Sunday, September 28, 2008

The First Book Review Blog Carnival

Welcome to the first in what I hope will be a long lasting series of Book Review Blog Carnivals. These carnivals will appear periodically, hosted by different bloggers around the web. If you write book reviews on your blog you are invited to submit a review for the next carnival, which will appear on Novel Bloggers on October 12th. All submissions are handled through Just click on the link and follow the easy to read directions.

If you would like to host a carnival, email me at the address in the sidebar.

Without further ado, here are the reviews. I have divided them into Fiction and Non Fiction sections. After that you're on your own.

Fiction: writes about On The Edge by Pamela Britton. This is apparently a romance novel, part of a series, with a NASCAR theme. You live and learn.

Naomi writes in Diary From England that a book of short stories, published to raise funds for charity and containing a Harry Potter prequil, written by J.K. Rowling, has broken the record for fastest sellout of a first printing.

Military Wife has submitted a post in Novel Bloggers The Internet Book Club, about The Notebook chapter of "Swans and Storms." I don't see the author's name listed in the post.

Bette Fetter reviews two books by Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, on he blog Power In Art The Seuss books are titled "The Shape o f Me And Other Stuff" and "My Many Colored Days."

Lizi Fetter writes, in Power In Art about the book Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt, a fictional account of the creation of Degas' little dancer sculpture.

Writing on, Patricia Rockwell of Communication Exchange reviews Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn, a spy thriller set in Iraq. Hmmm, I knew a guy named Vince Flynn in high school, I wonder . . . . nah!

Alessandra writes in Coraline a spooky juvenile novel by Neil Gaiman. Not that the novel is juvenile, mind you, but it's intended audience is that betwixt and between age group.

Christina, of Livin' The Dream read a hollywood insider story, Whacked by Jules Asner. My first impression is that she hated, hated, hated it.

Ruth Schaller writes in Books Books and more Books! about Accidentally Dead by Dakota Cassidy.

Alyce reviews The Violets of Usambara by Mary Soderstrom on her blog At Home With Books. It is a Non Governmental Organization thriller, which must be quite nearly unique.

Joana at The Symposium has written a review of Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyers. It's the fourth installment in Meyers' Twilight Saga and you finally fget to find out how the vampires and the werewolves learn to live together - or something.

Tiffany Aller writes on Read and Release about Odd Thomas By Dean Koontz . A fry cook who talks to the dead, sure, OK, I'm cool with that.

Cromley has read The Big Overeasy a tongue in cheek crime novel about the murder of one Humpty Dumpty, featuring detective Jack Spratt and his sidekick Mary Mary. Read the facts at Cromely's World.

Michele Jacobsen, writing in A Reader's Respite reviews The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows, a novel about a WWII era book club on the isle of Guernsey.

Flash Gordon, that's right THE Flash Gordon, writing in Great New Books that Are a Must Read reviews The Confederate War Bonnet by Jack Shakely, a historical novel about Native Americans during the civil war.

Carrie White reviews Not Dreamt of in Your Philosophy, a short story collection by Lynn Veach Sadler in her blog 4 Star Rating.

Sarah Small, writing in SmallWorld Reads, has discovered A Death in the Family by James Agee. I was an English major, too and haven't read it yet. That's what's wrong with our educational system!

Bombastia has reviewed the entire, four book The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer at one go. Apparently Bombastia read the entire four book series at one go, too.

Pamela Rappaport , of Pamela-te-da, really didn't care for Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass. Find out why.

On Children's Books: What, When & How to Read Them, TZT writes about The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, 262pp RL 5.

Jim Murdoch, on his blog The Truth About Lies, which one might incorrectly think is a blog about politics, actually admits that he is attempting to promote Major Benjy by Guy Fraser-Sampson.

Ms. Smarty Pants Know It All compares Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird to books by Ayn Rand. That's a new way to look at it.

Drama Queen reviews Final Sacrifice by Patricia Bray on her blog Imaginary Lands. It's sort of a new twis on "The PRince and The Pauper, the third book of a fantasy series, Chronicles of Josan. I think it's one of those where you should read the books in order, in order to know what's going on.

Non Fiction:

Penelope Anne from The Library at the End of the Universe reviews Under A Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown., the story of a catastrophic fire that destroyed a Wisconsin town, with great loss of life, on the same day as the famous Chicago fire.

Book Calndar has submitted a review of Green Investing A Guide To Making Money Through Environment-Friendly Stocks by Jack Uldrich. Good luck with that. Any investing beyond putting some more bucks in my Roth IRA is over my head.

Book has a review of The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell. The reviewer is highly, did I say highly, exited about this story of educational success in an inner city school.

