Friday, October 31, 2014

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 63

Good day to you all, and welcome back to Gliding Over the World of Literature, for what is the 63th issue already. On this most special of holidays we are, rather obviously, going to center ourselves on the topic of fright, horror, and anything that pertains to the domain of the terrifying and unusual.

We will begin with a rather eye-opening exploration of some enthralling and yet rather morbid science and medicine books, describing practices pertaining to the fringes of those disciplines. Following that, we will take a look at five of the most frightening monsters found in literature today. To finish things off in the right spirit, we will turn our eyes to the timeless works of H.P. Lovecraft, a true pioneer of horror, and the consideration of bringing his stories to the silver screen.

Monday, October 27, 2014

“Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson – The American Perspective

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson – book cover
The British Isles have often been portrayed, from the North American perspective at least, as having lots of charm and mystery to them, with their inhabitants having so many close similarities and, at the same time, vast cultural differences. It feels like a bizarre place on Earth where all is different and yet the same.

American author Bill Bryson had the chance to fully immerse himself in this fantastic world upon moving to Britain in the early 1970s. However, after spending many years there he looked back on the home country he left, and concluded that his people clearly needed him, to fend off alien abductions and whatnot.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

“A Christmas Hope” by Anne Perry – Murderous Holidays

A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry - Front book cover
The Christmas holidays are a double-edged sword; though some revel in the celebratory occasion they present, others merely see them as a reminder of loneliness and emptiness. In Anne Perry's A Christmas Hope, we are presented with a somewhat paradoxical picture: Claudine Burroughs, a woman who lacks in nothing can't help but see the coming holidays as the latter. Nothing in her life seems to satisfy her desire for entertainment and excitement, and things don't promise to be any different this year... until she makes the acquaintance of a young poet, Dai Tregarron. Or more precisely, until said poet becomes the scapegoat for the murder of a young prostitute, smuggled into a high-class party.

With Claudine seeing that, obviously, there is some sort of major cover-up happening by the high class of London society, decides that a murder investigation is precisely what her holidays needed, and sets out to find the culprit, despite very well knowing the kinds of people she will inevitably end up crossing, should she get close enough to the truth. I'll say it straight away: if the murder mystery itself is what attracted you to this book from the very beginning, then you are going to be a bit disappointed for in terms of being a whodunit, this book is a rather simple exercise for the answer is virtually clear from the beginning. However, the telling of the tale itself is still worth the read if you really find yourself craving a Victorian murder mystery, for the development of the intrigue gives way to some rather enthralling descriptions of the environment and of society at that time in general, enough to get lovers of the period excited about revisiting it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

“Pinnacle of Deceit” by Eric Rill – A Childhood of Guilt

Pinnacle of Deceit by Eric Rill – book cover
The thriller genre has recently seen a brilliant addition to its already grandiose list of promising authors (promising in terms of what their future will bring, of course) when Eric Rill published his first novel, Pinnacle of Deceit.

The main premise of the story is rather simple: there are four men who grew up in an Arizona orphanage, and many years later, they now find themselves as targets of a mysterious and terrifying killer, the unstoppable doom seemingly destined to turn their lives into a living hell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“Getting Life” by Michael Morton – Stolen Years, Wasted Lives

Getting Life by Michael Morton – Book cover
Shattered teacups can be replaced, broken walls can be repaired, but time can never be rewound: the days, months, and years lost can be replaced by no means known to man. In Getting Life, Michael Morton chronicles the twenty-five years of his life that went down the drain as he spent them behind bars for the murder of his wife, a crime he did not commit.

In the book, Morton discusses pretty much the entire ordeal, from the morning when he went to work for the last time all the way to his tenacious fight to have DNA tests conducted and his final “victory”, being acquitted.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

“Blood Aces” by Doug Swanson – The Birth of Gomorrah

Blood Aces by Doug Swanson – Book cover
Big great cities, especially ones revolving around gambling, are almost guaranteed to have some sort of bloody history behind them, with their founding fathers (and/or mothers, of course) being drenched so deep in corruption they revel in it. As you can imagine, the history of Las Vegas is far from being different; gangsters have put in place, managed and controlled (and let's face it, still do) the whole thing around the concept of gambling.

Though there are certainly many to either thank for or blame, depending on your point of view, for what modern Las Vegas has become, Benny Binion is certainly someone who played a crucial role, and is yet somewhat under-explored and left out from most history books.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

“Baudelaire's Revenge” by Bob van Laerhoven – A Poet's Resurrection

Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob van Laerhoven – front cover
A majority of crime novels these days, taking place in the modern world, allow the protagonists to benefit from a host of different technological innovations which permit them to move their investigations forth. However thrilling it may be to see the sprawling web of technology catch all criminals, nothing can really replace the satisfying and accomplished feeling of pure logical deduction, something offered generally in crime novels taking place in centuries past, as is the case with Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob van Laerhoven, winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for best crime novel.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 62

Good day to everyone, and welcome back once again to Gliding Over the World of Literature! In our 62nd issue we will open things up with a curious story, that of an unpublished photograph of Oscar Wilde going for auction in October, found in the family album. Once that's over with, we'll jump into the incredible world of “Here” by Richard McGuire, delving into the remarkable milestone it became in comic books and tracing its journey from inception to conception. Finally, we will finish things off by giving some thought to the topic as to whether or not the news is replacing literature in our daily lives.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

“A Life in Books” by Warren Lehrer – Finding Identity in Literature

A Life in Books by Warren Lehrer – Front book cover
The need for self-understanding and a personal identity is something virtually every human on this planet has, but we all go about it in different ways. While some people undertake grandiose journeys around the world, there are others who prefer to delve deep onto odysseys into their own minds.

In A Life in Books by Warren Lehrer we are treated to the latter as we are presented the fictitious biography of Bleu Mobley, a man who had a rather interesting life, going from living as a child in a public housing project to becoming a journalist, a professor and a best-selling author, amongst other things.