Saturday, October 20, 2018
Book Reviews

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“You are about to meet some of the most charming people on the planet”, promises Helene Neiman in her travel memoir “My Life As French Ghetto”. Helen is not the first person to have noticed the charm of the French people and their culture. In this memoir of her one year in Marseilles, she goes about trying to show us that charm through her eyes. And she does a very good job of it.

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“Crossroads” is a fictionalized biography and travel memoir of its author John Cassell.

John Cassell, as related to us in his book, is an American “Jersey” boy who we first meet as he is is graduating from University in the Western state of New Mexico in 1969. He was not a part of the hippy movement and didn’t like to be called a hippy, which he seems to have seen as people who were self indulgent and self serving.

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“The Fake Celebrity In China’ is the best of the recent single Western males traveling in Asia books . Although Robert Black calls his protagonist “Robert” in this book and “Robert Black”, in “Bali Fungus” they seem like totally different characters. That would lead one to believe that at least one of these books is fiction, not a somewhat fictionalized travel journal.

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There are very few books or films in the genre of erotica that have any quality. There are even fewer in erotica’s BDSM subdivision. “Mittens” is the exception that proves the rule. It is the best BDSM themed Novella I have read. What makes it so good, is that it conforms to what all good literature should be. That is that it is first and foremost about the quality of characters portrayed.

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“The Trembling Of A Leaf”, Tales Of the South Seas” is a book of six magnificent short stories. They primarily explore the narrative of English life outside of the UK. Perhaps because its author W. Somerset Maugham was a homosexual and he could hardly have missed the treatment his countrymen doled out to Oscar Wilde, he was able to see the sex, (life) hating, judgmental, constrictive mind set of the citizens of his country for what they were. He particularly loathed the fake, highly judgmental Christianity the English of the “better classes” used to justify their repressive behavior.

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“Daddy Issues” is not really the story of a woman who is obsessed with her father. It is quite the opposite. This short novel is a superb psychological portrait of what on its face would appear to be a typical middle aged American male, Wagner Siebethaler. Only his is a study of abnormal psychology, as Wagner deteriorates into obsessive, murderous and psychotic behavior.

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He calls himself Billy Marine and “Keep On Running”, subtitled “Poisoned Saints 2” is his story. While this book by Ben Coulter is an adventure, more than anything else it is a fine character study. Billy from a small English city lost his mother early, and was partly raised by a father who physically abused him.


Arman Matthews