Somniloquy

Thoughts on Christian fiction

Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog June 30, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews: Nonfiction — somniloquist @ 8:09 pm
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Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was surprised by the contents of this book. I had reserved it from the library via the internet while thinking that it was a “how-to” book, in order that I might improve my understanding of grammar and naming parts of sentences. In fact it is a history of sentence diagramming! Yes, it does state this in the subtitle, but in my hurry to find the “how-to” book, the aforementioned subtitle did not register in my conscious mind until I started reading.

Kitty Burns Florey writes a wonderfully easy-to-read and humorous history of a language arts exercise that has mostly gone by the wayside now. She introduces the very origins of diagramming and follows its journey in American culture, acknowledging it as a fun exploration but ultimately unable to fulfill the very purposes for which it had been birthed and taught–to better a person’s ability to write well and to speak well.

I am glad to have read it but must now wonder if I should pursue that elusive “how-to” book after all…

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Terri Blackstock’s Last Light: a Restoration Novel June 29, 2009

Last Light (Restoration, Book 1) Last Light by Terri Blackstock


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Terri Blackstock is a brilliant writer. In book one of her Restoration Series, Blackstock captured my attention and imagination, making it quite difficult to set a slow, steady pace to read it. I found myself like I was when a child, sneaking in little reading sessions whenever I could. Putting off other tasks in order to read. Bringing the book with me everywhere in case I had just five minutes in which I could read further in the story.

The story takes place in modern times and follows the lives of a wealthy family and neighborhood when a global event disables all technologically advanced machines. This includes all vehicles, cell phones, digital watches, plumbing systems, and telephone lines. In the midst of confusion, chaos, airplane crashes, and inability to communicate long distance, the characters in the main family find themselves launched into unexpected and unwanted journeys. To add to their worries and desperation, a killer makes him or herself known in their neighborhood and creates a tailspin in the lives of these well-crafted characters.

I am now a Terri Blackstock fan for life. I can hardly wait to get my hands on the sequel, Night Light.

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My Review of Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual June 26, 2009

Filed under: Book Reviews: Nonfiction — somniloquist @ 6:28 pm
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Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual) Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, I didn’t read the whole book. I read eight chapters of a total of eleven. I skimmed the rest because I just wasn’t as interested in the topics covered in those chapters. The topics I read about was everything from the idea for a book to actually creating a book and up to promoting said book.

There is so much detail in Dan Poynter’s guide that I believe it is a must-have resource for writers that want options to sending in query after query to established publishers who just don’t see the value of their work.

Although I will probably never self-publish, I was fascinated by the process as well as reading Poynter’s portrayal of how the publishing industry works. It has really helped my understanding of the entire life cycle of a book. As a fledgling copyeditor, I need that perspective so that I can communicate effectively with authors who live and breathe their manuscripts and books for much longer periods than I experience with those same works.

All in all, I highly recommend this resource to writers who want to know more about the options that they have in publishing.

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Review of C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. What a crazy story. Okay, it’s based on the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. But Lewis really turns the story on its head with the main character. You live in her head and read every thought that goes through her brain. She is very much fallible, yet passionate and strong.

I have to admit that, at first, I had a hard time getting into the story. A few reasons that that was true may have been that 1) I have only read the Narnia chronicles from Lewis’s works before, 2) I had just finished reading The Visitation by Frank Peretti, which takes place in modern times, and 3) I’ve been pressed for time in reading multiple books concurrently.

Once I got to the second chapter, I got in a rhythm with the book. The main character is a woman named Orual, first daughter to Trom, King of Glome. Her mentor is a Greek slave called the Fox, whom she calls “Grandfather.” Together they rear Orual’s younger half-sister Istra, whom they call “Psyche” between themselves.

Royalty, in this story, are considered to have divine blood in them, making them related to gods. In this strange and pain-filled tale, the heroine learns a great deal about life in a world entangled with mysterious and seemingly capricious gods as she ages and pens her history, what she calls her “complaint against the gods,” beginning with her mother’s death to when she herself dies.

This is definitely worth a read. Although it has a dark undercurrent throughout the whole story, Lewis weaves in bits of light and joy–just enough to brighten the story–and masterfully ties up all story elements by the end.

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