Tim Riley’s Lennon Biography – A Critique


In preparation for writing about John Lennon, I have been reading the latest biography, by one Tim Riley. Our Tim previously wrote Tell Me Why, which takes the reader through every Beatles song – like Revolution In The Head but more emphasis on simply describing the songs. I thought then that he had a tin ear and not much understanding of The Beatles’ music. (Ian MacDonald and Alan Pollack  are masterly writers about the tunes). But reading his biog of Lennon, it has exasperated me so often that I literally wanted to PUNCH THE FECKING BOOK. It is littered with so many misunderstandings, so much inane waffling, so many misreadings of the Beatles that it makes me wonder how it ever got published.

To be fair, it is well researched, and (highly unusually for a rock biog) actually references its sources. (I have literally never seen this…

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Win Free Kindle Books in the ‘Ten Kindle Gems for the Holidays’ Giveaway!


Do you like free books? How about ten free books? And what if all of those books were voted ‘Outstanding in Genre’ by Red Adept Select?

If so, you’ll want to enter the ‘Ten Kindle Gems for the Holidays’ giveaway! It’s completely free, and one lucky person will win all ten books, including a copy of ASCENSION POINT.

ras-promo-banner-narrowYou can enter via my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dan.harris.writer?sk=app_228910107186452, or through the Red Adept Select site at http://redadeptselect.com/ten-kindle-gems-for-the-holidays.

Best of luck!

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“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky | Review of the Novel

Peter Galen Massey

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyWhen I picked up Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, I was expecting it to be dense, dull, and depressing – especially since the background materials I read stated that Dostoyevsky wrote Crime and Punishment as an explicit critic of certain radical theories that were current in 1860s Russia, including utilitarianism and rationalism.

It’s not a good sign when a novel has a thesis. This is usually an indication you are about to be treated to a bunch of cardboard characters clomping around mouthing platitudes, engaging in fake debates, and delivering essay-length monologues while sitting in a café smoking, humping each other, or bravely defying some oppressive bureaucrat or petty despot.

So I was pleased when I found Crime and Punishment to be a wilder, stranger, more flawed, more chaotic, more puzzling, and ultimately more engaging book than I expected.

Dostoyevsky, by all accounts, meant to deliver a lecture pretending…

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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Book Monkey

Miriam Black knows when you will die. Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try. 

I managed to get a review copy of Blackbirds from the wonderful NetGalley, and I have to say it’s probably the best book I’ve read and reviewed from there so far! I’m not usually so into the urban fantasy genre as much as…

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Book: The Hunger Games

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James Kennedy

Gripping, linear, action-packed, first-person, protagonist-centred extreme coming-of-age story.
374 pages, ★★★★★

The Hunger Games are no-rules, last-man-standing battles organised by the tyrannical rulers of a fictitious North American country. Two fighters (“tributes”, as they’re called) are picked from each of the country’s twelve districts at annual nomination ceremonies (“reapings”). Brave, 16-year-old protagonist Katniss Everdeen volunteers to enter this deadly battle to save her younger sister, who was initially chosen. Unlike her sister, Katniss is proficient with a bow-and-arrow, and thinks she might stand a chance at being the one surviving fighter in the arena.

Such challenging circumstances can catalyse the process of falling in love. Enter Peeta, who was chosen to fight alongside Katniss. Peeta is a weaker, more sentimental character who has had a crush on Katniss since they were children. In a confused, teenage way, they kiss many times on the battlefield, and fall in love.

Falling in love is…

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Reading Challenge 2011 Information Design

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Ok, this has been a long time in the making, but I had a wedding to plan this year 🙂

Last year I started a challenge to read at least 30 books. I love reading, I love books, and recently I haven’t been putting enough spare time aside to read. I used to read an awful lot, not just books and journals for my University course, but also books on my hobbies and interests, and of course, a whole lot of fiction. I am a bit of a SciFi fan, I love a bit of Fantasy 😉 but I also like to pick up new authors and genres that i have never read before.

I signed up to Goodreads, and thought I’d try a 30 books in a year challenge. On Goodreads you can keep track of books you have read, and books you would like to read, see…

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Veronica Roth and Divergent Sequel Get Top Spots in Goodreads Awards 2012

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Divergent Fandom


Congratulations to Veronica Roth for winning in both Best Goodreads Author and Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction categories for 2012.  Roth and her current book, Insurgent, had a significant amount of votes in both categories, with Cassandra Clare and her current book getting second place in both categories as well.