Douglas Karr of The Marketing Technology Blog doesn't care much for Content Rich Writing our Way To Wealth On The Web by Jon Wuebben.

Heather J writes in The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home by Erin Einhorn which is the story of the author's mother, who escaped from eastern Europe during the holocaust at the age of three, and of the families that took her in, and the conflict which resulted years later.

Breenie Books has reviewed Withc School, First Degree by Donald Lewis-Highcorrell, which is not a Harry Potter wannabe novel. It is, in fact a textbook teaching Correllian tradition Wicca.

FIRE Finance has written a review of Do You Want To Become A Millionaire Quietly? . I'd rather be a noisy one, I think.

Shamelle, of Enhance Life reviews Who’s Pulling Your Strings? (How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation ...) by Dr. Harriet Braiker. If only I had known . . .

Cinderberry, writing in Stationery Fetish, has learned all about making paper airplanes from “The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes” by Doug Stillinger. There are many airplane designs and some fancy paper in the book. Something new to fill time at the office?

Diana has read Laurie Notaro’s Idiot Girls Action-Adventure Club:True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life and written about it in Reading is Sexy!. That's why I became an English major, actually. The sight of those horn rimmed glasses and a "Complete Works of William Shakespeare" just drove girls wild.

Charles Euchner has discovered a fascinating book, The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life by Philip Zambardo and John Boyd. He writes about it in START SIMPLE, which it isn't.

Toni , of Wifely Steps, reviews Love the One You're With by Emily Giffen. Do you have a "one who got away" in your life? Well, here's some sage advice - don't tell the one you caught.

Callista liked The Reading Solution by Paul Kropp because, like her, it is from Canada. You can read about it in her blog SMS Book Reviews.

Fiona Veitch Smith presents Shakespeare: the World as a Stageby Bill Bryson in her blog, The Crafty Writer.

Rodney Smith, of Hippo Web Solutions, looks at Problogger - Secrets for Blogging your way to a Six-figure Income by Darren and Chris Garrett. Rodney was surprised and impressed that it was not a e-book. Paper, who woulda thunk it?

Ted, not the famous gathering of smart people, but just Ted, of CampusGrotto College Advice, reviews Ditch the Flip Flops and Ace your first Interview. Flip flops are a non starter apparantly. No wonder I didn't get that Wall Street job.

Stephen writes about How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! by Paul Chek on his blog Balanced Existence.

Malia Russell, writing on Homemaking 911, has reviewed Baby’s First Foods; A Mother’s Guide to Whole Grains and Family Nourishment by Theresa Powers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Review Carnival Update

The book reviews are rolling in for the first Book Review Blog Carnival, coming up on Sept. 28th on this blog. Volunteers have come forward to host a couple of future carnivals and we're covered through October.

I have launched a new site at where announcements about upcoming carnivals, exhortations to submit you posts, a blogroll of contributing blogs and other related information will be found.

It's not to late to submit a book review. If you review books on your blog, visit and submit a post for the carnival.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review Carnival

I have decided to start a blog carnival for book reviewers. If you write reviews of books, of any genre, please go to Book Review Carnival and submit a post. The first carnival will be hosted here at I'll Never Forget The Day I Read A Book! two weeks from today, on September 28th, 2008. You may sign up to host the carnival, which will appear every two weeks on someone's blog, somewhere.

I know there are lots of good reviewers out there. Jump in and make this carnival a success. It will help to draw readers in to all our blogs.

Man In The Dark

Paul Auster
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-8839-7
ISBN-10: 0-8050-8839-3

I detect a pattern in Paul Auster's novels, and that's bad, and after reading only two of his books! There is an older man who is writing something, but what he is writing of of no particular significance, even to himself. The women in his life are going through tough times, as is he. People have died, left them, cheated. The old guy most likely cheated on his either dead of ex wife or else he behaved like a schmuck in some other way. There is some kind of fantasy thread that runs through the old guy's head, or more than one, but they don't go anywhere. Everyone decides to just keep soldiering on because it isn't unbearable. Then the book ends.

I had heard an interview on the radio with Auster about this, his newest book, which is what got me interested in reading him. In the interview Diane Rhem made much of the alternate universe in which there was a civil war in the U.S. which started after, and because of, the way that George W. became President in 2000. That alternate universe is a story the the old guy in Man In The Dark is telling himself, it's not the thing that he's writing. About halfway through the book Auster gets tired of it and has the old guy kill off the character in his little story, who had crossed (back) between universes with orders to kill the old guy. Then the little story of the little civil war is just dropped.

