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review 2018-01-07 00:53
How's Inky? (Living Forest #1)
How's Inky? - Sam Campbell

When a little porcupine becomes the topic of conversation people want to talk to you about, you either accept it or become annoyed.  Nature writer Sam Campbell though thought the question, How’s Inky? the perfect title to title the first book of what would eventually become the Living Forest series.

 

Campbell wrote about the adventures of Inky the porcupine around his home in the animal sanctuary of Wegimind that he along with two other men supervised through spring, summer, and fall every year.  Inky was one of five orphaned baby animals that the sanctuary cared for and helped to survive before releasing them into the wild.  Although Campbell does talk about the other four animals, it’s Inky that is the one Campbell focuses on because of Inky’s view of life and what it can teach people.

 

How’s Inky? was not the first book Campbell wrote nor his first public exposure, which was a nature radio program first aired in Chicago in the 1930s.  Known as the ‘philosopher of the forest’, this book shows why Campbell was given that moniker as his lessons from nature are written in a down-to-earth style that readers of all ages will enjoy.  Campbell does speak of God as part of his lessons, but the book is does not ooze religion.

 

At a quick 127 pages, How’s Inky? is a fun read for all ages and highly recommended if you enjoy nature books and for a nice read for a rainy day.

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review 2017-12-17 16:03
The Hungry Moon - Ramsey Campbell
The Hungry Moon - Ramsey Campbell

Somewhere in the 360 pages of The Hungry Moon is a good story. I just know there is. Actually finding it is the problem. At his best, Campbell is an English version of Charles L. Grant with a smattering of King and Lovecraft thrown in, for good measure. Other times, he feels like a rambling Alzheimer's patient trying to find his way around in the dark. The atmosphere is creepy and captivating. The character development? Yeesh. Not so much. I like to pride myself with being able to keep a firm grasp of the characters I'm reading and visualizing the settings, situations, etc. In The Hungry Moon, you'll swear that the American teacher is also the bookstore owner, the bitchy mom is another bitchy person, etc. All throughout the story, you'll find yourself rereading something and asking "Now, who was that again?" Why Campbell can painstakingly describe the moors to the point where you feel you're walking across it yourself, but vaguely puts each of his characters in a vague shroud of homegenization, I'll never know. It's really too bad. A story about a village overcome by religious hysteria caused by a Celtic monster sounds intriguing. You'll get so frustrated with the religious nuts, that you'll want to be the one to throw the first punch. Unfortunately, you'll have to wade through the endless drivel and blah to get there. And then after all of that, you think that after the steady crescendo towards the end there would be a big payoff. Nada. The ending is so anticlimactic and unsatisfying, it feels like a cop out. The Hungry Moon has just enough to keep you turning the pages, but not so much that you'll be glad that you did.

 

 


2 1/2 Roads That Lead to Nowhere out of 5

 

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-11-29 23:32
Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng,Cassandra Campbell

This book was amazing. I was absolutely captivated the whole time.
Not often have I listened to a book that has prompted me turn up the speed as high as I can possibly stand it because I need to have it all absorbed NOW. This was one of those rare exceptions (seriously, it's maybe happened twice before and last time it was the finale to the Lunar Chronicles).

With a title like this, I knew the story was going to be a sad book about someone leaving some kind of way but I just couldn't help myself. I didn't even bother reading the synopsis, I had  to know. I do have trigger type issues with stories about kids dying, but my ability to persist tends to depend on either the direct actions of the parents that contributed or ill or misrepresentative treatment of the mourning process. I didn't have to worry about that here.

The book did an amazing job of walking the reader through some of the different ways that people mourn, it is not about some easy recovery and people getting on with their lives after a family tragedy. The story itself is about the mourning and recovery process for each family member, wallowing in all the sticky and depressing parts, wallowing in the guilt. It walks us through their inner lives as they go through it all.

I won't  try to defend all of their actions, people are reliably irrational during such times and do things that are out of character. Whether or not we can expect people to think or act rationally while dealing with death is questionable at best. In some stories it works, but those are usually stories where the remaining characters are still under whatever strain or stress that killed the first. This is not that kind of story. Everything was fine, or so the rest of the family thought.

Then they find out that Lydia had died. Due to the circumstances of her death, each family member, in their own way and time, has to take a look at the events leading up to her death and question their amount of fault or responsibility. The problem is that they only have questions. There can be no concrete answers for them. They have to come up with some answer that works for them and try their best to carry on. Part of the problem is that it isn't just about Lydia and her death. When something like this happens so unexpectedly, the remaining family members have no choice but to look at the family and the way that it works and realize that it doesn't work. It hadn't been working. But what could or should they do about it? But figuring that out would require the kind of rationality that isn't immediately available to a grieving family.

During the whole book, I had to wonder if this was going to be a story about a splintering or a family coming together. These things go both ways in life and in stories and Ng's treatment of her characters was realistic enough to make me wonder. I won't spoil it either. I'll just say that each of her characters are incredibly well rounded, even Lydia. We get to know plenty of options for each family member and I was satisfied with the way it did end.

The audiobook was read by Cassandra Campbell, who does an amazing job with it. I listened to the streaming version available through Amazon Channels on Audible. For me, the book satisfies Letter E for my Litsy A to Z Challenge.

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review 2017-11-22 20:02
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

I read this book a long time ago and remembered it fondly so I decided to re-read it. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, this time around. I haven't read the following 2 books, but I can't wait.

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review 2017-11-08 01:37
What it says on the tin.
More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell

If you've ever sold books, worked in a customer service-type position relating to books at like the library, etc. then this book will probably be quite familiar to you. A sequel tells us more of strange and odd things people say to booksellers ranging from not knowing what book titles are ('Pride and Produce') to strange customer service type questions such as asking if "Kennedy" was in the Scrabble dictionary. And so forth.

 

That's basically it. If you've read the first book then you'll be familiar with the format and style and type of anecdotes and quotes you'll find here. Even if you've only worked in front-facing retail type positions that has absolutely nothing to do with books, reading, publishing, etc. you'll still probably feel twinges of sympathy in what these poor booksellers had to hear and respond to. 

 

Not much else to say. I prefer the social media accounts but I wanted to support the author for bringing this to us. As a former employee at a bookstore, I recognized myself and my co-workers in these pages. That said, unless you enjoy books, reading, etc. this may not be for you. I bought it from a UK bookseller because it's not available in the US (at the time I bought it and maybe it still isn't) but not everyone will want to go through the trouble and the wait.

 

I liked it but I'm not sure I'd buy any more of these and might just stick with the social media instead.

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