Author Archives: Jeff May

A Fair Amount Of Damage (The Hemingway Files by H.K. Bush)

I have struggled for months trying to decide if I should post this review. And now I’ve finally succumbed. In doing so, perhaps I have become self-serving, something the author of The Hemingway Files excels at. That’s the problem with accusing another author. Invariably, there will be examples of you doing the same thing. Maybe I can take solace in the probability that few people will read this. I’m wary of upsetting anyone unnecessarily. I … Continue reading

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Book Reviews Decmeber 2017

Brutal Bataan (Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides) Ghost Soldiers is the account of a WWII Japanese concentration camp rescue mission, integrating stories of the infamous Bataan Death March and the battle for the Bataan peninsula. While not as cohesive as his later work, still an excellent read, and it clearly shows Hampton Sides unique ability early in his writing career to make history come alive. Clear Skies (The Hunters by James Salter) Follows the tour … Continue reading

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In Defense of Old White Men

For a long time, old white men like me have presumably been in charge. However, that was mostly BS. We just acted like we were in charge. We were taught from a very early age that we should take control of the world. And of course that world included women. We wanted women to tell us what they wanted, but at the same time dismissed it with inane, sexist comments bemoaning the mysteries of the … Continue reading

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Hell of a Good Read (Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides)

Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides My rating: 5 of 5 stars Hell of a Good Read (Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides) Hampton Sides knows how to write gripping historical nonfiction, and it shows again in “Hellhound On His Trail,” his account of Martin Luther King’s murderer, James Earl Ray. (He also wrote “In the Kingdom of Ice,” … Continue reading

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Facing the Future Alone (Solo Faces by James Salter)

So much strikes home for me in Solo Faces by James Salter that perhaps you should not trust my review. (My personal life and work felt deeply entwined with this novel. To some, this may appear shameless rather than seamless. To which I say, belay off.) Salter is a writers’ writer and his style recalls an earlier literary epoch, where every word seemed to pack more weight. His precise language and elliptical literary techniques coalesce into … Continue reading

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Run, But Don’t Write (Run or Die by Kilian Jornet)

Kilian Jornet is a brilliant athlete, a world class endurance runner who must pay attention to training details, schedules, and his competition. But he is an amateurish, immature writer. It’s okay to admire one but not the other. While he may be acutely aware of his own physical ability, accomplishments, and goals, he does not appear to be particularly attentive to others, including readers. Run or Die was written by a self-absorbed 24-year-old Jornet, with … Continue reading

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Dazzling End (Death’s End by Cixin Liu)

By the time you get to the end of Death’s End, and Cixin Liu’s masterpiece of a trilogy, you don’t want an ending, even death’s. Stylistically, Liu’s writing ranges from informational to poetic. He skillfully uses literary devices and techniques, referencing a book by one of the characters, inserting vitally significant fairy tales loaded with contextual clues that determine the fate of earth and the solar system, and weaves it together in the over arching … Continue reading

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Enlightening Darkness (The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu)

This sequel is as good as, if not better than, Cixin Liu’s first book of his masterful trilogy, The Three Body Problem. The writing flows from the micro to the macro with realistic plausibility. The opening scene is beautifully written from the point of view of an ant on a gravestone and by the end, following an intellectually stimulating narrative, the reader has expanded into the solar system and beyond. Liu connects events over fictional … Continue reading

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An Unoriginal Thank You (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.)

Somewhere in his book “Originals,” Adam Grant writes that critical book reviewers were thought to be more intelligent than those who left positive reviews. Apparently, not many people are taking his advice. While many of the anecdotes were fun and interesting, Grant also mixed in stale information about birth order and platitudes regarding business approaches. The number and length of footnotes was distracting. They could have been blended into the narrative. Grant also had the … Continue reading

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A Very Big Political Poem

Oh! upon the day when antique words, make more sense than today’s tweets. Oh! upon the day when comics do, bequeath more truth than heads of state. Oh! upon the day when presidents, say more lies than Ponzi Madoff and Hitler too. Oh! shit we’re screwed. Share on Facebook

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