Saturday, January 1, 2005

Welcome to Jeff Powell's Book Review Blog

In these pages you'll find book reviews I've been writing since 2005. Who am I? Nobody, really. Just an artist, epee fencer, some time software engineer, and reader. See below for the history about why I started writing these reviews. If they appeal to you, I maintain two other blogs that you're welcome to read:
Ratings:

I rate books on the following (essentially arbitrary) scale:

Great!
Great!
Good
Good.
OK
OK.
Neutral
Neutral.
Poor
Poor.
Lousy
Lousy.
Terrible!
Terrible!

The rating given represents my reaction the time I read the book. If I want to change the rating I will either add a comment with additional information or re-review the book in a new post.

Review Contents:

I try to write something both interesting and useful about each book, but I know I don't always succeed. Should the review give things away, the word "spoilers" will appear in the review title (and in the index), as a warning. Read those at your peril.

Some reviews mention people by name or nickname. These were usually people who participated in Doug Shaw's book review forums, and the comments are in reference to something someone else wrote.

Index:

I maintain an online index of my reviews. It may be simpler to use and search than what comes with this blogging site.

Contacting Me:

There are at least three ways to contact me:
  • Leave a comment after a review. I moderate all comments and will get an email telling me it's there.

  • Send an email to jrpstonecarver (at) gmail (dot) com. That will go straight to me.

  • Use the contact page on my sculpture website. That also generates an email to me.
Whichever way you select, I will do my best to get back to you if you request it and if you leave me a way to reach you. Your comments, suggestions, and even criticisms are most welcome.

paperbackswap.com:

Many of these reviews mention something called "paperbackswap.com". It's an online book swapping site that I use regularly. The icon below will take you to the site and make me your referrer if you join.

PaperBackSwap - Swap your used paperback books with other club members.

I find it very useful and I hope you will consider becoming a member.

Why Are You Doing This?

There are many reasons, some lost in the dim mists of time.
  • Back in late 2004 my friend Doug Shaw asked his friends to join a book club. He suggested everyone read 50 books that year. Most of us - particularly those with full time jobs - just laughed at him. But after he dropped the number to 25 and after I read Runes of the Earth, I decided to sign up. That's what really got this started.

  • Over the next couple of years I started helping Doug out. I assisted with moderating his forums, and really enjoyed it. Another thing that happened was I decided to post these reviews to my own website, and to paperbackswap.com, in addition to putting them on Doug's site.

  • In 2008, now a father with less time on his hands, Doug decided he didn't want to run the forum anymore. With his permission I moved it to a new location and did my best to keep it going.  (Edit: Sadly, in 2012, I shut it down.  It was Doug that held the community together, and it never really took off after his departure to be a parent.)

  • In 2009, when I found myself unemployed again, I decided to move the reviews off my personal web site and into a blog. I'd been keeping another blog for a while, but realized I needed to split it into art and non-art topics. It was at that point that I realized it would be simpler to publish my reviews in a blog instead of directly on my personal site too, so here they are.

    It took almost 1.5 weeks, but I published all of the old reviews here, added a few comments, fixed a few typos, and cross checked all the links. I think everything is correct now. And this is the definitive location for my reviews. Errors, typos, and the like will get fixed here first, and may or may not get fixed in other locations as time and ability allow.

  • Maintaining these reviews also keeps me both reading and writing, which are both things I enjoy and want to do more of.

  • You are invited to participate as well. Our little community has yielded big benefits to its members by causing us all to learn about books we otherwise wouldn't have read. The web site where we publish our reviews is: http://bookreviews.forumotion.net/forum.htm. Please pay us a visit, sign up, and participate if you like.
Students:

Please write your own reviews. Turning these in will get you a very low grade and is plagiarism. Some of your teachers will figure it out too, and then you're toast. Besides, reading is the greatest thing invented by civilized man, so enjoy it!

Disclaimer:

I speak only for myself, not for any of my employers, past, present, or future. Nor do I speak for any organization I volunteer with

That's It...

Thanks for reading all this! More important, though, is that you read a book. Perhaps one I've reviewed somewhere in here. Have fun!