Monday, August 31, 2015

“It IS About Islam” by Glenn Beck – Where the Extremists Came From

It IS About Islam by Glenn Beck - book cover
Extremism is far from being something new in this world, with virtually every religion having its fair share of adherents who are willing to take things as far as they possibly can, generally deciding to follow their teachings to the letter. Today, most of the world has its eyes turned on Muslim extremists, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Though relatively speaking these extremists are rather few in numbers, they have still managed to create a worldwide stigma against Islam that, in some places, is growing stronger and stronger as their actions grow more violent.

Friday, August 28, 2015

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Through the Lens of Race

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - book cover
Though the law in the United States may very well dictate that everyone is to be considered equal, I believe we all know that in practice, many people simply don't see things that way. Racial relations have come a tremendously long way in the past century, but nevertheless things continue to be more difficult for minorities from a socioeconomic standpoint.

Unfortunately, it seems that there is a race-based divide between the people, with most of them preferring to cling to their own perspective and dismiss that of others. It's during times like these that a voice of understanding is needed, like that of Ta-Nehisi Coates in his book Between the World and Me.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald – A Falconer's Grief

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald - book cover
Grief is something that touches us all in different ways, and there is no way of predicting how one will react to the loss of a loved one. When it came to Helen Macdonald, probably few could predict what she decided to do in the wake of her father's sudden passing in the streets of London; she decided to raise one of the deadliest and most vicious predators, the goshawk. Even though she was already an experienced falconer, she knew that this journey wouldn't prove to be a usual one and test her in many ways... and she wrote a memoir of it titled H is for Hawk.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Editing Can Make or Break Your Book Explained by Bernice Fischer

Bernice Fischer

Bernice Fischer

Personal site

Bernice Fischer is an author hailing from South Africa who was virtually born into the world of literature and has recently published her first novel, Jeff Madison and the Shimmers of Drakemere , a work largely acclaimed as brilliant and promising.

When most aspiring authors think of writing their first book they are extremely focused on the writing itself. How should they get started, develop characters, create the setting, describe appearances... and so on and so forth. While learning about the process of writing is certainly important in the creation of a novel (after all, very few of us can make an enthralling story with instincts alone), there is much more to it. As a matter of fact, what comes after you've finished writing will take up a lot more time and effort than you imagined.

Though book editors aren't exactly heralded as heroes by most readers, they play a role equally important to the author's in shaping the final product. Frankly, I could go on and on all day about how important editing is, but I believe it can be far better explained by author Bernice Fischer, as she did in an e-mail exchange:

Friday, August 21, 2015

“Whitey” by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill – The American Al Capone

Whitey by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill (book cover)
When it comes to powerful old-time gangsters, it's mostly Italian and Sicilian names that come to mind (and perhaps a few Jewish ones), such as Al Capone, “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Vito Genovese and Joseph Bonanno, just to name a few. As you would expect though, they are far from being the only people to have taken organized crime to the next level. Amongst the many other deadly crime bosses that came and went during the 20th century is one that won't soon be forgotten, especially by the American law enforcement agencies: James J. “Whitey” Bulger. Seeing the necessity in chronicling his unusual life, reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill decided to write a book about him, and it is very appropriately titled Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Crime Boss.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“Three Moments of an Explosion” by China Mieville – A Celebration of the Enigmatic

I'm certain that at this point, no matter what your system of belief and morality is, you've come to the great conclusion that this world is a strange one, and it feels as if there will never be an end to the bizarre phenomenons we are incapable of explaining. Most of us choose to press onwards and not pay too much attention to that, taking it one day at a time and trying to keep things as normal as possible, both inside and outside ourselves. However, there are other people out there who prefer to take a completely different approach to that, instead embracing all the weirdness they can find, and even take it further, to as far an extreme as possible. China Mieville is an author who definitely fits that description, even being a founder of the “New Weird” literature group/wave/movement, whichever expression you prefer.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

“Street Poison” by Justin Gifford – From Robert Beck to Iceberg Slim

Street Poison by Justin Gifford (Book cover)
Contemporary black culture certainly has many prominent figures who majorly contributed to its development in the latter half of the 20th century, but few of them arguably had the influence of Iceberg Slim, a real icon of his time. In his biography Street Poison, Justin Gifford takes it upon himself to examine in as much depth as possible this unique man's story.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 78

Greetings everyone and welcome to Gliding Over the World of Literature once again, where we present the 78th issue for your reading pleasure. The first thing we are going to do today is look into the life of the late Gunter Grass, a Nobel Prize winner in literature and author of The Tin Drum and more recently, The Box. Following that we'll be moving to bittersweet territory and check out the ending of a beautiful secret (and illegal) library. Finally, we'll bring things to a close by having a look at how two of the century's greatest writers, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, ended up influencing each other profoundly.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Jacob Whaler Method of Writing

Jacob Whaler

Jacob Whaler

Personal site

Jacob Whaler is the author of the science-fiction series Stones and has taken to writing after spending much of his life gazing down financial documents.

A writer at heart, he moved away from the megalopolises he lived in for something quieter, living the author's dream.
Greetings dear readers, a couple of days ago I got in touch with Jacob Whaler (, author of the Stones series, in order to discuss writing.

More precisely, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom to share for aspiring writers who don't know where to start... and he gave me some of the best advice I've ever received on the topic. I decided it would be a crime to keep his insight away from the world, and so I am sharing it here today:

Jack Whaler says:

Thanks for reading my blog post and reminding me that I need to do more of them!

Yeah, for me it's all about getting my hands on the keyboard. Inspiration seems to strike when my fingers are moving. I rarely get good ideas for my books when I'm not at the keyboard. I have a feeling a lot of people "think" about writing a novel, but don't make any progress because they never actually sit down and start to write. Sitting in front of a blank page is a fearful and stressful thing. It's easier to just "think" about writing and spend a lot of time gathering ideas by watching movies, etc.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

“Invisible City” by Julia Dahl – The Jewish Outsider

Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Book cover)
Secular religious communities have always been a sort of attraction for those outside of them, a mystery that dares to be solved, a secret upon which we only gain momentary glimpses. As you may suspect, there isn't actually a whole lot of black magic, child sacrifices or supernatural happening behind those closed doors... rather, they just make for small societies that function differently from our own, with their proper internal functions. As a matter of fact, they are the perfect backdrop for murder mysteries, as is the case in Invisible City by Julia Dahl.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

“Against All Enemies” by John Gilstrap – Fearing the People

Against All Enemies by John Gilstrap - book cover
Even though we can all agree that governments are necessary building pillars for modern society to hold on, there is no denying that some of them seem to cause more harm than good in the end, or at least only serve the personal interests of those in charge. There must always exist a balance of respect and power between the government and the people, each one keeping the other in check as they co-exist. When that balance is upset forces tend to start shifting, metaphorical volcanoes come to a boil, and in the end, someone always fights back.