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review 2018-04-28 17:48
The Last Bookaneer - Matthew Pearl

Copyright laws are to go into effect on both sides of the Atlantic.  Bookaneers are book pirates who steal from authors, booksellers, current owners and give to buyers who have hired them.  It is learned that Robert Louis Stevenson is dying and working on his seemingly last book and the most elite bookaneers are after the book. 


I loved this book.  How imaginative!  I like the glimpse into Stevenson's life in Samoa.  I also like how the story is told--past and present (present being 1890's.)  Characters abound--all flawed.  I rooted for Davenport but was shocked by all their endings.  Excellent storytelling.  I was grabbed from the beginning and held on for the ride.  A keeper!

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review 2016-10-29 20:57
Secrets, lies and conspiracies.
The Illuminati: The Counter Culture Revolution-From Secret Societies to Wilkileaks and Anonymous - Robert Howells

I obtained an ARC copy of this book through NetGalley and Watkins Publishing and I freely chose to review it.

I haven’t read any works of fiction related to the Illuminati but I came across them in my profession. I’m a psychiatrist and I’ve had several patients suffering from paranoid ideas that involved conspiracy theories and in more than one occasion they believed the Illuminati to be behind them. Although I read about them at the time, when I saw this book I felt curious and thought it would be a good chance to learn more.

The book isn’t exactly what I’d imagined. It does look at the history of the Illuminati movement — talking about its roots in the past and history, its relationship to religious and political movements and to big historical events (like the French Revolution) — and the latter part of the book links it to counter-revolution and counterculture up to the present time (with such phenomena as Anonymous, Wikileaks, digital piracy and hacking). This is not a critical account of the movement, as it is written by somebody with deep insider knowledge who appears to be a big believer and personally invested in the cause. I found the historical part interesting but also interspersed with plenty of detail about the process of indoctrination and their teachings, rather than individual facts. For me, it was more of a history of their ideas and philosophies rather than a detailed account of the movement and its people.

The modern part I found fascinating. Comparing many of the counter-cultural movements (beats, hippies, punk…) to the Illuminati, be it in their anti-institutionalised or anti-authority stances, or in their secret and anti-establishment nature (like hackers and Wikileaks) the author builds a strong argument for the continuity of the Illuminati’s philosophies in many of these groups and he makes a call for everybody to join in with their ideals of exposing corruption and removing the power from those who use it for personal benefit and don’t morally deserve it. Some of the arguments are very personal and down to the author’s interpretation, and as mentioned before, this is not a book that tries to expose both sides of the argument. I enjoyed the modern part and some of the comments and parallelisms it draws, although people who are strong believers in institutionalised religions might find it offensive, and some of its ideas can be too personal for others (his view of hackers and piracy might not be shared by many).

If readers are looking for an enthusiastic and eager discussion on the subject from somebody sympathetic to its tenets who expresses his opinion without hesitation, you will find it interesting, but it is not the book to read if one seeks a neutral or rigorously critical evaluation of the subject.

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text 2016-08-13 23:00
Black Sails and Piracy

So I got to watching Starz's Black Sails recently and although I was hesitant at first, expecting it to be kind of corny, it soon grew on me and I've been binge watching it. The show has grown through the second season and I particularly like Toby Stephens as Captain Flint. (RLS' Treasure Island Captain Flint). I like how they have blended fictional characters in with the romanticized real life ones such as Blackbeard & Charles Vane.


Anyway all of this led me to start thinking about the history of the Caribbean and in particular piracy. From my initial wikipedia searches I found that information seems sparse, which is understandable, given that we're talking about 400 year old history, but I knew there would be someone out there that has written a solid, engaging history. 


And so I'm now at the point where I've just purchased 3 books from Amazon based on recommendations from varying places. David Cordingly's name kept popping up with his history Under the black Flag and his more recent Spanish Gold. Finally I stumbled upon Carrie Gibson's Empire's Crossroads. 


To be honest I'm sat here now and I'm thinking to myself, how have I left it so long to delve into piracy. Perhaps it's because it's typically romanticized for children, who can pretend to be adventurous, marauding captains with their plastic sword, pirate hat play set from the local toy shop.


Maybe because of this glamorizing of piracy in modern day society and the lack of reliable evidence available it's hard differentiate between what is legend or fantasy and what was real. Hopefully my three purchases will help enlighten me. 

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text 2016-01-17 04:05
Book Piracy: Why It's Never OK

Featuring thoughts by author Jodi Meadows



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text 2015-09-30 18:09
Free Books!
Spanish Serenade - Jennifer Blake
The Court Of The Thorn Tree - Jennifer Blake,Patricia Maxwell
Southern Rapture - Jennifer Blake
Embrace and Conquer - Jennifer Blake
Fierce Eden - Jennifer Blake
Queen For A Night - Jennifer Blake
Snowbound Heart - Jennifer Blake
Captive Kisses - Maxine Patrick,Jennifer Blake
Sweet Piracy - Jennifer Blake,Patricia Maxwell
Arrow to the Heart - Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake has put 13 of her books up for free on amazon till October 4th. I don't know any of her work but have been informed that she writes bodice-rippers, a genre I have always been curious about (perhaps a bit morbidly curious ^^). Perhaps somebody else here as well.

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