Book Review: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
Book Reviews / November 1, 2014

I was never very interested in reading this book until lately, when political pundits began setting it up as an opposite to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. After reading it, I don’t really see them as opposites so much as complimentary, dystopian views of the direction our world may be headed.

Book Review: “Son of a Witch” by Gregory Maguire
Book Reviews / November 1, 2014

The world waited ten years for a sequel to Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It had plenty to keep it busy while it waited, though. During that time Maguire published several other books, notably Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Mirror Mirror.

Book Review: “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire
Book Reviews / November 1, 2014

I’ve had plenty of opportunity to read this book since it came out in 1995. For one thing, I have owned a copy of it for some years. It isn’t that I wasn’t interested. It’s simply that I didn’t think the book needed any boosting from me. It’s a popular bestseller. Dozens of readers have recommended it to me. So what do I have to add except, “Ding, dong, I read it too”?

Book Review: “Elantris” by Brandon Sanderson
Book Reviews / July 19, 2014

I’ve never read anything by Brandon Sanderson before, and I’m generally leery of thick fantasy novels that have the look of “Book One of a Punishingly Long Series.” Three things convinced me to give this book a try. First is the fact that, although it was his first published novel back in 2005, Sanderson hasn’t written any sequels to it… yet. I’m told he plans to, but so far all he has rolled out is a novella set in the same universe, titled “The Emperor’s Soul”, and a short e-book called “The Hope of Elantris”. It’s possible we may luck out, and this will be a standalone novel; that would be just about perfect. The second and deciding vote in favor of reading it is the fact that an audiobook, read by Jack Garrett for Recorded Books, was available at the public library. Third, and making it unanimous, is the list of other works by Brandon Sanderson, which includes a bunch of other stuff that I suddenly want to read.

Book review: “Voices” by Ursula K. Le Guin
Book Reviews / October 19, 2013

In the second book of “Annals of the Western Shore,” gifted maker (poet) Orrec Caspro and his animal-whisperer wife Gry Barre come to the city of Ansul, fabled for its literature and its scholarly culture. But it seems they have come seventeen years too late: for Ansul has been conquered by the Alds, the people of the Asudar desert to the east. Unlike the people of Ansul, who revere countless gods and ancestral spirits, the Alds are devoted to the worship of one deity: the burning god Atth, whose word is to be spoken and never written, and who deems all other gods to be demons. To the Alds, all writing is demonic by definition.

Book review: two YA baseball novels
Book Reviews / October 16, 2013

More than five years ago, I reviewed “The Boy Who Saved Baseball” by this author, who is totally not the actor from Three’s Company. In that review, I said that I planned to read more of his books in the near future. I was true to my word, but only to the extent that I have had this book and another by the same author on my shelf all these years. It’s no reflection on my feelings for baseball fiction (which are generally warm) or for this author (intrigued, respectful). It’s just an occupational hazard of being a book junkie whose shelves are jammed two books deep with titles I’ve been planning to read for ages. So many books, so little time!

Book review: “One Fine Potion” by Greg Garrett
Book Reviews / September 17, 2013

This book is at least partly a defense of “Harry Potter” against the flavor of Christianity that condemns the series because it contains magic and witchcraft, and thereby serves Satan. And yes, even some of its best points are covered by Sonia Falaschi-Ray in her straightforwardly organized but badly-written attempt to do the same. Seeing Harry described as a literary Christ-figure was no surprise. When Greg Garrett does this, the surprise is how compellingly he makes his case, and how completely his evidence fits.

Book review: Two religious interpretations of “Harry Potter”
Book Reviews / September 12, 2013

Today, if you ask me what I think about the relationship between “Harry Potter” (or other fantasy tales) and religion, I will say something like: “I’ve noticed that many fantasy tales are open to a wide variety of religious interpretations. Personally I just read them for the entertainment.”

Book review: “Adam Bede” by George Eliot
Book Reviews / February 28, 2013

In the imaginary village of Hayslope, on the frontier between the nonexistent English counties of Loamshire and Stonyshire, round about the year 1799, a strong, manly carpenter named Adam Bede lives with his doting mother (who becomes a widow in an early chapter) and his gentle, sensitive brother Seth. The brothers love the two pretty nieces of a prosperous farmer and his wife who live nearby. Adam’s intended is a vain, saucy, but irresistibly pretty little thing named Hetty Sorrel; the girl Seth wants to marry is a tender, modestly beautiful Methodist lay preacher named Dinah Morris.

Interview: Richard Burton, author of “Godsent”
Interviews / January 25, 2013

MuggleNet had the pleasure of speaking with “Godsent” author, Richard Burton, about his book and the upcoming film adaptation. The book, which is a thriller with wild twists & turns that will keep you guessing right through to the very last page.