All posts in the Scholastic category

Book Reports: Oscar Wilde and Velvet Goldmine

Published July 22, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Several reports at once here.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde that I’ve got on Goodreads, so here’s the closest cover I could find.

The one I have is a Barnes & Noble edition from 1994, long before they were doing the leatherbound thing.  (Which I found at a local used store.)  It’s got this photo on the cover, but a bit smaller, and tinted slightly blue.  And despite that it calls itself “Complete” it isn’t really complete.  The things most people want to read are all there — Dorian Gray, the plays, and the short stories — and there’s a lot of poetry, though I haven’t bothered to look up if it’s all the poetry.  (And it claims to have an introduction by George Bernard Shaw, but what it actually has is a letter from him to an early Wilde biographer recounting his own memories of Oscar Wilde.  Which is far from being an introduction in any standard sense.  It was interesting stuff (and in one place wonderfully useful to me) but not an introduction.)  But there are only a handful of letters and essays.  Which, for most people, is probably not much loss, because most people are likely to only want the fiction, whether in prose or play form.

And no, I haven’t read the entire thing cover to cover.  It’s about 1200 pages, so that’s a lot of reading.  But I have some reports on the individual pieces I have read.  (And I plan to read more of the pieces later.) Read the rest of this entry →

A Few Incidental Book Reports

Published June 23, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Rather, a few mini-reviews of books that aren’t for the Read Harder challenge.  (Even though the first two totally could be.)


First up, A Case of Possession and Flight of Magpies, books two and three of the Charm of Magpies series by K. J. Charles.  (The review of the first one is here.)  You may be wondering, before I get to the mini-review, why these two covers look so different.  Well, that’s because I screwed up.  When I ordered A Case of Possession, I didn’t go ahead and order the third book along with it, even though I knew I’d want to read it.  I did this for logical reasons, because I was sure if I had both, I’d read both right away, instead of reading something else I “should” have been reading.  Then while I was so bogged down in The Story of Egypt, I said to myself “okay, I deserve a treat, so I’m getting the next magpie book!”  And when I went to Amazon, the paperback had gone spectacularly out of print, suddenly costing upwards of $35.  For a book that runs about 120 pages.  I do love these books, but I don’t love them that much.  So I had to get the Kindle edition instead.  Which is better from the “I have no space in this house even for what I already have, let alone anything new” perspective, but it’s just not as much fun to read on my iPad as it is to read an actual book.  Anyway,  these books are hard to review, because they’re very much “more of the same” with the first one.  With the major difference that now our two lovebirds are an established couple, instead of first meeting and becoming involved.  The second two books focus heavily on Stephen Day’s job as a justiciar, the magical equivalent of a police detective, and although the idea is for him to be hunting warlocks who break any and all of the rules of their magical community, in these books that tends to resolve itself into the form of hunting down magical murderers.  We get to meet Stephen’s co-workers, who are also fun and interesting characters, and the Council who oversees things, who are a different sort of interesting and no fun at all.  (Not that they’re supposed to be fun.  They’re the people responsible for running Stephen ragged and giving him grief about it rather than properly thanking him.)  A Case of Possession featured two things especially worth noting.  First, it settled some of the worries I had coming out of The Magpie Lord about the way their relationship was going to play out.  And second, while The Magpie Lord had featured the POV of both men (and even a guest POV from Crane’s manservant Merrick), A Case of Possession was exclusively from Crane’s POV.  Given the story, it really had to be, but the change was surprising, and the POVs went back to normal for Flight of Magpies, the third and final book in the series.  As the final book of a trilogy, it wrapped up a number of loose ends for a satisfying conclusion that really felt like a conclusion.  I don’t feel like these second two books had quite as much world building as the first one, but there was some additional world building, and playing around with what was already there.  Somehow, the sex scenes in these two didn’t seem quite as exciting as the ones in the first book, either, but I guess that’s because the sex had gone from “finally!” to “routine”…er, okay, not “routine” exactly, but…instead of being this explosion of their pent-up desires and a discovery of what the other likes/dislikes/does/doesn’t do in making love, it’s just one more act in a play that’s been going on for a long time.  Yeeeaaaaaahhhhh, that made no sense.  I guess I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s just me, anyway.

