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The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly

I am a fan of inexpensive and innovative writing delivered electronically so I am a fan of the Kindle Single program and have read a few books in that format. I picked up John Connolly‘s The Wanderer in Unknown Realms because I enjoyed, or was at least intrigued by, The Book of Lost Things and The Gates. And given it only cost 99 cents I figured why not check it out.

Publisher synopsis:

“Books alter men, and men, in their turn, alter worlds.”

Soter is a man who has been haunted by World War I. But when he’s sent to investigate the disappearance of Lionel Maudling, the owner of a grand country house whose heir may be accused for his death, he encounters a home that will lead him to nightmares he could have never imagined.

Maudling’s estate houses countless books of every sort—histories, dramas, scientific treatises. But none seems to offer Soter any hint to Maudling’s whereabouts, until he’s led to an arcane London bookseller where the reclusive scholar made his last purchase. What Soter finds at the end of a twisted maze of clues is a book like no other, with a legacy that will put everything he knows in danger…

It turns out I had a very similar reaction to this John Connolly production as I did to the previous two. It was intriguing and well done in many ways but also felt like it didn’t quite work, in my opinion. The beauty of the Kindle Singles program, however, is that you expect a certain amount of that and having only spent a dollar you don’t feel the level of disappointment you might with a full length hardcover novel for example.

Stories We Tell Ourselves by Michelle Herman

I will confess that I never would have read Stories We Tell Ourselves if I hadn’t met Michelle Herman.  It is really only because I have enjoyed her previous work and had the enjoyable experience of interviewing her that I would pick up a book like this let alone read it.

The two thought-provoking, extended essays that make up Stories We Tell Ourselves draw from the author’s richly diverse experiences and history, taking the reader on a deeply pleasurable walk to several unexpectedly profound destinations. A steady accumulation of fascinating science, psychoanalytic theory, and cultural history—ranging as far and wide as neuro-ophthalmology, ancient dream interpretation, and the essential differences between Jung and Freud—is smoothly intermixed with vivid anecdotes, entertaining digressions, and a disarming willingness to risk everything in the course of a revealing personal narrative.

“Dream Life” plumbs the depth of dreams—conceptually, biologically, and as the nursery of our most meaningful metaphors—as it considers dreams and dreaming every whichway: from the haruspicy of the Roman Empire to contemporary sleep and dream science, from the way birds dream to the way babies do, from our longing to tell them to the reasons we wish other people wouldn’t.

“Seeing Things” recounts a journey of mother and daughter—a Holmes-and-Watson pair intrepidly working their way through the mysteries of a disorder known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome—even as it restlessly detours into the world beyond the looking glass of the unconscious itself. In essays that constantly offer layers of surprises and ever-deeper insights, the author turns a powerful lens on the relationships that make up a family, on expertise and unsatisfying diagnoses, on science and art and the pleasures of contemplation and inquiry—and on our fears, regrets, hopes, and (of course) dreams.

But really, the same reason I have enjoyed her previous works, and enjoy talking with her, is the reason that these two essays are so engaging and interesting.

Michelle Herman Interview Part 2 – Stories We Tell Ourselves

In case you missed part 1 yesterday, this is the second part of an interview with Michelle Herman.

Her most recent book, Stories We Tell Ourselves, is a set of two extended personal essays and was released by the University of Iowa Press this past March.

In this section of the interview we continue to discuss her writing and touch on art and the unconscious, what’s next for her as a writer, as well as the Kindle Single program and changes within the publishing industry.

Kindle Quick Hits: The Gospel According to Tim

One of the  challenges I find when I get busy is that I usually find time to read but my reading comprehension is less than ideal and the distance between when I read a book and when I review it means I have to recreate my fading reactions and fleeting thoughts.  This is particularly true of short Kindle essays/books. So some of these Kindle quick hits will be particularly short.

One such example is The Gospel According to Tim by Joseph Bottum – a Kindle Single that I read a week or so back.

Kindle Quick Hits: The Gospel According to Tim

One of the  challenges I find when I get busy is that I usually find time to read but my reading comprehension is less than ideal and the distance between when I read a book and when I review it means I have to recreate my fading reactions and fleeting thoughts.  This is particularly true of short Kindle essays/books. So some of these Kindle quick hits will be particularly short.

One such example is The Gospel According to Tim by Joseph Bottum – a Kindle Single that I read a week or so back.

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