For sale world wide:
Category Archives: Book Reviews
Thank you to all the websites that have referred to my blog with links!
I hope people will be entertained with my writing! I like to
have fun with literary clichés. I have made literary references
that seem to turn in on themselves about literature and writing
itself. My goal is to inspire imaginations! If I have succeeded
in that then it is an accomplishment.
The Dream, The Spider Lady, McArthur Street, Catholic
School Stories and Liquor Store Stories are works of creative
non-fiction. If you are wondering how The Dream could be
non-fiction it is because it is straight reportage of an actual
dream I had. All the events in my non-fiction stories are true
to the best of my memory. The creativity is in how I tell the
story. The Talisman is a psychological fantasy and The Ghost
Ship is just a great, ghost story!
My Review of The Land Without Color by Benjamin Ellefson
The Land Without Color certainly is an ambitious work, creatively imagined, that succeeds very well in drawing the reader into a fast moving adventure and a magical world. It is not short on many surprises and clever twists in the plot line. I expected that the theme was about diversity but found much more. There were many insightful sub-themes that are relevant and tie into the main theme very well. A lot is very educational as with clever allegory in an adventure written for children the author explores how responsibility and authority can become corrupted. A ruler who is made dependent on others in turn makes his subjects dependent on him in a conspiracy with layers of deception that is slowly unraveled by an adventurous boy who feels he must right all the wrongs.
The segue however between chapters one and two when the story changes from boys asking a grandfather for a scissors to cut fishing line to the grandfather waking up as a little boy to begin his adventure in a flashback seemed a little awkward. As an adult I felt confused as to whether this was the grandfather now young or a grandson with the same name. I can imagine this would be confusing for awhile for a child to read. I got it after a little while and then the adventure started to flow better. Upon second reading I wasn’t sure how exactly this problem should be resolved.
In this story a young boy finds himself in a world with police and guardsmen who don’t make any sense and people who go around with their heads unattached because they feel that thinking just gets in the way of getting practical things done. I must say this reminds me of Alice In Wonderland in which a normal girl finds herself in a world of characters who make no sense. I find the writing style here is more like the Oz stories and the political implications are similar.
The boy, Alvin, finds allies with a talking squirrel who it turns out is female and a talking bi-lingual mouse who speaks in Spanish and English. The mouse warns the boy not to eat the free candy or ice cream that is considered to be “free color” because he says it is “empty color”. Upon being thrown into prison by the king who has been turned into a turtle the companions encounter a man who is in prison for growing his own vegetables which is considered to be illegal color. Everyone in the kingdom has been told that goblins who live on the other side of the Shadow Mountains have been stealing the color from the land which has mainly turned gray. This turns out not to be true as the conspiracies and deceptions unravel. The adventurous boy meets with the goblin king and finds that he is actually a nice guy and the goblins would never do anyone harm. They, also, do not have the power to pull off such an insidious plan either. Do you see the relevant themes in their complexity at work here?
This is an amazingly great, fantasy story in that as it unravels there is a rich past history to draw upon that fleshes the story out. I am in awe of the work that went into the conception of this story. The illustrations as well do justice to this work of literature that could become one of the greats in literature for children. This is why it makes great reading for an adult as well. It is very thought provoking. I could see a child growing with this story instead of outgrowing it. I could, also, see this story being turned into a full length animated film that could be very popular.
I wasn’t going to nitpick about the grammar problems. I wasn’t going to mention anything about my pet peeve of unnecessary commas separating dependent clauses and worse yet even being used to separate prepositional phrases. I understand that the new grammar people are being taught these days gets people to use the idea that wherever there would be a pause in speaking or reading a sentence a person should put in a comma. This is used by people who have never diagrammed a sentence as a crutch when it comes to understanding comma placement. After awhile the grammar problems kept increasing and I see they would even be distracting to a child or anyone trying to read this story. I found a preposition and a word transposed in the reverse order of how they should have read. Although a sentence can go without a verb if in the context of the paragraph the verb is understood I found a sentence in which a necessary verb was completely missing. I even found a word with the same preposition before and after it. It became obvious that the problems were beyond disagreement about style and there are definitely problems concerning editing and even simple proof reading.
Except for the awkward segue at the beginning however the continuity even with all the intricacies of the plot unraveling is excellent. The Land Without Color rings with greatness in a way that is modern and yet classic. I would recommend it (with some improvements) to children between the ages of eight and ten very much. The hard work that is evident in this otherwise, well crafted book should not go to waste and I am hopeful that with just a little editing and proof reading The Land Without Color will go on to become one of the greats in children’s literature! By the way now I see that just one sentence at the end of chapter one would solve the problem with the awkward transition to the flashback and help to tie the story together better with the ending!