You Are Here:  An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson.  I kind of wanted to put up a book report on this as soon as I got it, but…it’s sort of hard to review, because it’s half coloring book.  Sort of.  Her wonderful drawings alternate with text, some of it funny, some of it advice, some of it impossible-to-sum-up-in-one-word.  I love the drawing style, and some of the text was so funny I nearly cried laughing, while other parts of the text were sobering, or even sorrowful.  It’s something that needs to be experienced rather than described, ultimately.  (BTW, is WordPress dropping blogs from anyone else’s follow list?  When I went to get the URL for her blog, I realized it wasn’t showing up on my sidebar of “blogs I follow” and I started to get worried…but apparently WordPress just removed her from my list in May.  Which certainly explained why it had felt like a long time since I’d seen a blog post from her, but it’s frustrating/alarming to realize that I’ve got blogs just being dropped like that without asking me.  At least one other got dropped, too.  Is there, like, a maximum number of blogs you can follow?)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous than to do a review on You Are Here, then you scroll down and see that the final book in this post is Black Butler Artworks 2.  Because of course.  There’s so much to review here, right?  (If I did emojis on this blog, I would put a winking face with its tongue sticking out here.  But I don’t use them on this blog, so it would be very odd to suddenly start.)  I just finished looking through this yesterday and figured “why not include it?”  (Hey, just be grateful I’m not listing all the manga I’ve been reading!  That would get…actually, that would get pretty embarrassing…)  Inside the eye-injuring houndstooth print covers, this book is chock full of Yana Toboso’s incredible artworks.  Which is great for me, but your mileage may vary.  There are three sections:  full color manga illustrations, illustrations for the anime, and unrelated Toboso art, primarily collaborative illustrations of characters from other intellectual properties.  Thankfully, the pictures are followed up by a few pages of commentary on the images by Toboso, sometimes explaining certain poses or art styles, and usually answering the “who the heck is that?” questions I kept having in the anime section.

I’ve no idea when the next book report will come out, ’cause I’m not sure what I’m going to start reading next.  I was going to read the “classic by an author of color” challenge book next, but I can’t figure out where I put the danged book!  It’s somewhere in this blinkin’ house…I just don’t know where.  *sigh*  I still haven’t decided what to re-read, and what to use for a book on war, either.  So…yeah, no idea what I’ll be reading next, and therefore no idea when I’ll finish reading it to post about it.

(When did my blog become a book review blog?  I don’t recall making that change…but it totally seems to have happened…)

Book Report: The Story of Egypt

Published June 20, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, it’s been a very long time since my last Book Report, hasn’t it?  That’s because my choice for Challenge #11 “Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location,” was this:

(Oddly, according to Goodreads, this is the paperback cover, but it’s the image on the cover of my hardback copy.)  So, before I get to the book, let me give a little backstory on why I had this sitting around waiting to be read.  In my family, everyone writes Christmas lists every year, so that gift-giving isn’t a pain in the backside.  Because a list of nothing but DVDs/Blu-rays would be excessively dull, I always make sure to put some books on there, specifically ones that feel appropriate (the one about the mistresses of Charles II, for example, did not seem holiday-appropriate) and usually hardbacks, typically new releases that I find browsing idly at Barnes & Noble.  Last year’s list had a paucity of books at first, but after another browsing, I spotted this one and figured “may as well add it” even though it didn’t particularly scream out that I needed to read it.  So naturally this is the one my mother decided to give me. (Should I have ever expected anything else?)  I chose to read it at this time because the other Christmas gift waiting to be read (which would also have worked for this challenge) is a book about Mycenae that’s about the size of a coffee table.  Not really convenient to read unless you do all your reading at a table, which I don’t.  Aaaanyway, that’s all somewhat irrelevant, so I’m not sure why I’m going into it.

Now, you may be wondering if it would normally take me a month and a half to read a 368 page book.  (The page numbers go up a lot higher than that, of course, but that’s due to the notes and bibliography and such.  The text stops on page 368.)  And the answer is “absolutely not.”  The reasons it’s taken me that long are multi-part.  One, I haven’t had as much time to just sit around reading, due to one thing and another.  Two, because I’m swimming again, I’m not taking baths very often, and I usually read in the bath.  (Why waste water bathing when I take a full shower after getting out of the pool?)  Three, this book was very frustrating to read.

