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review 2017-08-15 22:30
The Devil's Own Work by Alan Judd, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Devil's Own Work - Alan Judd,Owen King

 

The Devil's Own Work is a beautifully written, subtly told Faustian tale, which the narrator performs perfectly.

 

A man relates the story of his friend, Edward, and how he became a famous and successful writer. A writer who, although he writes many words, ultimately has nothing of substance to say. Further along, we discover that Edward inherited a manuscript from a recently deceased author named Tyrell. With that manuscript he also seems to have inherited a beautiful, ageless woman named Eudoxy.

 

As the story unfolds, we learn more about the manuscript, (which only can be read one letter at a time, because to try to see an actual word results in the reader seeing gibberish.) It's when this manuscript falls into Edward's hands that he suddenly becomes successful. Is that because of the manuscript itself, or because of the mysterious Eudoxy? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This novella length story is tight and slow to build. There isn't necessarily a denouement, but instead a growing realization of horror and what is truly involved. If you are a reader expecting a lot of action, this isn't the tale for you. However, if you have a love of language and precise storytelling, AND this premise sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend you give The Devil's Own Work a try. It probably won't provoke any screams or shouts of terror from you, but I bet it will give you a bad case of the heebies-jeebies.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*This audiobook was provided free of charge by the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-14 01:57
A Way of Life: Zen Monastics at Work and at Play by Paul Davis
A Way of Life: Zen Monastics at Work and at Play - Paul Davis

I have to admit I have honestly never really thought that much about Buddhist Monks and Nuns and their way of life. Many people like myself just knew what we see on television. A bunch of people wearing long robes walking around praying. This book will open every ones eyes about the way of life of the buddhist Monks and Nuns. Paul Davis has done an amazing job with about 50 black and white photos in this book, we can now see the truth in their lives. The photos show an array of activities from playing kickball to washing dishes. There is a smile in just about every picture. There are quotes throughout the book as well. I was actually touched by some of the quotes. I feel just by looking through this book I have a new understanding of the lives of the Buddhist Monks and Nuns, at work and play. 

 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-09 08:42
A Review of the Feminist Fantasy book, A Plague of Angels, by Sheri Tepper in 6 Quotes
A Plague of Angels - Sheri S. Tepper

 

My second Tepper read was succulently good! I wanted to savor the book, so I took my time with it. I am sharing my favorite parts of the book here like I do in most reviews. However, this time, I have chosen 6 quotes that sum up how I felt about the book.

 

Quote # 1

Sometimes, it was the way the author described an emotion, such as the horror that a character felt when the Witch took her mask off.

 

 

Quote # 2

Other times, it was how a character expressed a philosophical thought about gangers simplifying language to such an extreme that they started looking down at poetry and literature. The quote below reminded me of the restrictions being placed on characters in the novel 1984.

 

If you take out the different words that describe completely different things that are also the same, what are you left with? For instance, I think love when I read the word, red. I don’t think that when I come across scarlet because I associate it with scandal. Then there is crimson, which reminds me of blood.  

 

 

Quotes # 3 & 4

Then there were times when a character stated the truth in the simplest manner. The line is easy to miss with so much else that is going on. Yet, if you stop and think about it, there is depth in those words. Two particular examples that made me shudder are mentioned below:

 

 

 

Quote # 5

As were the times when a character who is still young and inexperienced said something profound. I went back and read this quote multiple times because it resonated with me. If you find it touching your heart too, you might want to check out my review of The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

 

Quote # 6

Finally, there were some parts that sparked something in me. While reading them, I thought I could base my next story on these lines. I find that the books that end up on my favorites’ shelf have that in common. I think that each line in those books could be hiding a story in itself.

 

 

I would very much love to read the second book in the series even though it would be lacking one of my favorite characters from this one. Care to join me for a buddy read?

 

Image

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text 2017-08-08 08:20
The Status of Project Frankenstein & Other Updates

 

Reading Goal

 

I have completed the goal that I set for myself this year on Goodreads. Really happy that I’m getting some reading done even with life being as crazy as it is.

 

 

Project Frankenstein

 

 

I have finished 11 out of the 14 books that I originally included in the post. My opinion about Frankenstein & Philosophy has yet to change!


