Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: Be Afraid Be Very Afraid

Be Afraid Be Very Afraid By: Jan Harold Brunvand
Non-fiction: folklore, horror 256 pages
Book Count: 92

This is a book of urban legends. It includes multiple entries for some stories to show how they change by time and location. It also includes stores from over 100 years ago to Internet legends. It also points out the key points that make up an urban legend, which is important as it talks about some stories that either because of copying or chance also had actual events that were very similar.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: Corpses, Coffins and Crypts

Corpses, Coffins and Crypts - A History of Burial By: Penny Colman
Non-fiction: children's, science, history 192 pages
Book Count: 91

This book is for older kids/pre-teens. It deals with death and ways people deal with dead bodies. It combines personal experiences with scientific facts and historical information in a way that works well for younger readers (i.e. it isn't just a cold and clinical look at the subject, nor is it overly emotional.) It deals with how we know someone is dead, including ways people in a past made sure the weren't buried alive. How people understand death. Both in how your understanding changes as you age and how people in different cultures/religions understand it. What physically happens to a body after death, including the basics of what happens at an autopsy or embalming. What people do with the body after death. This includes cremation, burial and other methods used in different areas and religions. Cemeteries, urns, mausoleums, columbariums and other places to put the body/ashes are also talked about. And also rituals connected with death, again going over how things were done at different times and by different religions/cultures. It also deals with death in art. After all this is information on requests that different people had for after they died, epitaphs, meaning of symbols on graves and a list of where some famous (dead) people are at.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: Halloween

Halloween An American Holiday, An American History By: Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
Non-Fiction: holidays, history, religion 158 pages
Book Count: 90

This book deals with the history of Halloween in America. It does start off with a short history of how the holiday started out including Samhain, Pomona and early Christianization of the day. Then it deals with the holiday in America from colonial times up until the 1980's. (The book was published in 1990.) Unlike other things on this subject it deals both with how the holiday changed in time and how it was celebrated by people from different countries (including not only the Irish, Scottish, British and Mexicans but also African Americans, Germans, Swedes, Dutch and others) and in different areas of the country (even braking it down by each of the original colonies.) The one thing that would make this book better is if it was newer so it could deal with more current ways of celebrating the holiday. It does have a couple of paragraphs about the rise of Neo-Paganism, but no where as much information on different ways that they may celebrate the holiday as newer sources have. Also it just touches on the rise of adult Halloween parties, dressing up, etc. Besides the age of the book (with the lack of newer information that can be easily found in other places) this book is the most in dept book on the subject that I have ever read. And it is also a quick and easy read, but it does include notes, a bibliography and other information that you would expect in a more scholarly work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Holiday E-Book in Review: Violent Ends: Horror Stories

Violent Ends: Horror Stories By: Aaron Polson
fiction: horror, paranormal

This is a collection of 11 short stories with violent endings. It also has a sample of another of the author's works at the end. Each story is very differnt then the others with the charaters ranging from serial killers to aliens.

A Holiday Book in Review: The Psychology of Harry Potter

The Psychology of Harry Potter An Unauthorized Examination of the Boy Who Lived Edited by: Neil Mulholland, Ph.D.
Non-fiction psychology, pop culture 324 pages
Book Count: 89

This book is made up of a collection of essays on Harry Potter and the world of wizards and how it relates to psychology. The essays are all from 2006 and so were written before the series was finished. The book is divided into 6 main ideas with 3-6 essays in each section. The sections are on Hogwarts, Harry's future psychological well being, magic, the world of wizards, the world of muggles and using Harry Potter in actual therapy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review:Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains

Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains By: Catriona McPherson
Fiction: mystery, historical 291 pages
Book Count: 88

This story takes place between the world wars in England. It starts with Dandy receiving a letter from a woman saying that her husband is trying to kill her. She then works on investigating it by pretending to be a servant at the house. The only problem is that the husband is killed on her second day there. So then she has to solve the mystery of who killed him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Holiday E-Book in Review: Zombies Eat Lawyers

Zombies Eat Lawyers By: Kevin Michael & Lacy Maran
Fiction: horror, Sci-fi

This is a short story about zombies eating lawyers and politicians. It doesn't have that much a complex storyline, but it has many funny lines and zombies eating some people that almost make you cheer for the zombies. Also it has excerpts from three novels at the end.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: True Ghost Stories

True Ghost Stories By: Dowswell & Allan
Non-fiction: paranormal, children's 122 pages
Book Count: 87

This book has a nice collection of the basic information on a number of true life ghost stories. It includes mostly well known stories like: the Bell Witch, the restless tomb, faces in the floor, UB-65 and the Winchester house. It has the main story of what happened told in 5-10 pages and then a couple paragraphs of an afterwards with more information on the events. It is written in an informative way and not as scary stories.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: Earth (The Book)

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Present: Earth (The Book) A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race by: Stewart, Javerbaum, Albanese, Bodlow, Lieb, et al
Non-Fiction: humor, history, pop culture 238 pages
Book Count: 86

This is a book all about humans for when the aliens land on our planet after we all die. (Having watched "Life After People" I know it will not in all likelyhood last long enough for the aliens to read it, even in it's hardcover form.) But anyway this book deals with the whole human life: the earth, lifeforms, mankind, society, commerce, religion, science, and culture. All writen for aliens that know nothing about human life, but still get popular cultureal reffrences of the 21st century. In short it reads much like watching The Daily Show.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie

My Life as a White Trash Zombie By: Diana Rowland
Fiction: Fantasy, mystery 310 pages
Book Count: 85

I read this book after a friend recommended it, so here is a link to her review of it.