Number three, of course, is the big one.  This is a very heavily researched book, but the author tried her hardest to obscure that fact.  Not only are there no in-text citations or endnote markers, the endnotes themselves are horrible.  Basically, only quotations are cited, and they’re done in the most infuriating way I’ve ever seen.  If you see a quote, you have to turn the back, where you’ll find a list (in order, thank goodness!) of all the quotations, listed by chapter but without any reference back to which page they were quoted on, which then gives you a source, by author’s last name and year of publication only, so you have to flip still further back to find the author’s works in the bibliography to see where it actually came from.  And if you want to know where some of her non-quoted information comes from?  You’re just plain out of luck.  There were many times when I wanted to know what her sources were on things that weren’t quotes, but she didn’t cite them, so for all the evidence she provided, she could have outright made those things up.  (I doubt that she did make them up, of course, but any teacher on the planet would fail her for such miserable citations.)  And when I say there are no in-text citations, I mean it.  Any time she wants to admit she’s quoting someone, she’ll just say “an historian said” or “according to one ancient source”, sometimes being as “specific” as Greek or Roman…but she never gives the historian’s name.  As if anyone would be reading a nearly 400 page book on ancient history who’d be put off at seeing the name Herodotus in the text?  Not giving the names of modern historians I can understand, but avoiding naming the ancient sources is not just annoying, but downright misleading;  knowing something came from Herodotus is very different than it coming from Plutarch, Diodorus, or whoever else.  And given the way these citations were handled, I wasn’t about to sort through them to look up which ancient source said every thing she quoted.  Some of the translations she chose for the ancient historians were entirely inappropriate for modern works, particularly the one for which I’ll present the entire citation:

‘a thieving effeminate ballet boy in curlers’, Cicero in Graves  1968, p. 96.

Seriously?  “Ballet boy”?  Ballet didn’t exist for another 1500 years!  How is such an anachronistic translation appropriate to a scholarly work?  And as to “Graves 1968″…it is not in the selected bibliography.  So what book is it?  Assuming that “Graves” means the classical scholar (and novelist) Robert Graves, one can go to Goodreads and see what he wrote in 1968…and find nothing.  According to Goodreads’ sort by original publication year, Robert Graves had things first published in ’67 and ’69, but not ’68.  So is it a reprint?  Is it someone else named Graves?  Fletcher doesn’t tell us.  (Admittedly, given the decidedly old-fashioned manner of dealing with an ancient Roman insult to a man’s masculinity, it’s almost certainly Robert Graves, and undoubtedly simply something that was reprinted/re-edited in 1968, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she quotes and cites something without providing the most basic information on the work.  And in this case, she ought to have stated which of Cicero’s works it came from, so the reader could have sought out a more accurate translation if desired.)

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Book Report: Curses, Inc.

Published May 3, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

This one didn’t take long, did it?  It’s for Challenge #22, “Read a collection of stories by a woman.”

The theme of the collection is witches, though sometimes the connection is more tenuous than other times.  It also includes a bit at the end where she actually answers every author’s least favorite favorite question:  “where do you get your ideas?”

The stories range from humorous to actually rather frightening, with settings that are equally varied, from unspecified ‘medieval-like’ to very modern indeed.  (And yes, there’s a good reason for the cover image of a witch using a computer, btw.)  Some of them really play with your expectations, too.

As is to be expected from a collection of stories, some of them were more to my taste than others, but there weren’t any of them that I actually disliked.  Overall an entertaining (and fast) read.

…and I seem to suck at reviews today.  (Maybe because I logged on and found out that my post on Monday decided not to post itself even though I had hit publish?  So now my brain’s all scrambled by confused expectations?)

Well, no use forcing it.  I can’t figure out what else I should say, so I’m just gonna leave it here.

Book Report: Girl Mans Up

Published April 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Now that I’ve finished my class work for the semester (even though class won’t actually end until the 8th), I finally have time to read again.  So I’ve finished the next book for the challenge, though again I’m not sure which challenge to list it for.  It could work for challenge #2, “Read a debut novel,” or challenge #15, “Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.”  (For people living in other places, it might work for the within 100 miles or the over 5000 miles, but neither of those applies for me.)

This novel is the story of Pen(elope) Oliveira, a girl in high school in the (fictional?) town of Castlehill, Ontario.  She’s dealing with the usual teenage problems:  love, friendship, family, and making important decisions about how to become her own person (or if she even will).  What makes her story stand out from others is that she’s a lesbian, her family are Portuguese immigrants, and she’s always put out such a masculine vibe that people often mistook her for a boy.

From looking at the small blurbs on Goodreads and Amazon, I thought this was about her becoming (or just deciding to become) a transgender man, but that isn’t actually the case.  It’s more about how society’s gender definitions are antiquated and needlessly limiting.  In fact, I think many of the other characters in the story would be more comfortable around Pen if she was trans, because then she’d be conforming to social expectations (sort of), instead of being herself regardless of what everyone else thinks she ought to be.

