Archive for the ‘Free Books’ Category
By: David M. Quinn
Published By: iUniverse
Sometimes good things come in small packages. That’s the case with Leviathan’s Master, by David M. Quinn. It’s not much over 100 pages long, and that’s including the bibliography, but like a short John Steinbeck or Hemingway book – the length doesn’t matter – it’s the quality and rich narrative of it that counts. Leviathan’s Master is the fictional account of what happened to the author’s relative, Captain George W. Dow. He was the uncle of the author’s grandfather, and was the captain of the world’s largest sailing ship, the seven-masted, on the ship’s fateful and storm-plagued voyage towards London. Much of the account is based on Dow’s own words and recollections, so his telling of the wreck of the ship seems to speak to the heart. The many black-and-white photos throughout the book of Captain Dow; Captain Cook, who attempted to sway Dow into abandoning the ship sooner; the area where the sank; and cabins of the ship itself, also add a nice touch, and are the proverbial icing on the cake.
The story is told mostly as a first-person, first-hand narrative by Captain George W. Dow to people around him as he recuperates on St. Agnes Island from injuries he suffered in the wreck. He’s nursed back to health by Charlotte Hicks, the wife of Israel Hicks. Israel and several of his relatives were members of the “Royal National Lifeboat Institution in whose service the men of St. Agnes are frequently volunteered,” as another Hicks, Freddie Church Hicks, relates to Captain Dow later in the book.Israel, Freddie, and other men were the ones who went out in lifeboats to look for any survivors, and they rescued Dow and the ship’s engineer, Mr. Edward Rowe, from a rocky, jagged piece tiny island called Hellsweather Carn.
The way David M. Quinn constructs the book is largely to have Captain Dow relate details of his life and the events leading up to and including the shipwreck through other people asking him questions, and getting him to tell them what happened. For instance, as he recuperates in bed from a broken wrist and ribs, Charlotte is busy cleaning his room, “her arms fully laden with the implements of the war on dust and dirt.” Dow starts talking to her about his wife, Jenny, how they met, their children, and how his going away to sea put a big strain on their marriage.
Then, in Chapter Four, Captain Dow has a new arrival to tell his story to – a man whose name is Francis Dagenham, and is “a correspondent from the Times of London.” He wants to do a piece in the paper about “the circumstances of your voyage…and its tragic end.” Dow is reluctant at first to talk to the reporter, but when Dagenham offers him some of his whiskey he takes out of his valise, Captain Dow becomes more at ease and relaxed and cooperates with answering Dagenham’s questions. The author uses the device of having Dow relate the tale through the questions of others very effectively, and expresses a lot of information in a very efficient manner by writing Leviathan’s Master this way.
You can probably guess that the most exciting and tragic part of the book is when Captain Dow describes the three back-to-back storms he and his crew faced that led up to the anchor chains snapping on the, and trying to survive in the icy waters of the ocean while he could see and hear men dying all around him. Also, reading about how Captain Dow can’t help but feel guilty, as he was the ship’s captain, and how he handled these feelings was interesting to read.
If you like to read fascinating true-life accounts of survival in the face of all odds, then Leviathan’s Master is a book you’ll love to read. Quinn’s first work of historical fiction was entitled It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier, and was about the life of another relative of his, his “paternal great-great-uncle, Michael Quinn.” It’s also a book well worth checking out. Leviathan’s Master was a Best Books Award Finalist. One can only hope that Quinn has more intriguing relatives to write about, and can do so as skillfully and suspensefully as he did with Leviathan’s Master. I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented author in the future.
Oscar Fashion is a heavy book–literally, but not figuratively. The pages are made with the same process as hardcover textbooks, giving it the illusion of heft. At 192 pages, it certainly is long.
However, the book is not as substantive as one would hope. Of course, nobody opens a book like this expecting Tolstoy; but one does expect more detail than this book actually provides. Instead, the book is laid out like an extended People magazine, with little intellectually or aesthetically stimulating content.
One of Oscar Fashion’s most devastating shortcomings is the lack of vintage photographs. Granted, this book has photos on every single page; but the book only represents many Oscar years with one page of photos, which means three or four photographs for, say, 1944, or 1966. At the beginning this is understandable, since early Oscar ceremonies were not televised or photographed; for some years, only a few pictures are known to exist. However, for later years, showing only three or four gowns is simply inexcusable, and necessitates grievous omissions.
The book has some persistent features, which I would have liked to see expanded. The start of every decade (every chapter covers a decade) shows three different films which were somehow influenced or innovative in fashion, including The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and so on. This is a very interesting topic, one we have tried to do justice to. However, three films, for ten years, is a little on the skimpy side, especially for a book devoted to a movie awards ceremony.
The book also features different outfits that persist through the years, such as The Big White Dress. I like this idea; it’s interesting to see common threads running through Oscar fashion, from the 1940s to the 1990s. This is one of the more interesting parts of the book, and I would have liked to see more of these features, with more detail (i.e. why such-and-such was a persistent feature).
On balance, though, the book is not worth buying, and skimming through it is likely to be a somewhat frustrating experience. Those looking for inspiration should go elsewhere.