    1. Parent Material: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    2. Others’ Take: The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein by Stephen Jones
    3. Historical Retakes: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green
    4. Genre Spins: Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic
    5. Young Adult Forays: Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
    6. Sci-Fi Pastiche: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
    7. Philosophical Entree: Frankenstein and Philosophy by Nicholas Michaud
    8. Series Picker-Uppers: The Second Birth of Frankenstein by Will Hill
    9. PrequelsThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
    10. Precipitating Conditions: The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo
    11. Character Spotlight: My Frankenstein by Michael J. Lee
    12. Technological Difficulties: Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes
    13. Changed Perspectives: Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
    14. Graphic Detail: Monster Of Frankenstein by Dick Briefer, David Jacobs, Alicia Jo Rabins Edwards

 

Book Bingo

Besides this, I am also playing Book Bingo with my workmates. At the moment, I’m reading a book for the Female Protagonist shelf. My love for dinosaurs is no secret and this book is packed with facts and speculations equally, which makes it juicier. More on this in my review!

 

To see how I fared in the previous round, click here!

 

 

I am also a part of buddy reads going on here for Jane Yellowrock seriesMidnight Texas series, and sciency books on The Flat Book Society!

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review 2017-07-28 05:05
Cells at Work! (manga, vol. 1) by Akane Shimizu, translated by Yamato Tanaka
Cells at Work! 1 - Akane Shimizu

Cells at Work is a semi-educational series that takes place inside a human body and stars a bunch of anthropomorphized cells. Red Blood Cell is a cheerful delivery girl who takes oxygen to cells (I suppose they’d qualify as the “ordinary folks” of this world) and carbon dioxide back to the lungs. There are lots of potential dangers along the way, so different kinds of White Blood Cells protect everybody. One recurring character, for example, is White Blood Cell (Neutrophil) 1146, who is part of the force that acts as the body’s initial defense against foreign invaders and infectious diseases. He’s depicted as a savagely violent man who is nevertheless polite and maybe even a little friendly towards Red Blood Cell.

In this volume, readers get to see White Blood Cell and others deal with Streptococcus pneumoniae, cedar pollen, Influenza virus, and a scrape wound. This results in the introduction of characters like Helper T Cell, the violent and manly Killer T Cells, hilariously intense and dramatic Memory Cell, Mast Cell, Macrophage, the adorable Platelets, and more.

I can’t remember which review put this on my radar, but I’m glad it did. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue on with this series before it gets stale, but this first volume, at least, was a lot of fun.

The educational aspects were a little rough. Yes, there were little information boxes that explained what each type of cell was and what it did, what each invader was, etc., but it’s been a long time since my last Biology class, and I admit that I got a bit confused here and there. For example, I had a tough time grasping the distinction between the different kinds of white blood cells. Also, I had particular trouble translating what was happening on-page during the cedar pollen chapter to what would have actually been happening in the human body. The steroid’s actions seemed extreme. If the author had truly intended this series to be educational, then diagrams and/or a few paragraphs of explanations at the end of each chapter that went into a little more detail about what would really be happening inside the human body would have been helpful.

That said, I was certainly entertained, and I loved the way Shimizu opted to reinterpret some of the biological details. For example, since platelets are relatively small compared to a lot of the other cells, Shimizu opted to depict them as an army of adorable children. And since one of the things macrophages do is remove dead cells and cellular debris, they’re depicted as maids. Extremely violent and powerful maids. I also enjoyed the naive T cell’s transformation process.

The entire volume was fun, but my favorite chapters were probably the cedar pollen and scrape wound ones. Although the cedar pollen chapter was chaotic and occasionally a little hard to follow, Memory Cell’s habit of lurking around and issuing dire warnings made me laugh. Plus, since I’m currently dealing with allergy-related drainage and headache issues, I could definitely relate. I found it bitterly amusing to see the whole horror show depicted as confusion and overreaction on several cells’ part that just snowballed from there.

The scrape wound chapter appeared, at first, to be a rehash of the same kind of thing the cells dealt with during the Streptococcus pneumoniae chapter, with just a few slight differences. While I enjoyed several of the panels depicting particularly crazed White Blood Cells, I was a little worried that the author had already run out of ideas. That was when the Platelets came into play. I had thought they were okay but nothing particularly special earlier in the volume, but they won me over in this chapter. They made the most adorable little army. Somehow the blood-spattered White Blood Cells standing around them and protecting them made the whole thing even better.

I definitely plan on getting the next volume, but nothing beyond that just yet - I’m going to approach this series one volume at a time. I doubt there will be cliffhangers, and I don’t want to buy several volumes only to discover that the series is already stale by Volume 2. This first volume, at least, was lots of fun despite some occasionally confusing moments. Crossing my fingers that Shimizu manages to keep things fresh and interesting in the next one.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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