Best Goodreads Author


Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction



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31st National Book Award Winners

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the UP PRESS blog

The UP Press took home three awards during the 31st National Book Awards held last November 17, 2012 at the Old Senate Session Hall  of the National Museum.

The prestigious National Book Awards recognizes the best of Philippine books and publishers and is given annually by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the Manila Critics Circle.

Winning titles from the UP Press are:

Almanak ng Isang Aktibista by Rolando B. Tolentino for Nonfiction Prose Filipino

Dead Stars: American and Philippine Literary Perspectives on the American Colonization of the Philippines by Jennifer McMahon for Isagani R. Cruz Prize for Literary Criticism in a Foreign Language

Sawikaan 2010: Mga Salita ng Taon edited by Roberto T. Añonuevo and Romulo P. Baquiran, Jr. for Isagani R. Cruz Prize for Literary Criticism in a Philippine Language

NBDB Winners


Click here to see full list of winners.

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How Many Have You Read ?

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Travel Between The Pages

I never finished Infinite Jest, nor have I read any of David Foster Wallace’s other overvalued twaddle, but I found Goodread’s infographic a hipster lit flowchart quite entertaining. The inclusion of Open City and Leaving the Atocha Station, two other abundantly praised, but considerably disappointing novels elicited more chuckles. On a positive note, Embassytown and Zone One are terrific novels that both transcend genre characterization. I’m safely senescent enough to ever be marked a hipster, but see how you stand on this flowchart.

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Mark Twain’s birthday!

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November 30, 1835, Mark Twain was born! Happy birthday Mark, wherever you are…

It’s really very hard to say just a few things about the life of this gigantic American writer. So we just write a tiny summary of his exciting life and we propose very few paper suggestions from the millions are in existence!portraits

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain,was an American writer and humorist. He is most noted for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885),the latter frequently called “the Great American Novel.”stamps

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later offer the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion’s newspaper. After working as a…

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B Is For Books.

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A Giraffe in a Scarf

I like big books (and I cannot lie).

I love getting completely engrossed in a story, and I love to get to know the characters; they still linger in my mind long after I’ve finished reading the pages. While I am reading they are my friends, and constant companions. I think about them while I do the dishes, and I wonder what fate has in store for them, fully aware that their fate is in the hands of the author, and it’s not really fate at all. It’s artifice, but while I read, it feels real.

I made some piles to share with you. I love the look of piles of books.

books childhood fav

There are some of my favourite books from my childhood/teen years. Missing is The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and the Born Free series.

books adult favs

These are some of my favourite books as an adult. Salman Rushdie is definitely my…

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31 Days of Ghosts: Stephen King

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Turn the Page

It wouldn’t be Halloween without telling a tale about the author considered the King of Horror.

In truth, this is my own experiences being a Stephen King fan.  For which from a period of 1989 to 1995 I was a complete nut about.  I collected and read everything I could get my hands on written by Stephen King.  That came to an end when I finally picked up the paperback release of Gerald’s Game, which was more a suspense thriller than a horror novel.

I even read the Bachman series of books (admittedly, when I was 13 I believed that Richard Bachman and Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and BTO were the same person).  They were good, but decidedly a different genre than what I was used to from King.  And Running Man, completely different than the movie, which brought out a whole slew of interesting twists…

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Ernest Hemingway: Great American Moustaches

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American Library

On January 25, 1954, the dead man rode into town carrying a bottle of gin and a bunch of bananas. His head was bandaged, his arm was wrapped in part of his shirt, and there were burns on his skin. But he was, after having been reported dead by the international press, very much alive.

Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) was one of those rare men who get to read their own obituaries. On January 21 he and his wife Mary chartered a flight over the Congo Basin. Days later two Hemingways and one pilot found themselves camping in the bush after the plane had caught a utility pole and smashed into the jungle. A fire was made against prowling cats, and drinks — no doubt welcome by this point — were passed round. A commercial airliner soon spotted the crash sight, but no signs of life, and reports reached news…

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