I marked a couple of passages that really sum up Pen’s gender situation, but I think just the first one will get it across well enough:

Everyone wants something different from me.  It’s like one second, I should be a better dude.  I should stop being such a girly douche, and I should just man up.  Then, it’s the opposite:  I’m too much of a guy, and it’s not right.  I should be a girl, because that’s what I’m supposed to be.

The thing is, I’m not a boy, but I don’t want to be that girl either.  I just want everyone to screw off and let me do my own thing for once.

I should back up a bit on my previous statement.  The book isn’t about how society’s gender definitions are antiquated and needlessly limiting; that’s more the setting, the background against which the action takes place.  The actual subject of the book is…um…hard to describe in a few sentences without just giving a summary of the story.  I guess the best way to sum it up is to say that it’s about relationships — not just romantic ones, mind you, but about all the major types of interpersonal relationships:  family, friendship, and romance.

So, as a teen drama about interpersonal relationships, this is exactly the kind of book I don’t normally read.  Usually, I like to read books where the world needs to be saved, adventures need to be had, tyrants must be stopped, heists have to be perpetrated, et cetera.  (Well, that’s if you’re talking about fiction.  Non-fiction is another matter entirely.)  Therefore, I don’t have much frame of reference here.  But reading outside of your usual zone is one of the points of the Read Harder Challenge, so that’s cool.  And, more importantly, I did enjoy the book.  (In fact, I was sucked in so well it took me half the book or more to consciously notice that it was in the present tense.)

Pen  is very well developed as a character; she feels like a real person, both sure of herself and who she is and also still questing after her own personal identity at the same time.  (She is, after all, a teenager.)  The supporting cast are also well developed, though necessarily not quite as transparent to the reader as Pen, since we only have access to the inside of Pen’s head, and not everyone else’s.  The progression of events feels very natural, and like real life, there are decisions where you wonder what someone was thinking, and others where you feel like characters made a good choice.  Nothing world-shattering happens (not much even life-altering, in fact), just the passage of time and the events that accompany it.  (Though some of the events are naturally more important than others.)

…hmm.  I feel like maybe I should be saying more than that, but I can’t really think what else to say.  (My brain has yet to recover from that last stretch of class work, apparently…)

I guess really all I need to say is that here’s a book about a really kick-ass girl who faces social adversity on a daily basis, and if that sounds like something you’d like to read about, then you should look into this book.

MLM No “U”

Published April 17, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros


I mean, y’know?  Ack.  Ack all over the place.

I have three 4-page essays (wait, or was it three three-page essays? yeah, it was three-page essays, whew!) and a sixty slide PowerPoint presentation that have to be finished by next Monday.  Oh, and 4 annotated bibliographies for things that obscenely insignificant and have received no scholarly attention.  Yet I have to find 4 books and ten articles for each one.

Yeah, so I have one week to do all that.

So I spent all day today in the library, trying to find finkin’ books and articles that were gonna fit the bill.  ARGH!

The only good news is that I’ve already done the PowerPoint.  All that’s left is the bibliography and one image that I forgot to get at the library today.  And the footnotes for two slides.


Nine pages of essays.

On insanely pointless local topics for which no one other than the professor gives a rat’s ass.

Oh, and I’m expected to work 4 days in the coming week.

I am not a happy camper.


And yes, I mean every word of that, btw.  In case anyone was wondering.  My life for the next seven days is not going to be pretty.

Book Report: Hedy’s Folly

Published April 6, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Sooner than expected, here’s my report on the book I picked for Challenge #13 “Read a nonfiction book about technology.”

Since the text on the image is so small, let me spell out the full title of the book:  Hedy’s Folly:  The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.  (And yes, that is a torpedo she’s sitting on on the cover.)

I admit that through the first few chapters, I was worried that it might not count as a book “about technology,” as those early chapters were pretty much standard biography of Hedy Lamarr (or rather of Hedwig Kiesler, who would later adopt the stage name of Hedy Lamarr), and her co-inventor George Antheil, a composer and author.  Then it got to the part where they were actually working on their invention, and suddenly it was absolutely all about technology.  In fact, it completely glossed over the rest of Hedy’s life in maybe five or six pages.  (Of her six husbands, the book only named two.  Or was it three?  Yeah, it was three, but still!  It did mention that she had had six, but didn’t see any need to go into details.)