Nate Rodriguez is a police sketch artist who has a reputation for being one of the best. Not only does he have an uncanny ability to be able to sketch the pictures from an eyewitness account that does not amount to a whole lot but he is almost psychic when it comes to it.
Several murders have occurred in New York City that appear to be unrelated. Due to Nate’s special abilities, he is placed on the task force investigating these crimes.
It does not take Nate very long to believe these murders are related. Then stranger things start to happen because more bodies turn up. These bodies are the killers themselves!
Now Nate’s biggest challenge is trying to convince the NYPD that there is more involved here than meets the eye.
The Murder Notebook contains many sketches personally drawn by the author. The sketches add a great deal to the detail the author uses to engross the reader. This novel is fast moving and loaded with suspense. What really makes this book interesting is the way the author has combined his two talents – art and writing. Readers will admire Nate Rodriguez for his ability to be able to recreate a person’s face from very few details and then take it to the next level by putting the entire puzzle together. The book has an interesting subplot involving the death of Nate’s father, a policeman who was killed on the job. Nate has not come to terms with the death. Be sure to add The Murder Notebook to your reading list. If you are a reader who likes a suspense story that will make you sit there and try to analyze the outcome, The Murder Notebook is the novel for you. I highly recommend it.
The 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War approaches. Sound the trumpet for a novel where justice, personal liberty and self-reliance are celebrated by a writer who has the savvy to make her voice ring.
An obscure 1842 Supreme Court Case is the backdrop for this compelling book. All Different Kinds of Free, a historical fiction novel based on true events, is really the story of Margaret Morgan, a free woman of color from Pennsylvania who is abducted and sold into slavery. The court case received moderate visibility in historical records. The author states that the details of Margaret’s life are frustratingly omitted from historical documents; however McCann has created a gripping tale of Margaret and her fight for freedom.
Stolen freedom is appalling. “Don’t lose hope,” Margaret reassures her children who are also kidnapped, “…when something’s lost, it can be found again.”
Jessica McCann, an established non-fiction writer and editor broadens her talents and becomes a historical fiction author to watch. All Different Kinds of Free won the 2009 Freedom in Fiction Prize, an international award recognizing the best unpublished work of fiction championing the values of a free, truly compassionate society.
Some detail about the Supreme Court Case is woven into the narrative to give us proper perspective. Even there, the author is careful to tie in the plight of victims like Margaret. “Better a thousand slaves escape,” says the civil rights litigator, “than should one free man be thus carried into remediless slavery.” Margaret’s story, however, dominates the novel. Her experiences are as horrendous as the reader can imagine, but she uses courage, indomitable strength and faith in God as weapons against the inhumanity heaped upon her. McCann expertly endears us to Margaret’s heart. Somewhat overdone are the extensive use of questions and Margaret’s internal thoughts.
McCann could have highlighted a landmark, albeit obscure Supreme Court case that spurred us toward the Civil War. Instead, using vivid storytelling, she enlightens the more salient issue through an unforgettable character “demanding” to be treated as a human being who safeguarded her soul against all onslaughts.
For a century and a half, people have argued over the Civil War being about state’s rights or freedom of the enslaved. All Different Kinds of Free weighs heavily on the human side- the preservation of the dignity of the individual. Does Margaret prevail? Read the book to find out. Does McCann succeed? Strikingly so. She is an author venturing into a new genre with boldness and heart and has given us a riveting read.
I thank Bell Ridge Books for supplying a copy of this book. The opinions in this review are unbiased and wholly my own..
The Conscious, Un
Jasmine Publishing House (2005)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (3/06)
terms the , un , and the super-conscious aspect of
the mind. He iterates that only 10 percent of the mind is conscious,
that the remaining 90 percent is unconscious. Hari, in simple terms,
explains that the conscious mind is our truth, while the unconscious
mind is the part that is unaware, yet is detected and understood
through dreams, behavior, or hypnosis – either while asleep or in a
Hari makes clear that our growth is governed by a cycle of number
seven, first being our seven bodies: Physical, Etheric, Astral, Mental,
Spiritual, Cosmic, and Nirvanic. Second being the body is governed by
the seven Chakras: Root, Navel, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third
Eye, and Crown. He also explains that in the first seven years of life,
the Physical body and the unconscious mind are developed when the
Root Chakra is activated. The cycle continues as each Chakra is
activated, and the body developed, until the age forty-nine.
During the first seven years of development, Hari details not only do
the parents play a role in conditioning the child’s unconscious mind
with personal beliefs, but also with their fears and insecurities. This
conditioning continues to rule the person until they make a conscious
effort to change the ingrained belief system and transition into
sustaining the super-conscious mind, commonly known as
Hari takes the reader on a step-by-step understanding that before
transitioning into super-consciousness one must first heal the inner
child, the unconscious mind, where all the hurts, anger, unfulfilled
desires, and fears reside. Until these aspects are healed one is
prevented from rising to a higher consciousness. In the latter part of
the book, Hari explains methods to attain super-consciousness.
“The Conscious, Unconscious, & Super-Conscious Mind” is well put
together giving an understanding for someone embarking on a spiritual
path. Writing in simple terms, Hari gives the impression that attaining
super-consciousness is possible for anyone that desires to do so.