.

"When a nation forgets her skill in war, when her religion becomes a mockery, when the whole nation becomes a nation of money-grabbers, then the wild tribes, the barbarians drive in ... Who will be our invaders? From whence will they come?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No. 42 - Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard

by Mark Finn

Started: September 13
Finished: September 16

Notes: Having earlier this year read a biographical book about pulp writer Robert E. Howard, I was pleased to run across this book recently. I had to pick it up. I'm especially drawn to this one because it looks at Howard's life not only as a writer, but as a Texan and a man of his times. Also, I've not done a lot of non-fiction reading this year and thought it was time I did so.

Mini review: A truly fascinating and fantastic book. Fans of Robert E. Howard need to read this one, probably moreso than any other book about Howard. This book places Howard into perspective seen quite rarely, but in my opinion, the views of this book's author are more akin to the truth about Howard, his writing, his life and even his death than any show elsewhere. If all you know of Howard's writing is Conan and Howard's other sword and sorcery tales, you're missing out on a lot.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

No. 41 - Doll

by Ed McBain

Started: September 12
Finished: September 13

Notes: I've still got some more Executioner books to read, but I don't want to get burnt out on them, so I thought I'd take a little break and turn to another pulpy favorite, Ed McBain. Besides, it's been more than a few months since I read any of McBain's 87th Precinct novels. This is one of the early novels in the series, from 1965.

Mini review: Another fun, quick read from McBain with lots of detective leg work and a little gun action. It was nice to have a read over with that fast.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Zombie Tears" reprinted

My flash fiction story "Zombie Tears" is now available online from the fine folks at Dark Fire Fiction where it is the feature story for issue 41. It's one of my favorite flash pieces I've written, but keep in mind this is a zombie story so there's some gore.

"Zombie Tears" was originally published a couple of years ago over at Tales of World War Z.

Monday, September 07, 2009

No. 40 - Don Pendleton's The Executioner #341: Rebel Force

by Nathan Meyer

Started: September 7
Finished: September 12

Notes: After recent action-oriented readings, I thought I'd stick with it a little more. Plus, it's been a while since I've read many of The Executioner books, so I'm having fun delving back into the depths of Mack Bolan and his Endless War against the worst of humanity. As an added bonus, this one is written by my online writing bud Nathan Meyer. This is the first of his Bolan books I'll have read, though I've read some of his short stories.

Mini Review: What a rollicking ball of action! Seriously, if you like men's action/adventure reading with lots of gunfire, explosions, car chases, etc., then this novel is right for you. Worth checking out. Nathan Meyer did an excellent job.