New Poem: Rare Love
Artist: Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
Rare Love by Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez
She looks into his liquid eyes
And feels the flow of mysteries
His hands so gentle on her body
She feels her soul and body melting
Her thoughts melt and all she knows
Is hot breathing and two hearts beating
There is the warmth and heat where their bodies are touching
All outside is cold and fleeting
From schoolboy’s crush to wild imagination
Romantic novels and burning fascinations
Never giving up despite the years
Holding on despite the fears
Dreams melt into waking life
As the schoolgirl becomes a wife
Many have lived and died in vain
For a love that is so elusive
They couldn’t know the fire in the rain
They thought it all was so exclusive
Holding out as no one else would dare
For a love that is so rare
Experiencing rare love such as this
In a moment is eternal bliss
It takes a lifetime of learning
Boys and girls learning from each other
Learning to trust each other beyond their will
Learning to care
A love so rare
From: The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry
Now available on Noise Trade and Goodreads!
Free download of eBook for review!
Reflections on The Poet’s Vow by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Reflections on The Poet’s Vow by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Essay by Mark A Y Nuñez
During the course of settling the estate of my deceased parents I received back a volume of poetry that I had given to my sister. She said that she did not read poetry much anymore. Being alone in the empty home of my parents I started reading. I read The Seraphim and then The Poet’s Vow. It was a strange experience. I felt that I was reading the poetry for the first time and yet at a point I noticed that there seemed to be familiarity. I felt at home with the poetry much as I felt at home in the empty house that I had not visited for years. Then it occurred to me that I had read the first poems in the book before giving it as a Christmas gift so long ago to my sister.
I was amazed at how powerful of a poem The Poet’s Vow is. It had a very powerful effect on me. I pondered on the reasons why. I couldn’t help but think that the poet in the story was the opposite of myself. In the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning the poet is so incensed by the moral weaknesses of his fellow human beings that he makes a vow to live alone and have no contact with any of his fellow humanity thereby purging himself of being soiled by their spiritual shortcomings. I, myself, have always tried to embrace humanity. The balance of trying to be a positive influence in people’s lives while not allowing people to have a corruptive influence on me has been my life’s challenge.
I am certainly writing this essay with the influence of events and my reflections about them that are current in my life and what I am observing in the world now. Not the least of these reflections has to do with interacting with my brothers, sisters and extended family during the course of selling this house and settling the inheritance. What this has to do with The Poet’s Vow is about interactions with people. Then in the time of Mrs. Browning as now at the beginning of this 21st century the moral and poetic principles are the same.
I observed after reading this powerful and sadly beautiful poem that Elizabeth’s poetic work gets much of its power from Christian religious references such as mention of God and angels. These religious influences of course are still with us today from our European heritage even here in America. I thought that in Elizabeth’s time this was the only avenue of spirituality that was open to her to use in her work. She may have gone against the grain in a sense by being a woman poet in a time when men had careers and women supported them in their careers. To this day however in our modern times when I had mentioned Elizabeth Barrett Browning to men they snidely made reference to her poem, How Do I Love Thee, as if to dismiss women poets as inferior. However in spite of going against the grain in that sense she seems to be very traditional for her times and not a counter cultural person. However putting the strong Christianity aside I simply can enjoy her work with the sense of universality to spirituality that is common to all peoples in all times. Her work would not be so powerful without the references to the absolutes of spirituality.
It was fascinating that the theme of the bond between a man and a woman as absolute was more meaningful to me because of being from a woman’s perspective. This negated any thought of the writing being like a sexist man using religion as a tool for keeping a woman in bondage to a man. It spoke more of the universality of the strong emotional ties in romance that become rooted deep in the psychology of a person. The fact that Elizabeth chose to use death as the absolute that would clearly show how powerful a force the love between a man and woman can be is what gives this poem so much emotional impact.
Once again when it comes to romance I seem to be the opposite of the poet in the story. I have declared my love to more than one lady but the circumstances of my life were not conducive to developing a lasting love relationship. The rivalries and jealousies among the ladies only contributed to the problems. The Poet’s Vow however makes me think of the hearts I broke along the way without intending to do so. It is definitely a reminder of the intense pain a human can feel when there appears to be a bond growing between a man and woman.
In the end The Poet’s Vow impressed on me how beautiful and awesome in her power as a poetess that Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s work is to this day. The universality of the themes about people needing people and the powerful bond between a man and woman transcend any differences in times and cultures. Credit has to be given to the poetess for her ability to make us reflect on the experiences of our own lives and bring out our emotions and thoughts concerning romance. Perhaps I am not in a stately mansion like the Hall of Courland, like the poet in the story but in this empty home where the clouds from the sea speed overhead to the inland areas the absolutes of the power of Nature make the experience of reading this poem even more meaningful.
Book Review: Reviews of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences
Read my latest book review:
Reviews of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences by John Marks
“This book points out that the CIA was involved in funding every type of psychological research that was being done since the 1950s.”
“I was amazed years later when I spoke of this book that people said there was a movie about it. Don’t be fooled. I am convinced the movie was a clever ploy to keep people from reading this original work by John Marks. This is a must read.”
To read the full review click here!