#BookReview: No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister

A Marvel Of A Novel Novel. This tale reads a bit like The Decameron in that it is a collection of shorter stories all linked by some basic structure – in this case, *extremely* basic in that they all wind up interacting with a fictional book at some level. Be it the author, who opens and closes Baurmeister’s tale, or the publishing assistant who first “finds” the book or a random sculptor who reads it after it was recommended or or or or or. The tales themselves show the breadth of how different types of readers interact with a book, though it is far from truly conclusive and I don’t suspect that Bauermeister ever expected it to be “conclusive” or “definitive”. Instead, this is simply a sampling of different ways different readers intersect with a given tale at the differing moments of both their lives and its life, and in showing these glimpses Bauermeister executes a particular narrative structure that I had never seen done before, certainly not in this exact context. And executes it quite well indeed. So read this book, because it truly is a marvel of a novel novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very much recommended.

This review of No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister was originally written on January 2, 2023.

#BookReview: The Make-Up Test by Jenny L Howe

Academic Romance That Is Refreshingly Light On Academic Theory. Wait. A book set in Academia that *isn’t* hyper preachy about white people and/ or straight men being the epitome of all things evil and a scourge on humanity? That alone makes this work from debut author Howe quite refreshing. Now toss in a fat chick who is comfortable in her own body and who learns to stand up for herself even to those closest to her, and you’re getting *really* “out there” in terms of things that simply aren’t usually done in novels of any form, particularly romance novels released by Mega publishers. Now we’re even going to toss in *actual* academic work discussing the variations and themes of medieval literature? Wow, we’re really going on a refreshing romance journey that stimulates the brain as well as the heart! There are a few quibbles here or there with this book, but overall, ignore the people that are hating on it – this is actually quite a departure from the norm for this genre in so many ways, and thus deserves to be explored because of its originality while still being perfectly within overall genre norms. Very much recommended.

This review of The Make-Up Test by Jenny L Howe was originally written on September 9, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: The Library by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen

This week we’re looking at a seemingly comprehensive and dense yet readable history of the idea of the library and its various incarnations throughout human history. This week, we’re looking at The Library by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen.

Comprehensive History. This is a fairly dense (yet readable) comprehensive history of humanity’s efforts to store its written words. We begin all the way back in ancient Mesopotamia with some discussion of even their clay tablets, and we come all the way through the digital and eReader era (which the authors are a bit more pessimistic about than this reader, who is admittedly a technologist). While other areas such as China, Africa, India, (modern) Australia, and Columbian era Middle America are mentioned at times, the vast majority of the focus of the discussion here is Euro-centric, with detailed discussions of American library systems once the discussion advances to the relevant time periods. Indeed, as it turns out, the “modern public library” as Americans know it today? Did not exist prior to WWII in any real form at all, though through the efforts of business titans such as Andrew Carnegie (discussed in much depth here in the text), the earlier forms of it were beginning by the late 19th century. Truly a fascinating book, but also truly a very long one. Anyone remotely interested in books and reading should probably at least consider reading this, as it really is a remarkable history of the book, its uses, and its storage. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: A Dancing Tide by Grace Greene

This week, we’re looking at a book that the author originally had no intention of writing… and then the reviews began coming in from her fans (including this very blog) begging for a sequel… and so here we are. ๐Ÿ™‚ This week, we’re looking at A Dancing Tide by Grace Greene.

Here’s what I said on Goodreads:

Beautiful Sequel. Full disclosure up front on this one: I read the book a month ago and somehow forgot to write my review then. Fortunately, I’ve been slowing down and I’ve only read about a dozen and a half books since. ๐Ÿ˜€ This book was a great continuation of a story… that the author originally had no intention of continuing. But she listens to her fans – including myself – and when we began clamoring for a sequel to A Barefoot Tide due to several unresolved threads at the end of that tale, Greene eventually wrote this tale as well. And while I think we could continue in this world for at least one other book, most of the threads that were left a bit too open in the previous book are more fully explored here, and thus if this series ends as a duology, I think that too could work. But while it *can* *technically* be read first, you really should go read A Barefoot Tide before this book… and then you’ll be glad the rest of us begged Greene enough for this book that she finally wrote it. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

#BookReview: The Art of Political Storytelling by Phillip Seargeant

DJT == AOC. Yes, that is actually a point Seargeant makes in this book – and no, it isn’t for the reasons some of my fellow Libertarians/ Anarchists like to point out. (Which are accurate in their own way, but I digress.) No, here the point Seargeant makes is that both of these seemingly diametrically opposed candidates have actually embraced the same narrative archetype to tell their stories. Overall, the book is an excellent examination of just how storytelling – and in particular, a few of the classic archetypal stories/ heroic journeys – has completely reshaped at least American and British politics of the last few years. Reason seemingly no longer matters so much as narrative, so it is important to know these narratives, how they are structured, and how these structures play into political messaging in order to more effectively play both offense and defense in the political arena. Masterful work that makes a few missteps here and there when it deviates from its central premise at times, and thus the reduction of one star. Still much recommended.

This review of The Art of Political Storytelling by Phillip Seargeant was originally written on May 14, 2020.