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Book Report: Armageddon 2419 / The Airlords of Han

Published March 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

This time (instead of getting my school work done, ’cause I’m still freakin’ sick and can’t go to the library to research) I ended up reading my choice for Challenge #7, “Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.”  I borrowed this book from my father, having been intrigued by some of what my mother said while she was reading it.

(Image from publisher’s website. Click for link.)

Rather than being a single novel, this is two novellas, first published in 1928 and 1929.  The editor’s introduction (from 1928) is interesting in a few key respects…

HERE, once more, is a real scientifiction story plus.  It is a story which will make the heart of many readers leap with joy.

We have rarely printed a story in this magazine that for scientific interest, as well as suspense, could hold its own with this particular story.  We prophecy that this story will become more valuable as the years go by.  It certainly holds a number of interesting prophecies, of which no doubt, many will come true.  For wealth of science, it will be hard to beat for some time to come.  It is one of those rare stories that will bear reading and re-reading many times.

This story has impressed us so favorably, that we hope the author may be induced to write a sequel to it soon.

The Editor, Amazing Stories

Apparently, “science fiction” as a term hadn’t been coined yet in 1928.  I’ll get back to my other reasons for quoting the whole introduction later in the review, but first let me address what you may (or may not) be able to read in the lower corner of the cover image:  that these novellas are the original origin of Buck Rogers.  (Which certainly makes the editor’s prophecy of the story’s future value ring true, though most likely not in the way the editor intended; he probably didn’t mean financial value for the author.)  This is true, but if you’re familiar with the 1939 serial or the 1979-1981 movie/TV show, you’ll find very little that’s familiar here.  About all that’s the same (other than the 20th century man ending up in the 25th century premise) is the following:

  1. The name “Rogers”
  2. The name “Wilma Deering”
  3. A post-apocalyptic America in which people live almost like animals on the surface (this is less so in the serial)
  4. A few technological gadgets in the serial (like the anti-gravity belt) that didn’t make it into the ’70s and ’80s version.

Pretty much everything else (including the name “Buck”) came into the franchise with the comic strips, beginning in 1929, though (according to the Wikipedia article) most of the plot elements familiar to us came in through the Sunday comic strips that began in 1930, including the characters of Killer Kane, Ardala, and Dr. Huer, and the presence of alien races.

So what is this story about, if it’s not about the beleaguered people of Earth fighting back against the space gangster/Draconian warlord Kane?  Well, you may regret asking.

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Book Report: Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Published March 18, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’ve finished another challenge much more quickly than expected.  Largely because I needed something to read in the bath and couldn’t take my class reading in there (I refuse to use my iPad or to read a library book in the bath), and I ended up grabbing my selection for Challenge #6 “Read an all-ages comic.”

My original choice for #6 was the latest Asterix book (which I’ve been putting off reading because both original creators passed away some years ago (one more recently than the other), and so it was written and drawn by new hands, making me leery of it, though I’ve been assured it’s actually good), but then I saw this one recommended and compared to Calvin and Hobbes.  So I checked out the more detailed information on Amazon, and saw that the introduction was written by Peter S. Beagle, so of course I had to read it!  (Well, of course they asked him to write an introduction.  While Marigold Heavenly Nostrils’ personality is a bit, um, more comical than that of title character of The Last Unicorn, her appearance is clearly inspired by the animated version.)  While he, also, makes the Calvin comparison, he also compares Phoebe to Charlie Brown, which I think might be the more apt comparison.  But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

So, what is Phoebe and Her Unicorn about?  (Um, apart from the obvious.)  This collection of comic strips (apparently web comics, rather than newspaper comics) starts with fourth grader Phoebe meeting the unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, and being given a single wish.  Like any fourth grader at the bottom of her class’s social ladder, Phoebe wishes (after some false starts) for Marigold to be her best friend, and her wish is granted.  Their adventures together tend to be quiet ones, riding through the forests, and just generally talking to let their different-yet-similar personalities create the humor.  (Though there are also the occasional highly imaginative adventures as well.)  There’s also a lot about Phoebe’s trouble with her classmates, who look down on her as a weird loser.

