Samurai Links

I like the discovery possibilities that come with Amazon Samples. Most times they are good value and since I am in one of my positive moods (inspired by this sample) I won’t waste my time (or yours) with going into the negatives. Except for one and it is my fault, not Amazon’s. In a fairly short period of time, my unread samples list rivals my currently-I-am-really-going-to-read-this-next list. To attack this problem, I dedicate my Kindle Paperwhite to (mostly) Sample reading and I’ll leave the lengthy stuff to the Kindle apps on my laptop. Facing strident phone calls from my friendly Yamaha dealer to report for periodic service with my bike, I packed my book reader along with the intent to get through several samples during a lengthy bike service procedure.

Daughter of the Samurai by Etsu Sugimoto made my enforced confinement at the dealership too short. I was amazed that I finished the sample and still had time to return and review several points that provided me new information while making me smile at the skill and adroitness of the author’s expression. This was a great start to the day. I am unfamiliar with Japan, its history, its language and its culture. Anything I know about Japan comes from cursory observations provided by mass media which means that this sample provided a culture shock, although a pleasant one.

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You Can Go Home Again, It Ain’t Easy

This is a reviewed copy from the author.

Many have heard of the term “nuclear family.” Without reference to the Hermit Kingdom, it is generally known that collections of nuclear stuff can achieve critical mass with explosive results. Material scatters everywhere. That is what happened in Idabel Allen’s novel Rooted. Readers did not witness this explosion; we will join the decimated family as a group with its fewest members in the beginning chapter of the novel. After the explosion, after a few years, the same scattered material may begin to coalesce. Allen will relate the painful process and problems with this “coming together.” As Allen points out “It all comes from the root. And Grover McQuiston was the root of it all.” (loc56-57).

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Lame Story With Tacos

Despite the self-deprecating title, this is the third edition, published in 2015, of Dan’s Lame Novel by Dan C. Rinnert. The first edition was published in 2012, the second in 2013, then there was a stumble with no edition published in 2014, a further support to the claim of being lame.

There can be little critical comment about any breaking of rules of good writing because Rinnert preemptively criticizes himself. In a foreword, wisely written after completion of most of the novel, Rinnert identified most writing canon that he had blown up (pun intended) and proudly proclaimed that he had the right to do so. The warning for the reader is “You have been warned that this is a lame novel, read it at your own risk.”

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Drop By, But Be Polite

Reading books from Carol Ervin’s Mountain Women Series is like going back to a childhood home after a long absence. In this case, I am sure to have a place to stay. The Boardinghouse is book five in this series. Readers should not be discouraged by the bewildering number of characters, each with their own backstory because Ervin helpfully provides a guide in the front of the novel which lists all the characters the reader will meet. Each introduction has a few keywords indicating what the backstory will contain. Reading all the books in the six-novel collection is a good idea for fans of TV series such as Dallas.

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What is IT?

Stephen King sends you an invitation to a party in Derry, Maine. You will recognize it by the envelope with the inscribed IT on the outside. Going to any party can be an exhausting activity. You enter an unknown environment and meet new people. You like some of them. Others, you don’t. But you do a little bit of work and fulfill social obligations. Listening to IT is like that. If you accept the invitation, you will meet a lot of characters, some of them may not inhabit the social milieu to which you are accustomed. But be polite, acknowledge everyone; each character contributes something. King would not invite characters who don’t contribute. It’s just that when you accept the invitation to the read, you must contribute something as well. Pay close attention.

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Some Questions of Faith

Chief Among Sinners by Lois K. Gibson is a crime mystery with a cover that promises revelations of secrets that are really not so secret in a small town. The story starts out strong with a murder in the first few pages perpetrated by one person that the reader will immediately suspect. A few pages later the possibility of one or two other suspects arises. Then the strong prologue ends and a lull occurs for approximately five chapters. This is where the author introduces most of her characters, something about their backgrounds, and the context that will move characters to interact.

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Notes On: Hourly History Kindle Books

Hourly History books are just what they say, readers should be able to get through them in an hour. They are highlights of historically significant events and personalities. I am sure academic historians could savage these summaries by pointing out that not all points of view were considered, the lens of cultural sensitivity may not have been attached, and even some dates might be disputed by experts. I hazard a guess that it was not the goal of writers involved with this project to forestall any and all objections by learned authorities. I don’t think such criticisms are fair. Rather, try this. As you go through one of these works, highlight something new you learned. There is a lot of general knowledge stuff here but you may be surprised to discover one or two things you didn’t previously consider. One of the things I found the authors of this project do well: they look at world events going on at the same time and the possible effects of peripheral events on the topic under discussion.

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