Alternate history is a respectable sub genre of science fiction. Auster did not do justice to that sub genre. In fact it was a waste of time reading it. Repetitive, self referential writing about a fictional author who writes about himself is what turned John Barth from a brilliant novelist into a crashing bore. Auster is well on his way to joining Barth in that category.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Brooklyn Follies

Paul Auster
Henry Holt & Company
ISBN-13: 978*0-8656-7714-8
ISBN-10: 0-8050-7714-6

Paul Auster is an author that I have just discovered, despite the fourteen novels that he has already published. I have a couple of his others on hold at the library, so you'r likely to hear more about him here. Actually I my go on an Auster binge as I have with other writers and make you thoroughly sick of hearing about him.

The Brooklyn Follies takes place in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and ends on the morning of 9/11 just before those events take place. There are a number of threads to the story, mostly having to do with the family o the narrator, Nathan Glass. Some of those threads are never tied up in the end, much to my, and Anton Checkov's dissatisfaction. What about the Hotel Existence? Why'd he even bring it up? The found the perfect place to open this magical realist hotel, and then dropped the idea without another thought. The religious zealot husband of Nathan's niece, when she leaves him, quietly files for divorce. Zip, gone. What good is he to the story? The forgery scam involving a supposed manuscript of The Scarlet Letter causes Nathan's friend, the rare book and manuscript dealer and ex convict, to die of a hear attack. Good, Nathan's nephew will inherit the bookstore, which should be worth enough money to enable him to buy the hotel which he is no longer interested in, even though he married the daughter of it's owner.

Not that I'm complaining. Auster writes marvelous prose and his characters are wonderfully sympathetic. All the twists and turns of plot are just thought experiments which Auster tires of after a while and goes off on another tangent, just as interesting. And perhaps that's the point of the book. Nathan busys himself writing what he calls "The Book Of Human Folly" which remains an unfinished manuscript throughout the novel. Projects and ideas fail or are dropped or succeed or not. People drift in and out, just as in real life, and, even though Nathan may or may not know what happened to them, he doesn't tell us.

What about 9/11 you ask? Nathan, fresh out of the emergency room, after suffering from an inflamed esophagus he thought was a massive heart attack, is planning to open a business selling "biography insurance" to people who would otherwise have no way of being remembered beyond their children or perhaps grandchildren. He is admiring the beautiful morning and mentions, as the omniscient narrator, that this is the morning of and just an hour or so before Brooklyn was rained down upon by the ashes of thousands of incinerated innocents. Then the book ends, boom.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Bin Ladens

An Arabian Family In The American Century
Steve Coll
The Penguin Press
ISBN: 978-1*59420-164-6

After the September 11 attacks of 2001 there were rumors circulating about members of the Bin Laden clan whisked out of the country by the CIA and of secret connections between the Bin Ladens and the Bush clan. Conspiracy theorists have spun elaborate tales based on these stories. So who are these Bin Ladens and were they really here and why? Steve Coll reveals the true story of the Bin Laden family as much as it can be known.

Osama is one of 54 sons and daughters of Mohamed Bin Laden, a building contractor from Yemen who built a business empire by serving the needs and the whims of the Al Saud dynasty for whom Saudi Arabia is named. Under his leadership and that of his oldest sons, Salem and Bakr the Bin Laden companies have grown into an international multi-million dollar operation, building highways, renovating the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the major mosques in Mecca and Medina, creating the Saudi telephone system and investing in satellite communications, fitting out luxury private aircraft in Texas and buying commercial real estate and condominium developments in Florida.

Returning from Afghanistan in the early 1990s, Osama Bin Laden became disenchanted with the society he found in his native Saudi Arabia. He soon broke with the Al Saud and king Fahd and exiled himself to Yemen and then Sudan. His family formally removed him from the Bin Laden business at this time. Theoretically he has been cut off from the Bin Laden family fortune since this time, before the embassy bombings, before the USS Cole and certainly before 911. By breaking with the Al Saud Osama broke with the golden goose from which the Bin Laden family fortune was laid.

There is some question whether Osama has received funds from any family members however. Al-Qaeda has relied on donations from within the Arab world for it's operating funds and Bin Laden has been a major factor in getting those donations.

Those mysterious Bin Ladens who were spirited out of the country? A half brother living in Beverly Hills, another attending Harvard Business School, many nephews and a few nieces attending various colleges throughout the country. They were taken to Paris on a flight chartered by the family, with the cooperation of, and after being questioned by the FBI. No connection to Al-Qaeda was found for any of them.

The Bin Laden business empire continues to prosper, building airports, palaces condominiums and resorts in the middle east. Osama continues to live in exile, somewhere in the Afghanistan/Pakistan borderlands.