The Calvin and Hobbes comparison seems obvious, right?  A boy and his imaginary/stuffed tiger, a girl and her unicorn; they seem like they’re on the same page.  And to a certain extent they are.  Phoebe does have quite an imagination for crazy adventures (and, to be honest, Calvin’s adventures often were quiet things like sledding or walking in the woods, having deep conversations with Hobbes).  But the really big difference is that to everyone else in the world, Hobbes is just a stuffed animal, whereas everyone else in Phoebe’s world can see Marigold.  It’s just that they don’t pay much attention to Marigold because she has the Shield of Boringness to deflect their awe.  (Technically, that ought to be in a Gothic font, but I don’t know how to change the font on here.)  Said shield rather reminds me of the “Somebody Else’s Problem Field” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  (Not sure which part of it; it may have only been in season two of the radio series.)  Something similar was also introduced in the new series Doctor Who as well, though I don’t remember exactly what it was called — a “perception filter” or something, maybe.  (I think that was in “The Lodger,” but the way the new series is structured, it’s really awkward watching just one episode instead of all (or most of) a season at a single go, so…yeah, not gonna check.  I don’t have time to start marathoning vast quantities of Doctor Who right now.)  That gives Marigold a very different presence as Phoebe’s constant companion than Hobbes had as Calvin’s.

That brings me back to the other comparison, to Peanuts and Charlie Brown.  I’m very fond of the really early Peanuts strips, from the late ’50s and early ’60s, and there are definitely similarities.  Phoebe is entirely modern, of course (smart phone and all), but she has the same kind of insecurities, and the same desire to be accepted by her classmates.  She has all her own ways of approaching things, but she has a basic interest in accepting and being accepted that’s very like Charlie Brown’s.  (Unlike Calvin, who really doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with the majority of the other kids at school.  And given what most of his classmates are like, it’s hard to blame him, really.)

Bottom line, this is a very endearing little book.  It’s funny, intelligent and charmingly drawn.  Despite the sparkly pink cover (and the unicorn), it’s not “Calvin and Hobbes for girls”; this book is its own thing, and (just like Calvin and Hobbes) should be equally able to entertain girls and boys both, as well as adults.

Book Report: No Rainbow

Published March 14, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I told you this one would go up today.  This time, I tackled challenge #21, “Read a book published by a micropress.”  Probably one of the most difficult challenges to meet, simply because so many people (most of us, perhaps) had never even heard of the idea of a micropress, let alone know where to find one’s books.  Fortunately, Book Riot provided an article discussing what micropresses are, and giving links to a few of them.  In that article, there was a list of some of the qualities of a micropress, the first two of which are


  • The main criteria is that the books are published in limited releases – no more than 300 copies for handmade chapbooks and 500 for spine bound (glued).

  • They are run by one-two people, usually out of their homes

Which definitely explains why you don’t see micropress products in your big chain bookstores!

Anyway, so I followed one of the links Book Riot’s article provided, and went to Greying Ghost to find a book for this challenge.  Can’t vouch for the number of people assembling the books, but the one I got was in an edition size of 50, and handmade, so I think it definitely meets the criteria.

(Image from Greying Ghost website. Click for link.)


You can’t really read the cover very well in the photo, so I’ll just add here that it’s called No Rainbow and it’s by Judson Hamilton.  (That circle around the woman’s head seems to have been added in Photoshop, because it’s not on the actual book.)  This is very short — the pages are unnumbered, but I think there are about 30 of them — which makes it rather hard to find a way to review it as such.

This story (for lack of a more apt term to use) is very much the kind of thing you might expect to see in a literary magazine.  A bit experimental around the edges, sometimes with poetry-style line breaks, and definitely feeling heavy with meaning.  You’re not given all the details of the situation surrounding events — events being a few conversations over the course of a day or two — or even a full description of the characters, but by the end you have a pretty firm grasp on the situation.

Given the brief nature of the text, I don’t really want to go into it further, so to expand the review a little, I guess I’ll talk about the more technical aspects of the book.  It’s printed on very high quality, heavy paper, and seems to have been printed with a more-or-less ordinary printer, given that there were a few lines on one page that had a printer line smudge thing going on.  (Happens to everyone…)  My biggest complaint would be that right on the very last page, the author used “there” instead of “their”, which is one of my especial pet peeves.  (Maybe it was intentional, but it’s still jarring to my former English major self…)

So, this is me halfway done with the Read Harder 2017 challenge.

Not sure which individual challenge I’ll go after next.  Like I said last time, I already have the books for almost all of them, so I have lots of options.  But I have a massive take-home test due the 1oth (which I haven’t started on due to being sick) and a research PowerPoint (yeah, in graduate school) due on the 24, so I should probably focus my reading on class work for the next month and a half.  Much as I dislike that idea…


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