Book Review: Ancient Book of Sex and Science

In this second volume in the critically acclaimed Ancient Book series, indulge yourself as you explore the strange frontiers of sex and science. From instruments of innovation and the Atomic Age to analysis of the mind, body, and seduction of the human form. Featuring broad color, shapely design, supple lines, and evocative commentary, The Ancient Book of Sex and Science is a fine art hardcover collection of images produced by some of the most highly sophisticated animation designers and low-brow artists in the industry.

This is a phenomenal book for all art aficionados. A must-have.  Continue reading Book Review: Ancient Book of Sex and Science

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Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

From Amazon.com:

It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours.

Feeling depressed? Feeling as if life’s unfair? Hard? People are mean? Read Kolyma Tales. That should make you feel better.

Don’t believe me?

“The men were not shown the thermometer, but that wasn’t necessary since they had to work in any weather. Besides, longtime residents of Kolyma could determine the weather precisely even without a thermometer: if there was frosty fog, that meant the temperature outside was forty degrees below zero; if you exhaled easily but in a rasping fashion, it was fifty degrees below zero; if there was a rasping and it was difficult to breathe, it was sixty degrees below; after sixty degrees below zero, spit froze in mid-air. Spit had been freezing in mid-air for two weeks.”

Continue reading Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

Book Review: Jake’s 88 by Sean Munger

From Amazon.com:

It’s 1988. Jake Doyle is a teenager growing up in the U.S. Midwest, his days centering around smoking, heavy metal tapes and skipping high school classes. When he develops a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, the alluring but troubled Stacey O’Shaugnessy, a chain reaction begins that threatens to unravel Jake’s insular world–-and it also forces him to grow up a lot faster than he anticipated. 

Get your acid-washed jeans out of the closet, dust off your Walkman headphones and figure out where you left the keys to the Pontiac Fiero–the Eighties are about to have their revenge! 


They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Okay. But I do judge a book by the way its opening lines. And, my, oh my, this book has the right opening lines.

Facts. Lots of them. The kind of facts that make me want to read more.

Do you know how the world was like on the 31st of December 1987?

Me neither.

Anyway. As you know from my previous reviews, I’m not into dissecting plots and whatnot, because I am not in the business of sharing spoilers.

What I like (or not) about a book or movie has to do with the vibe it transmits, with the way the story itself flows, and the way the dialogue fits within the ecosystem of the plot.

This book?

Well, this is quite perfect.

What I mean by that?

Jake’s 88 does what it attempts to do, without making me feel like there’s something to add or remove. It makes for a fast read, but enjoyable at the same time. This novel does a wonderful job at describing a world that I never got a chance to experience, and one that is never coming back, and for this reason, this is a must read. Or maybe you are nostalgic about the eighties, if you’re that old.

Us young folks have to read fantastic works of art such as Jake’s 88 and trust that it was just like that.


Sean Munger is a historian, author, speaker and podcaster. His other books include The Valley of Forever, Zombies of Byzantium, Hotel Himalaya: Three Travel Romances, and the upcoming Eyes of War (with a co-author). His podcast Second Decade deals with the history of the 1810s. He was 16 in 1988.

Also check him out on Patreon here.

5 Simple Steps To Drastically Improve Your Writing

If you’ve always wanted to share your thoughts and ideas and stories with the world, then surely you’ve asked yourself this simple questions: How do I become a better writer?

Well, even though it takes years and years of practice, following these five simple steps will drastically improve your writing. Continue reading 5 Simple Steps To Drastically Improve Your Writing

Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later

Contrary to popular belief, even the most famous of writers had their fair share of rejection. Or, even more difficult to believe, they forgot  having written them in the first place. Or simply didn’t bother to finish writing them.

Here are some books that were lost, only to be found many, many years later. Continue reading Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later

When The Love Stories of Artists Become The Subject Matter of a Book

When you do your research and want to write about people you never met you undoubtedly end up writing about yourself. You fill in the cracks with personal stories, with your idea of who they were and how the thought, talked, or acted, so it is a real risk that the reader will end up reading about yourself.

As they say, all art is a self-portrait.

Reading the essays from Significant Others: Creativity & Intimate Partnership by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron I got the impression of reading the typical art book: every artist was the very best, a creative genius, every love story unique, tragic, and influenced by said creative genius.  Continue reading When The Love Stories of Artists Become The Subject Matter of a Book

Four Dystopian Novels That Are Eerily Close to Becoming True

Dystopia literally means “not-good place” and is a term used to describe a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. Dystopian novels were all the rage back when during the Cold War, possibly as a way to warn people of the perils of such a totalitarian regime as the Communist one. As a fictional genre, dystopias have the uncanny characteristic of painting a rather hopeless future for society.

Here are four dystopian novels that are eerily close to becoming true: Continue reading Four Dystopian Novels That Are Eerily Close to Becoming True