Book review: Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard

Conan: The Barbarian complete collection by [E. Howard, Robert]I was in the mood for a bit of fantasy fiction lately and started in on the Conan the Barbarian: complete collection I have on my Kindle.

The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E. Howard
3-star

The Scarlet Citadel by Robert E. Howard
3-star

The Tower of the Elephant (Conan, #3) by Robert E. Howard
3-star

These first three stories were so much fun. Mayhem, magic and rippling muscles – everything a girl could hope for from a Barbarian. I was impressed by the flowing, epic language and thrilled by the adventure. The latter part of The Tower of the Elephant got a bit spacey but otherwise, three stars for each of these.

The Slithering Shadow (Xuthal of the Dusk)  by Robert E. Howard
1-star

The Pool of the Black One by Robert E. Howard
1-star

Things got very different when women were introduced to the stories. The misogynistic language in The Slithering Shadow was just eye watering. The sexism was slightly less pronounced in The Pool of the Black One, but that was problematic in so many other ways, it hardly seemed to matter. One star (or less!) for those two.

It seems there are many, many, many more Conan stories in the complete collection… but I’m not sure if I’ll be venturing there again.

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Book review – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Kindle Edition, 201423306186

The story opens with the onstage death of an actor, Arthur Leander, then moves back and forth between his former life and a post-apocalyptic future. We meet a variety of characters, disparate except for their connection to Leander.

In the future we follow an itinerant group of actors and musicians travelling their route between settlements and providing entertainment, news and culture in a shattered world. When I described this book to a colleague she said, “Surely people would have better things to do than watch plays”. That comment made me feel sad for her  😦

This book is beautiful, painful, exciting and thought provoking. Highly recommended.

Opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union on e-lending

From the EBLIDA Newsletter  July/August 2016 (the emphases are my own):

On 16 June, CJEU issued a Press Release of the Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-174/15 Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken v Stichting Leenrecht on the question about whether the lending of e-book could apply under the lending directive of 2006.   The press release highlights that “(…) Advocate General Maciej Szpunar takes the view that the making available to the public, for a limited period of time, of electronic books by public libraries may indeed come within the scope of the directive on rental and lending rights.” Read more

Book review – The Martian by Andy Weir

20775702The Martian by Andy Weir
Kindle Edition 2014 (first published 2011)

By turns, laugh out loud funny and heart in mouth thrilling, this book is a rollercoaster of emotions. I was up and down like a Mars rover traversing Arabia Terra!

Mark Watney – engineer, botanist, astronaut. Lover of duct tape. Hater of taters. Trapped alone on a hostile planet with nothing but his mind, his skills and millions of dollars worth of equipment. I love you Mark Watney!

This is the leading contender for my top read of 2015. Highly recommended.

for The Right to E-read

EBLIDA – European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations have posted an update on thier petition for The Right to E-read.

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Time for reform?

Apr 01, 2015 — The London Manifesto calls for fair copyright that is fit for purpose and will benefit every European citizen.

Why fair copyright matters

Fair copyright across Europe is essential. Without it we will fail to adequately support research, innovation and growth, and hinder the ambition for a digital single market. With it we will better foster knowledge across borders, meet the needs of disabled people and take full advantage of the digital age.
The manifesto… Read more

Book review: A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

A Hat Full of Sky 
by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #32)
Kindle Edition, first published 2004

The 2nd book in the Tiffany Aching sequence. I think another reason I like these books is that they seem just a little bit darker than most other Discworld stories. Tiffany is among the youngest of Pratchett’s protagonists but she has to deal with some pretty scary stuff.

This time it’s an unkillable creature who possesses the minds of powerful, talented people…and drives them to insanity and death!

As well as Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle, this books features the mighty Mistress Esme Weatherwax – il capo dei capi of the Ramtop witches (not that witches have leaders!). There’s drama, suspense and tragedy but also humour and heart. A good read.

Book Review – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

e8e289de9f6e55a57c9c7e2e497d12f0I re-read this to try and make up for the disappointment of the 2 previous books I’ve read so far this year. It worked.

This is such a great story. A romantic, coming of age, adventure fairy-tale. It taps into the old stories and legends – and twists them as only Mr Gaiman can.

This is almost one of those the-film-is-better-than-the-book books… almost. The differences in the two stories make them equally wonderful. The book has more depth but the film has Robert De Niro – and a better ending (IMO).

This is an excellent book which has wiped my mind clear of disappointment and filled it with wonder and a warm glow instead.