This is a fun book. It is a zombie story as told by the zombie, but not a zombie like you think about zombies as, it's more like with modern vampire tales. She needs brains to live, but otherwise she is mostly a normal person.

Angel was a 21 year old high school drop out who lived with her alcoholic father in a trashy trailer. Then one day she wakes up in the hospital after she ODed on pills, but she remembers being in a car crash. When she leaves she is given a bag with a change of clothes, some odd looking bottles of goo, and a note explaining to drink a bottle ever other day and that she has a job driving the van for the Coroner's Office. And as you can guess she was now a zombie, but didn't know it. Making a job at a morgue both a great way to get brains and a horrible temptation to eat all the brains. Also as no one told her she was a zombie she has to learn for herself what to do and try to solve the mystery of who turned her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Audio Book in Review: Squirrel seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel seeks Chipmunk By: David Sedaris
Non-fiction: humor

This is a selection of short stories about if animals were like people, but for adults. The stories range from a frank talk about Jazz to flies discussing foods. They are a mix between stories that are based in the real world, just from animals point of view and if animals lived like people ones.

3 CDs 3 hours

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: The Action Heroine's Handbook

The Action Heroine's Handbook By: Jennifer Worick and Joe Borgenicht
Non-fiction 185 pages
Book Count: 84

This book explains how to do many of the things you see heroines do in TV and movies. It is divided into 5 chapters: tough chick skills, beauty skills, brain skills, brawn skills and escape skills. Each chapter has a mixture of skills that might be useful in your life and ones you would never need to know. Some of the skills taught are drinking someone under the table, giving birth outside a hospital/birthing center or other place one normally does it, eavesdrop, go undercover, be a mob wife, win a catfight, choke someone with your thighs, fight the undead, outrun a tornado and have a rooftop chase. It also has appendixes on what to have in your handbag and how to style your hair like famous action heroines.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!!!

A Holiday Book in Review: The Ninja Handbook

Ask A Ninja Presents: The Ninja Handbook - This Book Looks Forward to Killing You Soon By: The International Order of Ninjas (Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols)
Non-fiction: humor 325 pages
Book Count: 83

This book is for non-ninjas who want to become ninjas. It includes many pictures, charts and quotes on all things ninja. A number of the quotes are actualy real quotes from songs, movies etc that are used in a differnt way then origionaly. If you like the ask a ninja, ninja on-line then you will most likly like this book.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Note on E-book Reviews:

Yes, just one year ago I said that I hated e-books, and I still hate the whole paying as much as a paper book for the ability to read a book on a set device thing. But for the holidays I will be reviewing a few e-books of short stories or that are otherwise not in a tangible book format that I have picked up for free (legally). And as they are mainly done as a way for the authors to get new readers and to advertise the book it is logical that they are e-books and free. (As I have to agree that this is a perfect medium for expanding your readership. And I don't feel bad downloading a book for free that is realy a cleaver ad for their main books.) So if a review notes it is for an e-book I will not put it in my book count and it will be for some short stories or a novella that you can pick up on-line most likely for free. (Some times the price gets bumped up to .99 after a while.)

A Holiday E-Book in Review: Wicked Science

Wicked Science by: Joshua Scribner
fiction: horror, Sci-fi, short stories

This set of 5 short stories are all about the brain doing things that we think it isn't able to do. Most of the stories have to do with physic abilities. Two of them were very similar in that they were about government tests on soldiers to find people with abilities. They were between 3 and 6 pages long each. The whole book can be read in 15-30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Book in Review: Ten Big Ones

Ten Big Ones By: Janet Evanovich
Fiction: mystery 421 pages
Book Count: 82

Review of book nine can be found here.

In this book Stephanie accidental witnesses a store robbery, sees the face of the thief and because of that has a gang hit man after her. Also her sister is getting married and Sally the cross dressing rocker (and now bus driver) is the wedding planner. She's on the outs with Morelli again and so she goes looking for the Batcave and ends up in Ranger's bed. Car count: 6? Merry Men down: 1 (it was he's fault)

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Holiday Book in Review: Ghost Radio

Ghost Radio by: Leopoldo Gout
Fiction: Horror, mystery, paranormal 353 pages
Book Count: 81

This is an unusual book, it starts out as the story of a man named Joaquin who hosts a late night call in radio program where people tell about their encounters with the paranormal. Then as we learn about his tragic past and about his best friend Gabriel the lines between the living and the dead, dreams and reality, past and present begin to fade and change. (I don't want to say any more about the story as it will give things away.) It is a perfect book to read late at night in a spooky place.