Saturday, February 28, 2015

“Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie – Mundane Justice

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie - book cover
The first book in the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice, garnered praise from virtually every review out there for introducing a fresh, new and unique entry into the world of science-fiction literature.

Having presented us with the former warship AI-turned human called Breq as well as the vast and complex world she (it?) inhabits, Ann Leckie decided to move onwards with Ancillary Sword, the second book in the trilogy, and it takes off where the previous one left off; Breq now finds herself in the position of Fleet Commander for the Emperor and proceeds to Athoek station where she is tasked with guarding the family of a lieutenant she once murdered herself. Along the way, of course, plenty of other problems begin oozing to the surface, leaving Breq with a bigger mess on her hands than she could have imagined.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie – The Cost of Righteousness

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - book cover
Just like every other review of Ancillary Justice, I will begin this one by pointing out that Ann Leckie's debut novel truly is something fantastic, something we ought to behold and admire, something that will undoubtedly one day be regarded as a classic of the science-fiction genre, captivating our imaginations years and years down the line. It seems that the practice of writing long, vast and expansive science-fiction novels is a trend that has been picking up lately, though it can be argued that few do it as well as this work of literature. (You can read the first chapter here)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

“Chasing Gold” by George M. Taber – The Golden War Machine

Chasing Gold by George M. Taber - book cover
Gold is one of those things that managed to become larger than life in this world. At its essence, gold is simply a chemical element, one with mostly unremarkable characteristics. No, what makes gold so important in this world is the meaning we have given to it, our incessant yearning to decorate all we own in its glory.

Needless to say, countless have chased gold throughout history, and the amount of stories driven by it is simply untold. However, if one thing can be said for certain upon a quick review of our recent history, it is that during the Second World War gold played an undeniably-crucial role in dictating how things unfolded, much more than most textbooks will discuss.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 69

Good day to everyone and welcome back for what is the 69th Issue of Gliding Over the World of Literature. We are approaching the triple digits rather quickly, a very welcome reminder of how the dimension of books never ceases to shift and change, amazing us time and time again, never running out of stories to tell.

Today, we are going to begin by checking out the CODEX 2015 book fair, an event focusing on the beauty of handmade books. After that we will take a trip towards the bizarre and have a look at ten of the weirdest books written during mankind's history, and finish things off by having a look at some books which give a completely different perspective of some authors with a well-established image.

Friday, February 20, 2015

“They Do It with Mirrors” by Agatha Christie – Ultimate Delinquency

They Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie - book cover
Agatha Christie has had such a prolific and illustrious career that a large number of novels have made it into the “classics of literature” category, which in turn, unfortunately, overshadowed many other stories which, perhaps not being as good, still remain fantastic and for the most part, largely better than what has been printed since.

They Do it with Mirrors is one such Agatha Christie novel, and it follows Miss Marple as she is beckoned by an old friend, Ruth Van Rydock, to go visit her sister, Carrie Louise Martin, at her family home (well, more like family mansion) and shed light on some strange happenings that have been bothering that latter one. With the home having been recently converted into a correctional facility for first-time offenders by Carrie Louise's current husband and complex relationships between various family members being as strained as they could ever be (Carrie Louise married three times so far), the situation almost seems ripe for murder. And of course, as seems to be case, wherever Miss Marple goes, the Grim Reaper relentlessly follows; a bloody murder soon sets everything in motion.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

“If You've Got It, Haunt It” by Rose Pressey – Ghostly Annoyances

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey - book cover
The idea of being haunted in literature is something which, for the most part, has taken a one-sense direction (and in movies too, for that matter). A haunting always implies some ghosts or malevolent spirits assailing living people's psychological sturdiness, often trying to frighten them above anything else. In If You've Got It, Haunt It, Rose Pressey has decided to take a slightly different approach to this whole haunting business, one that is lighter, quirkier, and frankly, a very welcome change of pace.

Friday, February 13, 2015

“Be Careful What You Wish For” by Jeffrey Archer – A Game of Opportunities

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer - book cover
If there is one thing literature fans berate Jeffrey Archer for, it's that he takes so long to publish the next volume of his epic family saga, pitting two families against each other in every way imaginable. And that's in big reason due to the fact that every time a new part gets published, the hiatus is so long in-between that we tend to forget a few things, and the impact of the stories is lessened.

However, I believe that this is only a minor hurdle to overcome, one that certainly won't prevent you from enjoying the story in Be Careful What You Wish For, the fourth part of the epic saga where Jeffrey Archer sees two rival families trying to outdo each other, this time focusing on the numerous trials and tribulations that the characters face in the Barrington Shipping Company.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

“We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas – The Myth of the American Dream

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas - book cover
The idea of going from rags to riches and gaining all that we've never had and always dreamed of is something innumerable people think about night and day, and needless to say, it has been explored through literary works through and through. However, we never get tired of the idea, and that is certainly what drives Eileen, the protagonist in We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas, a work of literature that has made a splash on an international scale, praised by virtually every book review out there.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

“A Murder is Announced” by Agatha Christie – An Honest Kill

A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie - book cover
Agatha Christie has gifted the world of literature with countless mysteries which eventually paved the way for a number of prolific writers, and the character of Jane Marple is one that has often been imitated, but never successfully replicated by any others. Having her own series of British countryside crimes to solve, she often finds herself thrust deep into the middle of deceptively complicated and morbid affairs, as is the case in one of her most well-known books, A Murder is Announced.

The premise is rather simple: a personal ad in the newspaper of a small village declares that a murder will take place on Friday, at 6:30 PM, at Little Paddocks. Needless to say, the blunt and honest nature of the message leads all to suspect a practical joke about to be played, but those familiar with the vicious nature of English villages know better. As the reader would expect, an actual murder does end up taking place, and the crime seems perfect in every regard... that is until the old sleuth takes matters into her own hands and begins to unravel an affair that appears increasingly complex with every twist and turn taken.

Friday, February 06, 2015

“Missing You” by Harlan Coben – Digital Preying

Missing You by Harlan Coben (book cover)Few are those who would claim that the countless technological advancements we come up with don't have their extraordinary benefits. Why, only in the past few decades we've developed a highly-efficient and unprecedentedly vast global network capable of connecting anyone with everyone else in real time. This network, which we all know as the Internet and deeply venerate, has of course opened up the opportunity for good as well as evil, and as it happens Harlan Coben explored that idea in his latest novel, Missing You.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

“13 Hours” by Mitchell Zuckoff – The Lone Spartans

13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff (Book cover)
Whenever a shocking tragedy like the terrorist attack on the diplomatic American outpost in Benghazi takes place there is always a wealth of information to mine through for months and months after. However, anyone can see that upon closer review it becomes unclear which information to trust and which to discard, with many conflicting accounts having the same amount of factual support.

This creates a sort of dangerous vacuum where those responsible for bringing the truth to the public can choose how they want to tailor the story to suit their own needs. This is where investigative journalists such as Mitchell Zuckoff come into play, going above and beyond where most people would venture in search of the truth, just like he did in his book 13 Hours.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

“A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James – The Politics of Chaos

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James - book cover
Though it is a bit sad to say, many people have a rather one-sided and limited perception of Jamaica, confined to happy reggae songs and proficient cannabis smokers. Though there certainly is a fair share of that, it goes without saying that there is infinitely more to Jamaica, its people as well as its history.

As a matter of fact, the three decades from the 1970s to the 1990s were some of the most turbulent times in the country, an era where crime and politics are virtually one and the same, a time during which poverty and violence were the daily rules for many.