Year of Books 2020: The Best

Every year from July 4 to July 3, I set aside anything I read so I can gaze upon the shelf of things I’ve read. And every year I do a little write-up on what I’ve read. Today, I’m presenting pellet reviews of my favorites. I’ve broken down two different top lists. First are the favorite prose things I’ve read, and then I’ll present my favorite graphic novels of the last year.

Continue reading “Year of Books 2020: The Best”

A Year of Books 2019 — The Best of the Year

The time has come.

Every year about this time, my Bride and I assess.. the BOOKSHELF OF DOOM!

Actually, it’s not very doom-y. It’s this bookshelf that sits next to our bed. The goal every year is to fill it with what we read. Finish a book? It goes on the shelf!

(Other than my professional reading for the ministry… those reviews go up every week over on my other blog.)

And now… it’s time to look at what we’ve read! I’m starting with what I consider the best of the year. These are the books that touched me the most. That doesn’t mean that everything else I read this year is bad. It also doesn’t mean that these are the books that will win the most awards. They’re the books that held my attention best and made me go, “Hm.”

These aren’t in any particular order, so don’t read into that at all. It’s just, as I said, the best of what I read this particular year.

Without further ado… Continue reading “A Year of Books 2019 — The Best of the Year”

Creating Worlds (using as few words as possible)

Come meet a woman so audacious she became an author! Come, marvel at her combinations of sounds and syllables so symphonic they supply simply sumptuous stories! This is wicked Wendy Nikel, the wizard of words who creates worlds out of imagination and yarn! She’s produced two novels (one of which I discuss here), and you should heed her words!

And here she gives us her best words on creating worlds… words I might myself stick under my tall, tall hat and use! You see, this Nikel knows of what she speaks! She may even know more than me! (She probably does, but don’t tell anyone!)

Without further ado… Wendy Nikel! Continue reading “Creating Worlds (using as few words as possible)”

A Tour of Worlds 2018: Worlds Crafted by Friends

Ah, my festive friends! Yes, yes, my account of the tour of the cosmos from this past year is nearly complete! But I flew some friendly skies and visited worlds crafted by friends, and I wanted to spotlight them a little more than I have some others. You see, when you know the craftsman or woman or aardvark who put together an earth for your merriment, you hold it closer to your heart. Or if you’re heartless, closer to your spleen. Spleens are the center of heartless people, you see.

Well, shall we begin the tour?

***

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, observe the penetrating Peter Prellwitz! His name may be alliterative, but don’t let that throw you off your guard! This author is a raging bull with the written word, tossing situations hither and yon and creating worlds that last for thousands of years!

See with all its brilliance Horizons, where humans have started reaching for the stars! Interstellar travel is right around the corner – but someone wants to stop it! What devilry comes about? And will Captain Pamela Carlson figure it out? The world is gritty and reminds me of all the best ways of Firefly and the Millennium Falcon. Persistent Prellwitz fits nearly all his stories into the same world, and this tour was probably my favorite of them.

Then I toured much later in that word’s existence with The Science of Magic. Can you imagine it, sir, if humans could use code to rewrite reality? What if it was only a few could? What would happen? Can you feel the terror grip your heart? Or would you welcome those who could rewrite you? Oh, I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with you sir, I’m sure they wouldn’t rewrite you! This particular tour told several short stories about the first people able to code reality, and I wish I could have spent more time with all of them. But if that’s the worst part of a tour, well, it certainly can’t be all bad, can it?

Finally, practical Prellwitz took me to a different world, where The Angel of St. Thomas protects her island in the Caribbean – one every generation! She’s invited to join the premier superhero team in that world, but she declines – she has her hands full on this island. But what happens when the superheroes don’t accept her no? I reveled in some very unique situations I met in that tour, and I think you will as well. Plus, this tour is appropriate for children! Look, even you could go on this tour, and you’re only as tall as my knee! Well, perhaps a bit taller. Perhaps.

***

The next world I visited took me on a tour about tourists, of a sort. If you could tour somewhere, anywhere, in time – would you go? Elise’s job is to find tourists who refuse to return to the present. But, as you might expect, things go wrong. Wise Wendy Nikel wrote The Continuum, and a second book in the series has just come out. My biggest complaint is that the tour was far too short! This tour took me to the Titanic, which made me groan. How many times must we return to the unsinkable ship? But nice Ms. Nikel did put a different twist on it, making this world shine just right. I encourage you to tour this one as well!

***

I have never met canny Christopher Yokel, but the world he takes me to in The Lay of the Lord gripped me and would not let me go, much as the voice of a man with a tall, tall hat can’t be ignored, but so much more! When I take off my tall, tall hat and leave the Midway behind I serve as a pastor, and I’ve written a full review here for your liking. I won’t even charge you two extra bits! But here is the epic struggle of Jesus told in epic poetry that will leave you breathless! Go, my fine fellows, and read on!

***

And thus concludes my account of the worlds I toured this last year. And now, go to your varied homes and beds and tubs and wherever you prefer to sleep. Dream of worlds other than this ones; worlds horrifying and exhilarating and appetizing. Thank you for joining me on this tour of tours. Next year I shall repeat the process, but until then, we have many ways to talk about the writing of worlds. So… venture forth!